What is prison really like? Part 3
May 02, 2004
What is Prison Really Like? Part 3, preparing for possible incarceration
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What is Prison Really Like? Part 3, preparing for possible incarceration
The number one thing to remember is that the judicial process is cold and impersonal and if you are given an inmate number, it is yours for life. Meaning that if you ever go back in, you get your same number.
There is untold and permanent damage done to you when you are thrown away like a piece of trash, to lose possibly all that you ever had, your credit, ability to get a job, a much harder time finding a mate, lifetime embarrassment, and maybe you?ll be shunned from family, friends, and work associates.
Juries might be shown video tapes of how to find you guilty, but not innocent. I know that there is no recourse for police if they commit perjury, if a prosecutor knowingly prosecutes the victim, but not the perpetrator, and if a judge can retaliate with a prison sentence someone who mocks him in letters and tries to have him removed for bias BEFORE any criminal proceedings, that you only have rights if someone will take your complaint. If it is valid, they may not, as police officers do not like to investigate, nor punish their own. Prosecutors and Judges know the law applies to you, but not them.
So if any type of acceptable plea bargain is available it might be your only real way out. Because a prosecutor looks at wins and losses and probably couldn?t care a whip about you or whether or not you are guilty or innocent. It takes special skill to railroad an obviously innocent individual to prison, a prosecutor may take special pride in such an accomplishment. Judges are often former prosecutors and can just be a rubber stamp for the prosecutor and police.
The cards are stacked against you, and the house may cheat to win.
Revolving bills are bad to have if you think you may end up in prison. Consider selling all that you have, including your house, car, and items. Whatever you did have could be long gone when you get out.
I lost about $10,000 supplies and furniture. Most of what was of value was stolen and my furniture was thrown out in the rain. My vehicle was damaged and my most personal items were gone through. Renting storage is a bad idea as you don?t know if you will get more time in prison or whether you?ll have any income at all when you get out.
You should where 3 pairs of underwear and 3 pairs of socks into the last day of court. If you have dress shoes on in court, they will be what you where until they are in very bad condition and then you will have to buy yourself some jail issue sneakers if you can afford them.
Shoe laces maybe taken away. Do not wear anything with a logo or colors that can be considered gang associated. Steel toes and lace hooks are not allowed. What ever you where in, can possibly get thrown out or donated.
If you have a fear of hypodermic needles, get over it. You will wait in line and get a series of shots. Ask what they are, you probably won?t be told, for all you know you could be injected with anything at their whim.
They are not gentle or caring as you don?t rights, as you are an inmate, anything you don?t want to do can be met with intimidation and physical violence of the guards. If you in anyway make any difficulty for the nurse there are at least 2 guards there to make the process even more painful and disturbing. If one of the injections causes a red, swelled reaction, you will be quarantined.
You may have to where donated cloths that don?t fit you that aren?t even washed upon your release and walk to the gate caring a clear trash bag holding everything you own in this world.
Velcro straps on sneakers are your best bet to wear on your last day of court. You may not get a shower for a day or even weeks, but mostly likely will get one upon arrival. If you want clean underwear and socks you will have to wash them yourself in a sink with soap if you can come by some and let them hang somewhere to dry. It will be a time before you are issued a mesh bag to do your laundry with.
It is better to sell something willingly than to lose it or have it taken away. You have to reduce your whole life down to 2 or 3 trash bags of cloths and important papers. Worrying about water damage and mice is a consideration, as that is all you may have to your name when you get out. You don?t want to take up anymore space than part of a closet or attic as you are relying on someone moving your stuff and keeping it for you if they move while you?re away.
Prison authorities like to take your belongings, throw them away, accidentally lose them, etc. A guard told me that my driver?s license must have been thrown away as I was being released, but his expression gave him away and I told I know you have found it. So important documents, keys, identification and other items should not be with you in your last day of court. Don?t drive yourself there as your vehicle will then be history.
Whatever money you have on you will be put on your books. You may only earn $3 or so a week for your necessary items you can order from commissary. If you are busted for any drug offense, usually they only allow you to keep $25 of what you had on you and the rest is confiscated, upon arrival.
Pay attention that the correct amount is placed on the entry form, or it could end up in the Correction Officer?s pocket. Corrections officers cooperate with police and some are police officers as a 2nd job. Piss one CO (Corrections Officer), police officer, judge, or prosecutor off and their wrath will dog your everyday inside and when you get out.
You will need to know up to 10 Complete names, their birth dates, exact address, and telephone numbers if you want them to be able to visit you and be able to send money to you to put on your books to be able to order a television, radio, reading materials, soap, shampoo, food items, etc from the prison commissary.
If you make a mistake it could be considered making a false statement and you might be charged. You are not allowed to bring papers or anything else in with you so you have to remember all exact details. It may take 30 to 90 days to make any changes to your list once you make it the first time, upon your arrival.
Many inmates first end up at a county jail first and are later transferred to another facility based on length of sentence and the type and seriousness of the crime.
When you finally get visits don?t bring anything with you, especially paper or writing instruments or you could be 30 t0 90 days without another visit. Expect to be strip searched and worse, possibly after every visit.
Pretend you do not hear guard taunts, don?t volunteer information, and say only ?yes sir? or? no sir?, and yes use the word, ma?am if it is a female guard. If you make any racist or sexist comment to a woman or minority, especially a guard, the wrath will last and last, or worse hit on a female guard.
Tell friends and family not to send you stamps, reading material, print outs from the internet, cassettes, CD?s, nor anything pornographic as they will be confiscated or sent back and you may end up in some sort of trouble. Drugs used to be smuggled in prisons using pages in a book. You are allowed to buy stamped envelopes, paper, reading materials etc, eventually when your inmate account is set-up and you are settled in.
You are only allowed to have a certain number of photos and other items, having too many beyond policy will get you written up with an inmate ticket or charge. Usually tickets are in 3 degrees. Minor offenses mean loss of privileges and visits. Major ones can land you in solitary and usually to another more strict prison.
Don?t talk about your family, job, possessions, what you are in for or how long your sentence is if possible. Realize that nobody really cares, it is just useful information, inmate currency, on how to get over on you, tell their friends on the outside a house to break into while they are off visiting you. If you have a wife, girlfriend, or significant other, an inmate may tell a friend on the outside who she is and she is now a target.
If an inmate got more time for your same offense, you might get seriously injured or make yourself a target. Child molesters, rapists, and those in for beating up a spouse receive ribbing and worse. Don?t get labeled as a snitch or your days could be numbered.
I was labeled a snitch to guards and inmates just after arrival. So I had to come clean, explaining that I was not a snitch and went to prison for 2 minor charges, with no previous record, for what I had written inflaming police to act against me in Connecticut. My sentence did not make sense and they were suspicious that I was a plant.
It was easily proven as a heroin addict that used to pass out on front lawn in Stafford Springs, CT, verified that I had pissed police off with what I had written in newspapers prior to my arrest, so I avoided the wrath of other inmates.
If an inmate get used to you being around and is jealous that you are leaving, you have end up getting sabotaged and end up getting more time. Fudge and evade when asked when you will be getting out.
Give locations of your vehicles and your property and expect it will be someone else?s hands when and if you ever get out. Yes, it is easier to get in trouble in prison than being on the outside. Charges and more time are so easy to get. Assaults happen often, and being killed in prison is a possibility.
Eye contact is bad and you should know what cues you are giving others by practicing in the mirror before going, as a wrong expression to an inmate with political power or guard can be very bad for you.
There are no glass mirrors, just shiny metal, bolted down, so learning how to shave, ?by feel? is a good idea. You will be strip searched and worse, sometimes daily. Pay attention to walking along the wall in hallways, moving slowly and talking slowly around guards in a compliant tone.
Some are sadists and love the ability to beat on you. When you are roughly placed on the wall for the pat down, you have to spread your feet apart. Failure to do so, will allow the guard to kick you quite hard in both ankles.
Male and female guards can ask you to bend over and spread your cheeks of your ass at anytime as they may want to check what is up in there. There is no privacy as there are few if any doors anywhere for your use. If you are a man, you will be asked to pull your ball sack over, for further humiliation. Plan not to show any emotion and do what they ask slowly and deliberately as the guards love scaring a new inmate into bruising himself or hurting his own privates.
If you see someone on the street or in prison with long thumbnails, but trimmed fingernails, the longer thumb nails are used for gouging out eyes. You get in trouble for any physical encounter, so many think that they will make it count. The victim is also likely to be punished the same as the one who initiated it. If you don?t fight back you are going to be punched and kicked, ridiculed, and worse for your entire stay and what little you have will be taken from you.
Expect to be called, ?Inmate,? ?Jailbird,? and worse for the rest of your life. Expect other inmates to taunt you by saying things about your family, you personally, your kids etc. The less they know the less they have to use. It is best to stay near your bunk as much as possible to you get to know those around you. You risk injury and assault mainly in the common areas and when moving. Pay attention to someone that is ?wigging out? and stay away from them as they don?t care about themselves, the consequences, nor what happens to you.
If you get raped or coerced into a sex act and you are caught, you may have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life, as there is a special charge for consensual and non-consensual sex in prison. It is your word against another?s and nobody cares about you, the truth, or justice, as you probably already learned that having been tangled up in the American Justice System to land you in prison.
A drug dealer punched me in the kidney from behind and I double over from the pain. Other inmates helped me up and to my bunk. I had gained status on my block and he later came to me to apologize, and I told him that I expected 2 soups or a candy bar every week and that my laundry was to be washed and folded on my bunk until the end of my stay. Which it was.
As an inmate there are no doors on toilet stalls in most cases, you are expected to flush as something drops, called a ?courtesy flush.? I was told by an inmate loaded with tattoos, about 6?4? to 6?6? doing curls using a mop bucket with 5 gallon buckets on it that I was not allowed in the bathroom during his ?work out? time. I went over to the toilet and purposely didn?t courtesy flush. I?m still alive and my status grew.
There can?t be 2 inmates on the top position on the block. He or I had to go, or we had to go at it. I had paid attention to 2 locks being opened and knew the combinations, and had at least 2 newer socks that would do well if needed. They weren?t, as the muscle bound asshole, violated himself, on a simply ticket issue, and was moved to another prison, so there was no showdown.
If you ever become an inmate, welcome to reality, as you now know, the true essence of human nature, that owning anything, relationships, justice, and all that you have ever learned is bullshit, temporary, arbitrary, and/or in anyway resembling anything fair. But, such is life.
-Steven G. Erickson (Vikingas)
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Posted by Vikingas at May 2, 2004 01:12 PM