T Nation

2 Years in Prison - A Man's Story



Ever since watching Gangland on the History channel,Ive always been intrested in Prison Culture and Crime in the US. This is an extremely long read but its amazingly detailed and a awesome read for people that are interested in Prison Life. Heres an excerpt;

"They've cracked down on plastic toothbrushes, but there used to be enough of them that a lot of guys have them stashed away. You can file down the ends on the concrete to a point. One guy wraped a t-shirt around the kid's neck and lifted him off the ground from behind, and the other starts stabbing his gut. After a few stabs, he starts trying to get his fingers inside and he just pulls all this meat out. I thought he was going to pull out his intestines like you'd see in a horror movie, but instead, he just pulls out fist after fist of this yellow jelly shit, and then big hunks of meat like raw mince. Screw's arrived and tasered everyone. Even the kid. He was on his side, right in front of my cell, and every jolt from the taser made the big hole in his stomach smoke. "


Now that's what I call a sticky situation!


My question is what happens to the minorities? Not Black/White/Hispanic but all the other in between.


You may be interested in the book "Inside Out" by Harry Camisa. He worked as a prison guard at Trenton State in New Jersey for 50 years. Interesting look back at how the prison system operated during the 50s - 90s and the shift from strict punishment to rehabilitation and more freedom for the inmates as well as the abolishment of the death penalty. There's also the mandatory stories of guys getting their heads smashed in and getting shanked in the throat. The shift from the Mafia-era gangsters to blacks is pretty striking.


I think you guys would be okay,id be a world of shit.


Read the whole thing, all I can say is "Damn!"


Haha I love how this is on a "Starcraft Programming News Community".


Haha west coast, I was like, wtf is teamliquid.net?


Hahaha yea.

I read the whole thing and damn, every high schooler should have to read this or something similar. The dark reality of what goes on in there would function as an extreme deterrent for almost any human being (obviously there are some exceptions).

I've alway walked well within the line of the law, but reading something like this makes me very thankful that I do, and very thankful that I have a life where I don't have to do anything that would ever put me at risk of going to jail.


Jail sucks, I mean it's just boring. But I can't imagine having to go to a maximum security prison where you have to watch your back every second and worry about shit like this happening.


Yeah prison and jail are 2 entirely different animals. I've been to county on more than one occasion not that big a deal. You get a few guys who try to be hard but that's about it. As was said before it's really just boring. Now prison is a whole different animal that I can't speak on because I haven't been.


Yeah prison and jail are 2 entirely different animals. I've been to county on more than one occasion not that big a deal. You get a few guys who try to be hard but that's about it. As was said before it's really just boring. Now prison is a whole different animal that I can't speak on because I haven't been.


I did an overnighter in country once, wasn't exactly bad. I knew I was getting out the next morning so I didnt even try to force down the godawful food. Honestly it reminded me a lot of high school, where people check up on you every few minutes and you can't do a damn thing without permission. Most mostly it was just boring, sitting around talking and playing cards all day, every day.


Yeah, I remember my first time in County I had to do a weekend. That was actually hell, I didn't know what to expect I thought everyone was gonna try to fuck with me. But once it's over you realize it's just mental shit and boredom that you have to deal with. Then the next few times I went in after that didn't mean shit to me. It was like you said I just mostly played cards, slept, and excersised doing bodyweight stuff. But Prison on the other hand where I would have to worry about my sweet virign ass and all that, would be complete hell for sure.


pretty sure asians don't bode well in prison unless ure heading to a highly asian populated prison san francisco, etc...

if you were asian and wound up in texas where there aren't a big community of asian gangs (or at least well known gangs ala texas syndicate, aryan nation/brotherhood, etc) then you'd def be in trouble...


That was pretty interesting. I did 3.5 years in prison, so some of what he wrote I could relate to, but some of it was a lot different. There are some big differences between the states. I did my time in MD, one of the worst - they had one particular facility that is called "The Cut" which they closed just a few years ago, but I did some of my time there in '95 - '96 after being transferred from Hagerstown.

It was true to it's name. I got shanked there three of the five times I was hit... Along with a lot of misses...

The part I could relate to the most was how weird it was coming home - it felt like a different planet! My mother let me stay on her couch in the basement my first day back, but she came down the stairs to do some laundry and she startled me awake, and I jumped up from the couch and almost attacked her... Had to find a new spot after that!

I had the opposite experience while on parole - my parole officer was very helpful. He even released me from parole/probation early for good behavior '98 when I became eligible. Wrote me several letters of recommendation to help me get my first few jobs. I felt he was generally interested in making sure I succeeded. I have heard horror stories though, so I guess I was lucky.

All in all, prison SUCKED! But I survived and it helped shape the person I am today. I learned so much about people and negotiating and status and a thousand other things, that if I could choose to go back and change it, I would let things play out exactly like they did.

The lessons I learned were that valuable. But then I never got hooked on the drugs or got my asshole torn out - a lot of times after someone got raped, they were shanked repeatedly in the asshole and ended up wearing a colostomy bag for the rest of their life. Not a fun prospect at all! One that kinda gives you that extra motivation when you're defending yourself from a gang rape! Believe me, being 18 and white when I went in, they came at me many times.

In MD, they move you around a lot. In 3.5 years, I transferred my cell over 30 times and the institutions I went to were as follows: Annapolis County Jail to DOC in Baltimore to the Old Jail to MCTC both in Hagerstown. Then down to The Cut, to The Cut Annex (after I put a few people in the hospital), to Brockbridge, HLTCBC (boot camp), JPRU and finally HOME SWEET HOME... Each time they move you, you've got to prove yourself all over again.

It got to the point that I'd just kick the shit out of the first person that spoke to me each time I moved (believe me, they deserved it - they were always the one to try and test me first anyway, I just dispensed with the formality)... It was an adventure!


teamliquid, for all your starcraft and prison questions.


I did 2.5 years in the Fed, saw 5 county jails and 3 Fed prisons in that time.

Big difference between jail and prison for sure. Jail has it's own stresses, dealing with people waiting to be sentenced, waiting to go to trial, waiting and waiting and waiting. You have people come in on DUI's, crying about spending 3 hours in jail, <--- this behavior is a no-no by the way. DO NOT BITCH ABOUT YOUR TIME, BECAUSE THERE IS SOMEONE NEAR YOU WHO HAS IT MUCH WORSE THAN YOU.

Show respect, don't poke your nose where it doesn't belong, and you will be ok. Don't give off the presence of weakness, because people will phone-check you or chin-check you for the hell of it. Don't act hard, but just show confidence not arrogance, because believe me when I tell you, they will deal you an entire humble pie.

Prison is it's own beast, because you now have people who have settled into their lifestyle for their time away. That means you find friends who are similar to you. If you are in a gang, find your gang peeps. If you are a person like me, who just wants to go home, then hang out with people like that. Don't talk shit about anyone, pretend that there is always someone listening, because there usually is.

Be polite, show respect and courtesy. If you get into a fight, no guards are going to break it up. They will wait til someone is beat up or dead, then haul away the aftermath. If you talk shit to a guard, you run the risk of getting tuned up, and before you think you can go screaming to your lawyer, you will be deemed as being resistive/combative, which gives the cops the authority to beat the shit out of you. Remember, you are a felon, your word of mouth doesn't mean shit anymore.

Watch where you step, who you step with, watch your mouth, and you will be going home. I went from a minimum security to a medium-high security, which was a huge shock. The minimum was closing due to budget cuts, so the next closest place to home was the med-high at Terminal Island. No fun people, that shit looked like Castle Greyskull from He-Man.



Did you have a sort of breakdown the first time you went to a public place ? The store, mall, market, anywhere there were alot of people and noise? I damn near lost it at the food court mall the day I got out.


Yeah. I STILL get a little paranoid in public places with a lot of people sometimes. You think that everyone walking behind you is gonna put a knife in you if they get too close. I got lucky as shit - someone actually got close enough to "rag doll" me, but missed my spine and the ice-pick stuck in the muscles in my neck instead. Another time one was going for my kidneys, but I "sensed it" and got my arm in the way - ended up with a shank in the bottom of my tricep through my elbow capsule and out the inside of my forearm. That hurt. I'm starting to have problems with that elbow now with my pressing movements.