Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

  1. Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.
    Dismiss Notice

Ask an ex-con (almost) anything

Discussion in 'Prisonscape' started by PekkaK, May 19, 2014.

  1. DJOGamer PTgender: ⚧ Learned

    DJOGamer PT
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2015
    Parrots:
    426
    Location:
    Lusitânia
    Click here and disable ads!
    :backawayslowly:

    This thread...
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 7
    • WTF am I reading WTF am I reading x 1
    • You're Fired! You're Fired! x 1
    ^ Top  
  2. GarlandExCongender: ⚧ Arcane

    GarlandExCon
    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Parrots:
    1,477
    So for fun I thought I'd show all of you what a monthly U.S. Probation report looks like. I have to fill out one of these and send it to my PO every month:

    Reports (open)


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    • Informative Informative x 5
    • Brofist Brofist x 4
    ^ Top  
  3. Spectaclegender: ⚧ Arcane

    Spectacle
    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Parrots:
    6,390
    What happens if you tick "yes" in the "illegal drug use" field? Go straight to jail without collecting $200?
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  4. I'm With Her Mustawdgender: ⚧ for prison Arcane

    Mustawd
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Parrots:
    8,664
    ^ Top  
  5. GarlandExCongender: ⚧ Arcane

    GarlandExCon
    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Parrots:
    1,477
    Yep.

    Very likely, but not necessarily. It depends on your overall behavior while on probation. If you've been on for a few years and haven't had any other mistakes you'll probably have to go before a Judge but your PO may have your back and the Judge will likely defer to them. It's your "get out of jail free card." I'd say admitting to it (although it's better to tell your PO to his/her face than just check a box on the report) increases your odds of not going back to prison. It's definitely better than doing an UA and pissing dirty. I know a guy who before his UA came clean about smoking weed at a party. Of course, the UA turned up positive for marijuana use, but because he admitted it they only made him take a drug class for a few months. He didn't even have to go before the Judge.
     
    • Informative Informative x 3
    ^ Top  
  6. Braykogender: ⚧ Arcane

    Brayko
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    Parrots:
    5,165
    Location:
    Best America
    Here's a question, why do most cons not give a fuck about changing the system that failed them in the first place? I've yet to see any sort of revolutionary-minded con in this modern age.
     
    • retadred retadred x 2
    • Shit Shit x 1
    ^ Top  
  7. I'm With Her Mustawdgender: ⚧ for prison Arcane

    Mustawd
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Parrots:
    8,664
    What makes you think they have any power in that regard? Felons can't even vote. I'm guessing they can't run for office. The fact that a felon can even rehab his life is a struggle enough. What you're asking is herculean IMO.
     
    • Acknowledge this user's Agenda Acknowledge this user's Agenda x 1
    ^ Top  
  8. Harg Harfardarssengender: ⚧ Cipher Patron

    Harg Harfardarssen
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Parrots:
    973
    Location:
    Dreams, where I'm a viking.
    Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Not universally true. This varies by state/crime and ex-cons should look into their own state's rules before assuming they can't vote. For example, in NY if your crime while you can't vote if you are currently serving a sentence for a disqualifying crime (which includes being on parole), once your sentence has been discharged you can vote again.

    ETA: just parole, apparently PRS is not a dealbreaker
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
    • Informative Informative x 1
    ^ Top  
  9. Braykogender: ⚧ Arcane

    Brayko
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    Parrots:
    5,165
    Location:
    Best America
    Who said anything about voting or running for office? And who asked you anyway? Go back to your comfort zone, Bourgeois scum.
     
    • butthurt butthurt x 2
    • Shit Shit x 1
    ^ Top  
  10. I'm With Her Mustawdgender: ⚧ for prison Arcane

    Mustawd
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Parrots:
    8,664

    So your butthurt answer is "I don't have an answer"? Got it.

    EDIT: For the record, I wasn't trying to be a dick. I just think your statement is naive. Besides voting/politics how else would they change it? I mean you can try to become a celebrity and spread the word to the public I guess. Still a herculean task.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
    ^ Top  
  11. GarlandExCongender: ⚧ Arcane

    GarlandExCon
    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Parrots:
    1,477
    It's a variety of reasons. Once a lot of inmates are released, they just want to be left alone and get on with their lives. They don't want to think about, bring up or hear anyone talk about the fact they did time. So, to be out there as an activist would not allow them to do that.

    Many are beaten and broken by the system when they come out. They're like Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones. Many develop major Stockholm Syndrome and there's programs in the BOP, like the RDAP (Residential Drug Treatment Program) that as part of the program basically turn inmates into sheep who embrace authority and the system. There was nothing wrong with the system, it was all them.

    There's an apathy that comes with it too. After years of being chewed up by the system, a lot of inmates throw up their hands and just think you can't win so they don't try when they get out. They've seen how corrupt and powerful it is and it's a beast they believe cannot be slayed. In the feds it's especially bad and I heard a lot of inmates say "the feds play by a different set of rules, you can't win." Basically, they just accept defeat. Another thing is for YEARS people have been saying they were going to do federal sentencing reform and it's really never happened. You have recently convicted inmates coming in with all this hope that they're going to change the laws and you have old head inmates who've been hearing this shit for 8, 10, 15, even 20 years and are totally cynical about it. Eventually, you do enough time you get this way too and it sticks with you when you get out.

    As has been mentioned, not all felons can vote and most can't for awhile after they get out of prison. This not only denies them the most basic voice, it also disconnects them from activism/politics on the whole. I like to think voting is sorta the border pieces to a jigsaw puzzle. If you don't have the border, how can you put the rest of the puzzle together?

    Many ex-cons/felons are afraid of retribution for speaking out. They've seen how hard the law (especially the feds) can fuck with you and don't want any more problems. They don't want to bring unwanted attention to themselves. They just want to be left alone. The bottom line is that as a felon, there's already tons of extra ways law enforcement and government can fuck with you and there's always this constant cloud hanging over you where you know if you fuck up again, at all, it's going to be so much more serious. This feeling is increased 100x when you're on probation and when it comes to federal sentences, almost every is on probation for at least a few years after getting out of prison. There's tons more ways they can fuck with you and by the time you get off probation, you may be so glad it's all over with that you just want to move on with your life completely.

    It seems to be the areas that have the most need of reform have the least number of ex-cons willing to speak out. For example, sex offenders almost never speak out for reform, even though SO laws are totally fucked. The last thing they want to do is call themselves out or bring attention to themselves. None of them want that label or anyone to know about their past, but getting involved in activism will certainly put the spotlight on them. There's also basically unlimited ways law enforcement can stretch the law to silence any SO who speaks out. For example, there's a guy in Texas who is an SO activist. He's been featured in Reason magazine. Basically when he was a teenager his sister claimed that he touched her inappropriately. Later the sister recanted this but he was already convicted and has to be a registered SO. One day he was going to the police station with a Reason reporter because he had to change his address because him and his family (he has a wife and two kids) had moved. He misinterpreted the law and thought he had to inform them of his move within three days after the move. In fact, it was within three days BEFORE the move. Even though he came in to register his new address he was arrested right there and charged.

    Another example came right here in NC where they were trying to pass a law that would ban SOs from places like churches, libraries, parks, movie theaters, even malls. One SO who has a statutory rape charge (he was 19, she was 15, it was consensual but not under the law) went to the General Assembly to speak out against the law. A law already on the books mandates that SOs cannot loiter within 30 yards away from schools, day cares, etc. (kinda hard to do when you're trying to walk down the street). Turns out there was a day care within the General Assembly building for staff he was not aware of and he was within 30 yards and was arrested right there as he tried to pass out literature making the case against the new law.

    So, you see, there's a lot of reasons felons/ex-cons aren't trying to change the system.
     
    • Informative Informative x 5
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
    • Salute Salute x 1
    ^ Top  
  12. I'm With Her Mustawdgender: ⚧ for prison Arcane

    Mustawd
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Parrots:
    8,664
    Is it hard to not fuck up on probation? I heard there are so many rules and shit, it's hard not to screw up here and there.
     
    ^ Top  
  13. GarlandExCongender: ⚧ Arcane

    GarlandExCon
    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Parrots:
    1,477
    Personally, I don't think it is hard to fuck up, but I'm not really a "criminal." By that I mean, yes, I committed a crime, but I wasn't living a criminal lifestyle so it's easier for me. I've been at it for over three years now and have stayed out of trouble the entire time. I just stay honest with my PO, let him come to the house once a month, meet with him at my business every once and awhile and piss in a cup a couple times a year. That's really all there is to it if you stay out of trouble.

    But for some people, they were living a criminal lifestyle so since that's the only lifestyle they know, it's hard not to go back to it. They're also more likely to have friends/family who are involved in some kind of crime and/or are doing drugs, so it's easy for them to get caught up in those kinds of things that will get them violated.

    For the most part from my experience, the POs actually try to look out for you and give you second chances. They really do seem to be more about rehabilitation and take no pleasure sending you back to prison. But this can also depend on the PO and the district you're in because some POs are assholes and some districts give zero fucks about sending you back. In some places their case loads are so big that if they send you back you're a burden they no longer have so you give them a reason, they will. On the other hand, a lot of places have so many people on probation that those on probation almost never see their PO or even have to interact with them. I know two people -- one in Miami and one in the D.C. area -- that have only spoken to/seen their PO three times in the last year.
     
    • Informative Informative x 3
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  14. udmgender: ⚧ Cipher Patron

    udm
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Parrots:
    940
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
    ^ Top  
  15. Drog Black Toothgender: ⚧ Unwanted

    Unwanted
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Parrots:
    2,697
    From what I understand, the harshest punishment is not the prison itself, but your record. Seems like you're shit out of luck with a criminal record on your hands in the US. No job for you.
     
    ^ Top  
  16. GarlandExCongender: ⚧ Arcane

    GarlandExCon
    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Parrots:
    1,477
    Thanks for posting this. I remember the VICE article but hadn't yet seen this.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  17. GarlandExCongender: ⚧ Arcane

    GarlandExCon
    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Parrots:
    1,477
    This is probably true. In its own way it is a lifetime sentence. I don't know if I can personally say that, especially on the job thing, because although I experienced the nightmare associated with the record at first now I have a successful business. Not every felon can say that or is capable of doing that. I also did almost 6 years, which was enough time to take all the rest of my 20's away from me and fuck me pretty hard. But for people who may get 6 months, a year or two and still have the record haunting them, there's no question in my mind that'll end up being the harshest punishment.
     
    • Salute Salute x 2
    • Despair Despair x 1
    ^ Top  
  18. udmgender: ⚧ Cipher Patron

    udm
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Parrots:
    940
    The business that you're running is the games shop isn't it?

    Speaking of which, would you say gaming has had an impact on your reformation in the system? Sorry if this was asked earlier (and if it was, don't hesitate to just throw me the link) but I couldn't find a prior post on it.
     
    ^ Top  
  19. Graukengender: ⚧ Prophet Patron

    Grauken
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2013
    Parrots:
    838
    Location:
    Fragrant Harbour
    Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    Would you hire other ex-cons for your business or do you think you would have the same bias, despite having been in prison?
     
    ^ Top  
  20. GarlandExCongender: ⚧ Arcane

    GarlandExCon
    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Parrots:
    1,477
    Well, I do sell a lot of games and video game related items, but my business is more general thrift/antique/vintage. I sell everything from furniture to advertisement pieces to toys to purses/hand bags to new stock items (fidget spinners, Make America Great Again Hats, eclipse glasses). The only thing I really don't deal in is used clothes unless it's very unique is clothes (i.e. I'll sell things like vintage jeans, motorcycle jackets, service station shirts, etc, but not regulator second hand clothes).

    You can view some of the things I purchase for resale here:

    http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/inde...ost-flea-market-thrift-yard-sale-finds.113344

    Anyway, I guess in a way gaming has helped me integrate back into the system. It's given me something to do instead of going stir crazy, which was especially important when I first got out and really had to make all new friends and figure out what I wanted to do socially. I also collect video games and systems so that's a hobby for me. I played an ass ton of Skyrim when I first got out and with all the stress I experienced when I first got out it really did help me relax and escape. Also, when I played Persona 5 recently I felt a connection with the protagonist because of the story line.

    I wasn't very into gaming before being in prison. When I was in my teens I was, but when once I started my career in my early 20's I was laser focused on that and didn't have time for anything else. I had to travel a lot and was constantly away from home, but I loved it.

    I want to be careful, though, because keep in mind I wasn't living a "criminal lifestyle" nor was I any sort of hardened criminal so I don't want you to get some idea that gaming has preventing recidivism for me. I think for many it could, but it's not like I'd be out smoking crack and robbing banks if I wasn't the Dragonborn.

    Oh, without a doubt. I haven't gotten to the point where I've had to hire more than one person yet. I have one employee. But I'd definitely consider someone with a criminal record. I'd look at their character, resume, how motivated they seem and hire based on that. Actually, I've found ex-cons are some of the most hard working people. They're also quite honest because they want a second chance and want to prove themselves. Also, if they're trying to rebuild their lives they want to keep their job, especially if they need to keep a job to keep their P.O. happy.

    Keep in mind I want to start a food truck prison nacho business and hire only ex-cons to run it.
     
    • Salute x 4
    • Brofist x 2
    • incline x 1
    • Thanks! x 1
    • Interesting x 1
    • Informative x 1
    ^ Top  
  21. sullynathangender: ⚧ Cipher

    sullynathan
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Parrots:
    3,031
    Location:
    Not Europe
    how is probation determined?
     
    ^ Top  
  22. GarlandExCongender: ⚧ Arcane

    GarlandExCon
    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Parrots:
    1,477
    This answer will be specifically for the federal system.

    So when you're sentenced for a crime at federal level there are two factors that impact how long your sentence will be the most:

    1. Mandatory minimums, which state that you have to do a minimum amount of time for certain crimes no matter what (exception: the only way out is to provide information, aka snitch, and that information leads to a conviction. That's literally the only way to get before an MM).

    2. The federal sentencing guidelines, which give specific sentencing ranges for a crime based on two primary factors: 1. What the crime was, 2. The criminal history of the convict. For drug cases the amount of drugs someone is caught with (i.e. drug weight) is also a factor. In regards to criminal history there are four categories. The longer someone's record, the longer their guideline ranges. Most of the time anyone in the IV category is looking at 25 - Life. This sucks for some people who may have three felony convictions but they were all petty things like marijuana. There's also something prosecutors can seek called "Career criminal." This is for someone who has a guideline of three or higher and they argue that the person has basically been a hardened criminal their entire life. Using this designate the person will almost certainly get the high end of the guidelines. Most of the time, when you take a plea agreement, all you're getting is the government agreeing to recommend you be sentenced to the low end of the guidelines. It's not like a state level plea where you can plea to a lesser charge.

    It's also very important to note that while the mandatory minimums are mandatory and the Judge cannot go below them the federal sentencing guidelines are not and the Judge is free to go below or above them, however, most of the time the judges stick to them as a rule. It's also worth noting until a Supreme Court decision in 2001, they were mandatory.

    I point this out because probation works in a similar way.

    First, it's important to point out that almost everyone who gets a federal sentence will have to do a period of probation. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines actually recommend a period of probation for most offenders serving a year or more prison sentence. For all classes of felonies the minimum recommended probation term is one year and the maximum is 5 years. Rarely do they go above this, but there are exceptions to it (for example, it's not unheard of for federal sex offenders to be sentenced to a LIFETIME of probation). There are actually guidelines for this too and they are strictly followed even though they don't have to do. Most of the time a term of probation following a sentence will never be more than the actual sentence and most of the time they give the lowest recommended sentence based on the guidelines (i.e. they could sentence you to 5 years supervised release but the guidelines say for your class of felony 3 is recommended so that's what the Judge does). There are also mandatory minimums in some cases for probation. Most of these are 3 or 5 years.

    So the good news is, unlike with sentences, there's actually maximum terms of probation (5 years) for MOST crimes. So where a Judge could give you more time than your guideline for your sentence, he is limited by how much probation he can give in most cases.

    Also, the feds don't call it probation, they call it "Supervised Release." There's also no parole in the federal system. That was abolished in the 80's. Parole is where someone gets a sentence but at some point before their sentence is up they're let out because it's believed they're reformed. They spent the remainder of that sentence free but supervised (on parole) until that sentence is up. Believe it or not, since there are still people sentenced back under the old law you still have people sentenced in federal court out on parole.

    Some conditions of probation and supervised release, such as having to take drug tests, are made mandatory by statute, while others are optional. Some terms are recommended by the Federal Sentence Guidelines. For example, they may recommend requiring participation in metal health program or drug rehabilitation or other rehabilitation program.

    The judge has broad discretion in deciding what optional conditions to impose. These conditions can be changed even after sentencing and at any point during probation. Probation Officers are basically "officers of the court" and their job is making sure the terms set by the court are followed. In some cases, the Judge will not set conditions and will defer completely to the Probation Office in the district the convict is in to set what terms the Probation Office sees fit. This is actually the case in my situation. My sentencing Judge has a reputation of not setting conditions and leaving it to the discretion of Probation, for better and for worse.

    Worse than the conditions being modified, however, is that the LENGTH of supervision can be modified by the court even after sentencing up to the maximum possible sentence (in most cases 5 years), although you have a right to a hearing if this happens. Most of the time this only happens if you get in big trouble or if you go back to prison for violating the terms of your probation and they decide to extend your probation as a result. It used to be that they would kill your probation if you violated and went back. In other words, if you got sentenced to 18 months for a violation when you got out you were done with probation. Some people would intentionally violate to put this into effect. But this is no longer the case. In fact, they can re-extend your sentence all the way up to the maximum if you violate. In other words, you could do 4 years of a 5 year probation term, violate, go to prison for 18 months and come out and have to do fresh 5 year probation term.

    When you officially violate (and I say officially, because sometimes you can and it never goes in front of the Judge if it's not severe and/or it's a hick-up in an otherwise smooth term) basically the Probation Office reports to the court and a hearing is held. The defendant has rights in the hearing (being informed of allegation, retaining counsel or requesting counsel be appointed and to have a probable cause hearing) The defendant has the burden of proof of establishing that if released pending further proceedings, they will not flee or pose a danger to any other person or the community.

    Statute mandates revocation for some violations, such as possession of a controlled substance, possession of a firearm, or refusal to take a drug test (note: however, if you fail a drug test, you may not necessarily even have a court hearing). The sentencing guidelines even has grades of violations and a table recommending terms of imprisonment based on the seriousness of the violation and the defendant's criminal history when originally sentenced.
     
    • Informative Informative x 3
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
    ^ Top  
  23. DarKPenguiNgender: ⚧ Magister

    DarKPenguiN
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
    Parrots:
    1,082
    Location:
    Inside the Hollow Earth
    Fuck, this is an interesting thread and probably the most honest portrayal of prison life I think ive heard.

    I have quite a few friends who did real time and I was lucky and somehow managed to avoid catching a case... But this so easily could have been me- And i'm not so sure I would have done so well as yourself.

    Ive heard all the stories but usually with copious amounts of false bravado and a 'devil may care' attitude thrown in - The whole "I did the entire 5 years standing on my head" and I never really bought it- This was 'real' in a way that terrifies me because of its sincerity.

    Someone earlier had wondered about "shock collar" vs "shot caller" and they are not the same thing using different terms but have a huge distinction-

    Shock collars are more non gang related leaders of a racial or ethnic clique (however the inmates are being organized-your homeboys that you mentioned) who are there to keep the group in line and keep the peace over debts and with other cliques - They act as a restraint (i.e. shock collar) and usually have enforcers to dole punishments like beatings within the group or 'chin checks'- When they leave jail/prison they are replaced by someone within the group.

    "Shot callers" are actual gang leaders whose reach extends far outside the penitentiary. They call the shots and people live or die, inside or out, by what they decide. Its not a chin check over some soup you owe.

    Anyhow, I stayed up all night reading this thread and it bothers me on a fundamental level- For alot of reasons. Good reading and very interesting but disturbing to me.

    So a question for you- Did you become institutionalized in the sense that even now you carry some of that prison mentality? You dont seem like it in your writings but that doesnt mean that you arent always looking over your shoulder or carrying with you some of those survival traits, perhaps even to an extreme. How did it change you and do you feel it was fair justice and well deserved punishment?

    I dont even know your crime and dont care tbh- I also understand that if 'you play you pay' and most people understand the consequences of what they do IF they get caught- But that still doesnt make it right and honestly many laws are ridiculous and sentences draconian (and others are too light imho) but how do you honestly feel about your case- Are you bitter? Less trusting of our legal system?

    A good friend is doing serious time on a drug conviction and by the time he gets released it might as well have been a life sentence and although he reaped the benefits of that life and knew exactly what would/could happen and he understood the risk vs reward- Justice wasnt served. He didnt deserve that. When a drug trafficker cannot ever get parole and yet a murderer- Someone who willingly and purposefully takes a life - not only is eligible for parole but has a lighter sentence- Thats not justice.

    Do you honestly think what you went through was just?
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
    • Salute Salute x 1
    ^ Top  
  24. GarlandExCongender: ⚧ Arcane

    GarlandExCon
    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Parrots:
    1,477
    Hey dude, thanks for your comments and questions. I'll get to them sometime this week. Today has been a busy one.
     
    ^ Top  
  25. Make America Great Again Westerngender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Western
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Parrots:
    3,333
    Location:
    Australia
    Codex 2012 Codex 2014 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    There are 'revolutionary-minded' cons that want to drastically change the system/society from top to bottom, they also want a straightforward ideology with a personal redemption narrative and have hence conveted to Islam.
     
    ^ Top  

(buying stuff via the above buttons helps us pay the hosting bills, thanks!)