Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Ask an ex-con (almost) anything

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

  1. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    How people usually get to know each other in prison? Can you just go and talk to other inmates or are there strict rules about this?

    It does vary from security level to security level, but the most common way people get to know each other is via introduction by another inmate, who essentially will vouch for that person. This is more important at higher security levels, where ensuring that someone isn't a cop/snitch/sex offender is more important and people will want to check "paper work." In such a case, the person may ask to see your paperwork and then vouch, or may show it to the other people when vouching for you. The first person you'll likely meet is your cell mate and that is the first person who will want to see your paperwork. It's likely that in higher security environments your new cell mate may tell you that you'll have to find another cell if you're not from he same area or of the same race or if he's gang affiliated. If you're lucky you get someone of the same race and/or area to avoid these problems. This person will show you around and introduce you to other cool people from your area. Prison staff are actually conscious about this, so when assigning cells they check to make sure that you'll put with someone who you'll be a match with. It's also likely you may end up in a 4-men cell or what's called a "parking lot" or "fish bowl" at first. These odds increase in lower security institution, but it's rare in high security. There you'll be less likely to find issues with living there because everyone else will also newer and will be in the same boat. A parking lot of fishbowl is usually a room or an open dorm style area with just bunks and no dividers. The idea is that you'll eventually settle in and find someone you're cool with that you can cell in a two-men cell with...

    Your cell mate and you have a special relationship forged by prison code and ethics. You're suppose to look out for your cell mate, respect them, give them their space, etc. If you cook a meal it's good prison etiquette to give some to your celly or invite them to the "car" (prison slang for a group of inmates getting together for a common purpose, e.g. cooking food or working out). If they need something it's good etiquette to help them out or let them borrow something. It's best to find someone clean, respectful and that you have things in common with to be your celly. Sometimes the best celly's are actually the hardened criminals including those with violent crimes, gang members or those in for long sentences. They'll look out for you and offer protection for nothing. This sounds crazy, but a lot of these people have been in prison for a long time and just want to do their time in peace so they actually will pick a celly that is the opposite of them in many ways. Someone who is quite and not your criminal type. This will cause them the last amount of trouble, so it's a good mutual relationship. The only thing you have to remember is that these people are also institutionalized and very particular about things, so you have to give private time, space and learn their etiquette and rules, but they'll do the same for you. Also, if you're an intelligent or educated individual, lots of people will want to talk to you because they know they can learn from you and people may want you as a celly for this reason too. Because I have a background in politics and I knew a lot of politicians and government officials before prison, a lot of people were interested in talking to me as a result.

    That said, the first people you'll get to know will likely be people from your area (in the feds, from your state usually). That's the first major way inmates are divided and the most basic thing you'll have in common with other inmates. Someone will direct you to someone from the state (often an actual shock collar) and they'll check your paperwork in higher security and vouch, introducing you to all the other people from your area. They'll actually immediately look out for you and ask if you need anything and they actually don't want or expect anything in return. They may even put together a care package. This doesn't mean these are the only people you can talk to or associate with, but at higher security it is who you will eat at the table with and it is who you will spend most of your time with. Eventually, you'll just fall into a group of people who hang out, but it's almost always those from your state because that's how it starts.

    The idea is, though, you want to make sure that you don't just talk to anyone because you don't know who you can trust. As a general rule, when you first get to a prison and someone is being nice to you and talking to you who isn't from your area you need to ask "what does this person have to gain from me?" because they want something.

    At low security institutions it's a lot different. Pretty much everyone associates with each other, talks to each other, sits with each other... it's a lot different. People fall into groups based on honest friendship and common interest and similarities that are deeper and more apparently than just sharing the same home state.

    What happens if you go and talk to other race/ethnic group? Is there any difference with this in low/med/high security?

    You can talk to whoever you want, but hanging out with them and sitting with them is a no-no at Medium security and higher. If you do they'll tell you that you need to get up and sit somewhere else. If you're new they'll direct you to your group. I've even seen COs tell new inmates that they can't sit at a table because "that's the Puerto Rican table." It's not a big deal at a low, although people are still racially divided, especially in the chow hall, but at Petersburg Low I could sit at a table with three Mexican guys and no one cared. Two of the celly's I had were Bolivian and Asian and no one cared.

    At high security institutions, if you have a serious problem with someone not in your own group (i.e. someone of a different state/race/religion/gang, etc.) were are protocols. Each group has a leader and a shock collar and it's best to talk to yours and then meet with the leader of the group that the person you have a problem with belongs to to resolve it. This may have any number of results, including coming to a mutual understanding ending in hand shake to a controlled fight where you both fight it out as people from the other groups keep watch for COs and make sure no one else gets involved from either side. It could also mean that one party is determined to have wrong the other one. I've seen a case where a Nation of Islam guy stole some shoes from a Spanish guy and when they met to resolve it and it was determined the Nation guy did steal the shoes his fellow Nation of Islam members made him apologize and pay him for the shoes (or offered to allow the Spanish guy to gets some licks in). The Nation of Islam also gave their fellow member a beating as punishment.

    Let's assume that someone gets a smartphone inside - is it possible to use the Internet on this device or is there some kind of "dead area" where the mobile network doesn't work?

    People have and do get smartphones inside and use them. In the feds this has become very serious and will not only get you moved to a higher security level, but probably shipped across the country and even possibly given more time. That said, prisons have gotten smarter about this and have figured out ways to block cell signals to make it harder for them to be used by inmates. I actually think with new technology that can use computer systems to analysis phone conversations for keywords that eventually they're going to allow some kind of monitored/restricted cell phones in prisons on a closed network, like they have e-mail and MP3 players. For one, there's so much private money in prison now and so many private facilities this is just another way for them to make money. They could cell the phones and then cell pre-paid minutes you could load on them. Also, clearly the fear of illegal activity being conducted on a cell phone or other questionable things is less now that they have introduced e-mail, which can be used on an unlimited basis. There's simply no way they can read every e-mail sent by every inmate, so they must use some sort of program that looks for key words of phrases. They could do the same with the phones. It would also reduce costs by not having to have a CO listen to every phone call like they do now. They've also now let inmates have cell phones, even smart phones, at most halfway houses, which they didn't before, so it shows they're opening up to it more. They'd also make more money just from the fact that now inmates could make unlimited calls instead of having a limited number of phone minutes each month (and because they wouldn't have to wait in line to use one of a few phones since they'd have their own). Right now they have a limited number of phone minutes per inmate because they can't listen to that many calls and also because the phones would be too crowded all the time. Some private facilities have already moved to computer programs to analyze phone calls instead of having an actual person listen to every convo.
     
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  2. Mandora Andhaira

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    Is it true that pedophiles are despised in prison? If that is the case, why don't we hear more about them getting shanked and killed while doing time?
     
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  3. Balor Arcane

    Balor
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  4. Twiglard Learned

    Twiglard
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    Asking abour prison's boring. In USA you get the prison anal rape but in Europe you don't. Also it's boring there.
     
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  5. PekkaK Heaviest Matter Developer

    PekkaK
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    Unfortunately Garland will not be able to answer our questions for a while, but his good friend Thom has agreed on taking over in this Q&A. He's spent 5,5 years in in Petersburg so he probably has a lot insight about living behind bars. Here are some new questions:

    How often do inmates con people on the outside? I've read that some inmates start writing letters with lonely women/men and eventually start asking money, favors, etc.

    What is the surest way to get the guards HATE you inside?

    Have you experienced any race wars or all out violent riots?
     
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  6. PekkaK Heaviest Matter Developer

    PekkaK
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    Thom is currently residing in halfway house and they actually block Codex(!) there so he sent his answers via e-mail.

    Q1: How often do inmates (communicate) with people on the outside? (I've read some inmates start writing letters with lonely women/men and start asking eventually for money, favors, etc.

    Answer: Inmates in prison like to communicate AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE with people on the outside. It's really one of the few connections that they can have with the "real world." The universe inside a prison is so small (much like a hamster cage or a fish bowl...) that prisoners are constantly looking for ways to communicate and write to people on the outside. This is achieved in several different ways.

    A) Inmates can have visitations from friends and family. However, if they have criminal records themselves, they are often denied. Also, since many prisoners live very far away from their homes, visitations can be infrequent and in some cases, non-existent. Some prisoners also have horrible crimes where their friends and family abandon them over a period of time... making visitations less likely. Visits consist of an open area with chairs and tables much like you might have seen in movies (i.e.: Fruitvale Station). Vending machines are almost always provided... where you can buy candy, sodas, and pre-packaged food (pizza, hamburgers, chicken wings, etc.) at outrageous prices ($4.50 for 4 very small chicken wings). At the end of every visitation, prisoners are almost always "strip searched" before going back on the compound. This means, you get completely naked, raise both arms, run your fingers through your hair, lift up your tongue, lift up your ball-sac, show both soles of your feet, turn around, squat and cough. This is to ensure, you are not bringing in any contraband like weapons are drugs. Some drugs however are still brought in through visitation from prisoners who swallow "balloons" filled with drugs. I don't want to get to graphic... but yes, they come back out one way or the other... get aired out... and get used or sold.

    B) A lot of inmates DO NOT have ANY visitors, thus.. the second mode of communication with the outside world is through writing letters. There are literally hundreds of prison penpal websites like www.writeaprisoner.com and www.friendsbeyondthewall.com (those two are very popular). Prisoners usually write a profile/bio and send a picture to one of these companies with a fee ($20 and up). Usually, within the first few weeks after a profile goes up on the website, an inmate will beginning receiving some correspondances. The replies obviously vary. You will get more letters if.... you are more attractive, if you are in great physical shape, or have a certain type of demeanor, appearance, age, or interest that someone might relate to. The websites will "refresh" or move your profile back to the top of their page after a time if you... pay extra money.

    Interestingly, some inmates use the penpal letter writing system as a "hustle." Believe it or not, there are plenty people out there that wish to communicate with prisoners. Maybe they are intrigued. Maybe they are bored. Maybe they want to help someone. Maybe they are just very lonely and want to write someone who is in less fortunate circumstances... but those individuals can be taken advantage of.

    Some inmates are genuine and just want to chat/write with a penpal to spend some recreational time. However, more often than not, it's a "hustle" where a prisoner wants to extract resources. Afterall, living in prison can get pricey and even setting up the penpal profile cost money. Phone calls are not cheap either (unless you cheat and setup something like Google Voice). Some male prisoners will sweet-talk lonely women through their letters at first and then move them over to phone conversations. They'll let the women know that it costs money to use the phone and will ask if they can help with the cost, etc. I have personally known some prisoners who were able to convince their female penpals to regularly send them $100.00 a month, have phone sex with them, and even send semi-nude/lingerie pictures in the mail. This becomes an art for some inmates and they try very hard to be persuasive.

    Even MORE interestingly, there are male prisoners (who are straight- or so they say...) that target other male penpals (who are presumably gay). There are also lonely gay men out there.... just like there are lonely women.... and some male prisoners will persuade their male penpals that they are in love with them and also try to milk out resources in the way of money on their account, books, magazine subscriptions, etc. Having an atheltic profile with a picture of yourself with your shirt-off seems to attract a certain type of individual who will pay to have this kind of artificial attention.

    That's not to say there aren't genuine friendships and relationships between prisoners and penpals. But in my experience, I would classify this as rare.

    Inmate can write letters and receive letters as often as they like. There was a package limit of 1 pound (0.45 kg) for letters. You cannot send obvious contraband in the letters (like drugs). You also cannot send plants, hair, or X-rated material. There is NO weight limit if the books/letters come in from an official bookstore. As such, some inmates had their sender create "fake bookstore" invoices or packaging stickers to circumvent the weight limitations.

    Inmate phone conversations are limited to 15 minutes per call in U.S. federal prisons. Some county, state, and regional prisons allow up to 30 minutes. You also have a total of 300 mins per month to use (or 20, 15 minute conversations per month). Calls are monitored and recorded. Yes, when the prisoners and their penpals are having phone sex, it is ALL listened to, monitored, and recorded. But the phone sex happens anyway.

    Q2: What is the surest way to get the guards inside you HATE?
    Answer:
    I'm going to assume this question means... to "get them back" if you don't like a guard. This is actually much easier than you think. Most federal prisons DO NOT have any cameras in living units and most facilities. It would simply cost too much to install and monitor. The U.S. BOP does not have this kind of money.

    Some guards are simply pulled into a cell and beaten up. This happens more frequently than people think. It happens more often of course in higher security prisons, but it happens also in low security and even in camps. The prisoners who beat the guards up usually have some reason but top among them is the guard behaving "disrespectfully" towards the inmates. If a guard "shakesdowns" or searches an inmates room too frequently or the guard harrasses the wrong inmate... this can all translate into "disrepect." Some prisoners will choose to hide their identity if they are able to get away with it. An altered shirt, mask, gloves, or other type of disguise can help, especially at night-time or if the guard can be found away from a public area. For these reasons, guards in the higher security prisons are actually "friendlier" and less disrespectful than the low security prisons. Prisoners in low security prisons have less time... and look forward to going home. Thus, they're less likely to lash out or cause any problems for the staff members. The guards at low security federal prisons for this reason... are among the worst in personality and disrepectfulness.

    There are other ways to "get guards" that a prisoner dislikes. I have seen people who have bagged up their own feces at night and left it for guards that they do not like. In a worse case, a case manager's door knob was smeared with feces and she ended up touching it. No one was ever caught. I guess they didn't DNA test the fecal matter. Many prison staff members will also have things going "missing" because the prisoners will steal things out of their office or on their person. It could be a pen, KY jelly in the nurses office, money, or a bag of McDonalds.

    I have also seen inmates in food service... who get back at prison guards by altering their food. You can leave this up to your imagination. It probably happened. And yes, prison staff members sometimes DO eat the same food that's cooked by the inmate population in the chow hall. I don't know why, other than that the food is free to them and they are probably huge cheapstakes.

    There is also a diplomatic approach to "getting a guard back." You can actually file a "grievance" which is a form that gets processed and addressed by supervisors. Most of these complaints are ignored or explained away... but if you keep at the process and move it up through the rank of command, some of the complaints reach the ears of people who will actually do something about it. Most inmates and staff will tell you that this process doesn't work.... but ironically it does. No prison staff member wants a complaint lodged in their person file with accusations and problems.


    Q3: Have you Experienced Any or all out race wars violent riots?
    Answer:
    No, I have not personally experienced an all out race war or a violent riot. Petersburg, VA is on the east coast of the United States. Most of the gang related riots are primarily in the west (California) and along the southern border (Texas). Riots are also more common place in higher security prisons where people have to "stick together" in their own circles. Going outside of your own gang, circle, or affiliation will leave you exposed and prone to danger. Petersburg fortunately didn't have these problems but many stories were shared from others who have transferred from other locations.

    There is definitely some degree of racial tension between the blacks and whites in some prisons. Not only with the prisoners but actually ALSO with the staff. White prison staff membmers and black prison staff members, at least in Petersburg, notoriously did not get along.

    Violent riots also happen in higher security prisons because the inmates have longer sentences and don't have as much to lose. The lower the prison sentencing among the population, the lower the likelihood of any violent riots that will occur.

    Also, although race riots can happen, gang riots are much more common. There is always a war between the "Bloods" and the "Crips" as well as problems between many hispanic gangs in the south and west like the "Surenos." Stabbings and mass violence with these gang related riots are common in the medium and high security prisons in California and Texas (ie: Beaumont).


    I hope these answers are satisfactory for now. I'm happy to help in answering them!
     
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  7. PekkaK Heaviest Matter Developer

    PekkaK
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    Here's another LONG update from Thom! Remember that you can still send questions here and I'll then send them to him via e-mail.

    What kind of 'quests' do you think would be good in a prison game?

    1. Getting ingredients together for an awesome meal. - In prison, getting street food is... well... impossible. So everyone tries to concoct better meals because, I mean, who doesn't like food? But creating a "good meal" in prison is always an adventure onto itself. Most of the ingredients need to be stolen. Yes. Onions and Green Peppers need to be brought back hidden inside your clothes through smugglers who work in the kitchen. A small bottle of vinegar has to be stolen out of the factory to be used to make your sauce... and is usually brought out in a clear water bottle. Any quality cuts of meat, chicken, or fish (that the staff get to eat) have be bought off of the inmate butcher who works in the freezer section of food service (and of course...smuggled out). Maybe there can be a quest based on making a meal for a friend? A Shot-Caller? A bribe for someone? Popular smuggled item food recipes in prison include: Pizza, Nachos, Fruit Salad, Banana Pudding, Fried Rice, Stromboli, Curry Chicken, Salmon/Mackerel Patties, Apple Crisps, etc.

    One of my last EPIC fruit salads in prison required the help of 4 different individuals. One person had to bring me the kiwis and apples. Another, the pears and bananas. Another had rare cans of mango juice from a different institution that had to be commandeered off of them for a price. And finally... as luck would have it during a holiday season...we had cantaloupes and watermelons! This too had to be purchased off of someone "hustling" them on the morning shift inside food service. Weird. I know. (It gets even weirder... I used to make "Thai Peanut Noodles" in prison that everyone went wild over. The ingredients and preparation list is insane.)

    2. Getting a guitar string from the band room to use as a tattoo needle. - Contrary to belief, getting a tattoo in prison can be safe and clean. Usually, the person wanting to get a tattoo produces their own needle. The "needle" is usually (if possible) the thinnest guitar string (String 1: High E). A single steel string can produce a large quantity of needles when cut. Maybe there could be a quest to smuggle out a guitar string from the band room for someone who is in need of doing tattoos. You might need to dodge the band room inmate workers, possibly rec staff, and find which cabinet in the band room office (usually the clerk's desk) where the inventory and supplies are kept. They also hold microphones and electrical cables/wires there.

    3. Getting the right "Job" on the compound to make money. - I'm not sure how jobs in prison will be handled in the game... but there is quite a bit of variety in terms of employment inside a prison. Jobs are usually secured through networking or knowing people... and almost never based on the skill of the individual. If you are liked by an inmate or prison staff worker, your odds are high of getting a job in that department. If not, your chances are nil regardless of whether or not you went to Harvard business school- they don't care. Some jobs are more awesome then others. I'll give you a sampling of some jobs here:

    Food Service Worker - Pay: $5 - $60 a month. Starts off at $5 a MONTH to mop and sweep cafeteria floors. Goes up to about $20 when you move to the dishwashing room or serving line. Go to $30 a month if you make your way up to head of your area or if you work serving prison staff members in the OM (officer's mess). Get up to $60 if/when you become a "clerk." A clerk is usually the highest rank obtainable in prison inmate work. They are sort of the "right hand" man to a staff member and usually have a bit more of a relationship that is beyond the usual (often sterile/unfriendly) treatment that most inmates receive from staff members.

    Commissary Worker - Pay: $30 - $100 a month. One of the better paid jobs on the prison compound. Requires picking up inventory items from shelves and putting them inside a basket for checkout, after inmates place an order with their "commissary sheets" at the window. Job also requires manual labor, moving boxes, unloading packages, etc. Commissary inmate workers are also maligned at times because they "hide" things to hold for their own friends when the inventory of items get low. They might also be privy to special or newer "shoes" or other goods that may be in demand. They are also the first to see or purchase new products for sale, especially before they are gone.

    Education Tutor - Pay: $30 - $60 a month. You would think this pays more. You would think that educated people with degrees in business or able to teach people who need to get their GED (General Equivalency Diploma) would be more in demand. But no. They make $30 - $60 because the education departments in prison usually don't care and a lot of people want these "desk jobs" instead of mopping the chowhall for $5 a month. In prison, things are backwards. Like the popular saying goes: BOP stands for "Backwards on Purpose" (not Bureau of Prisons).

    Factory Worker - Pay: $34 - $200+ a month. Some of the federal prisons in the United States have factories maintained by UNICOR Industries. These factories are in place to promote technical skills, training, and a more stable form of employment to transition inmates into society. They are almost always the best places to work on the compound mostly due to the increase in wages. Factories vary by location and include Print/Graphics (where I worked), sewing/textiles, furniture construction, cable factory, military equipment, office equipment, distribution, packaging, etc. In some cases, UNICOR can pay over-time during busy months where additional work comes in. Where I personally worked (I processed payroll for a time), there were months where an inmate could make $800 in a month, tax-free. One Mexican inmate we used to know even boasted that he came right back into prison after leaving... because he could make more money and provide for his family in prison then being deported and trying to survive in Mexico (sad).

    There are a slew of other jobs with their various perks... and I could write forever about them so I'll just list a few more with their prison wages. All wages are per month:

    Unit Orderly ($20), Library Clerk ($30-$50), Recreation Worker ($5), Plumber ($30 - $80), Electrician ($30 - $80), Safety (cleaning up blood/bio hazard) ($30 - $80), Medical Orderly ($30 - $100), Psychology Orderly ($30 - $100), Visiting Room Photographer ($50 - $100), Landscaping ($8 - $50), Laundry ($8 - $50), Chapel Orderly ($20 - $60), Band Room Clerk ($10 - $40). Any head clerk job in any department ($40 - $100 and up).

    4. Getting the right "Hustle" - Interestingly, each "legitimate" job comes with its own perks and/or "hustles." Hustles are the side jobs... the ones you're not really supposed to do that can provide additional income. It usually involves loop holes, benefits or privileges in a job that are taken advantage of at the prison's expense. For example: Food Service Workers are paid diddly... but if they smuggle out fruits, vegetables, pastries, etc... they can made an additional ($5 - $20+) in a DAY. Some of the best food smugglers live large... making well over $500 in a month. Getting caught by staff can end this obviously. Unless... your social networking and/or staff ass-kissing is in good standing. Most clerks also have access to copying machines ($1 for 10 pages) or even typewriters ($1 per page of legal material typed). Laundry workers smuggle clothes ($1 per white t-shirt, $1 per boxer, $1 per 3 socks, $5 for pair of boots, $10 for a new coat.) I'm sure a slew of quests can be hustle related from acquiring the job handed down from another inmate to maybe even starting your own hustle from scratch.

    Personally, I used to take office supplies because I had access to everything in the Staples catalog. ($1 per gel pen, highlighter, marker, sharpy, scotch tape, mechanical pencil, etc.) Keep in mind, none of these items can ever be acquired any other way. Sometimes, I amassed a large inventory from multiple office supply orders. In these cases, I might employ a "middle man" to hustle my wares and split my profits. I might not have had the time or wanted to get caught with all the contraband in my own locker... so I would just pass them off to someone (a "runner") to take care of everything for me and cut him a profit. This is very common with food service workers who have access but don't want to carry out 50 onions from the kitchen alone (good luck trying not to get caught with that!).

    Other hustles include: Tattooing (mega-ton of money $100 - $1000 in a month), hair braiding, massaging (questionable... but available), crochet/knitting (need stuffed animals for your girl or kids?), bead working (gifts for people outside), painting, sketching, teaching guitar/piano, personal trainer, running gambling tickets (whole universe of stuff behind this hustle), selling "fiend" (porn) photos/magazines, doing other people's laundry, leather goods, and more.

    5. Setting up a bad cop. - There are good cops... but in prison.. they're mostly bad cops. The ones that think they are superior to everyone in the world. Who think they have power, control, and know everything. They treat prisoners like animals to be herded. Maybe you can utilize a quest to have one get "setup" or exposed. One of the worst offending staff members where I was at was a food service STAFF member who stole more than the inmates. We'll call her Ms. "B" for right now. She stole more food from the kitchen than the inmates... and took it home (?) or wherever. She was large, ugly, and tall and looked more like a linebacker. She abused her privileges by taking advantage of inmates, although sometimes it was consensual (yes, she's had physical relationships with some). She also smuggled in jewelry, cologne, and drugs for her favorite inmate crew. Oh, did I mention she was a raging racist? Use your imagination... it's probably right on target.

    6. Finding out who "snitched" on you. - 50% of all drug crimes in federal prison in the U.S. result in "cooperation" by the prisoner. Yes. Half of ALL drug cases are snitched (told on) out to federal prosecutors for leniency on their sentence or "time cuts." This statistic is directly from the U.S. government. People mysteriously disappear, go home, or receive extra time and get transferred after additional prosecution. Maybe there can be a quest where you can discover through some networking or talking to inmates about who snitched on you? Who snitched on a friend? Afterwards.. it's up to you to do what you want or need to do to set things right (if possible). Exacting revenge on people who snitched on your case is very common in prison. In unusual circumstances, the people who snitched on your case can end up in the same compound as you. If you are gang affiliated, these revenge scenarios reach more violent heights.

    7. Successfully getting laid by a female staff worker. - It happens ALL the time. Women who work in the U.S. prison system are.... well... LONELY. They're on cloud nine when men are oogling after them constantly. And believe me, it doesn't matter how short, fat, ugly, or repulsive the woman looks... a man who hasn't had physical contact with the opposite sex in 5 - 20+ years will probably screw a hole in the ground. Countless female staff workers in prison have been escorted off the compound for prostituting themselves ($20 for a handjob, $50 for a BJ, discount for discreet referrals) and countless others have been found out to have relationships with inmates in other ways that were discovered (the staff worker's home phone number in the inmate's account, etc.). All women are susceptible to the right inmate who can persuade or woo the women into the right situation. Maybe there can be a quest to get laid by a female staff member. Maybe you can even see them eventually getting escorted off the compound by U.S. Marshals after they get caught in the act.

    8. Acquiring "hard to get" items from the outside. - So many things are impossible to get in prison. But people find a way to get them if possible. DVDs can be glued into large hard cover books. If you work in shipping/receiving in a factory, contraband can be mailed in packages with discreet instructions that are given and the items can be smuggled and passed to the inmate customer. Some objects can simply be "thrown over'" the fence with some padding. Of course, the sender would have to ensure they don't get caught around the perimeter by cop hours and surveillance, but deliveries like this do happen. Some items are acquired through the visiting rooms. Usually they are drugs or smaller items... but some people have contemplated electronics, USB drives, and other materials. They could be palmed, put in your hair (if you have a massive hairstyle like dreads or something), or swallowed (in a balloon). There could be a number of quests that have some involvement with getting a cell phone (usually shady staff members bring these in and sell them for $200 - $500) or other items.

    9. Making an inside deal with a CO for information or favors. - Staff members in prison are people too. It's entirely possible that some inmates will eventually grow close to a staff member especially if they see each other or work with each other day after day. If you hit it off with a prison staff worker, usually a CO (correctional officer), they will start doing some "favors" for you discreetly. Usually this results in looking up things on the internet for you, bringing you outside food (burger from McDonalds), letting you play video games on their office computer (this actually happened to me!), and making sure no trouble comes your way (alerting you to investigations, shake-downs, etc.). Usually when you get in on the "inside" with these COs, they generally leave you alone so they can be "cool" with you. They won't write you up or shakedown your locker or in some cases (if they work in the visiting room) they won't even strip search you after the visit (as is required).

    10. Moving DVD player from Chapel to your Living Unit. - Believe it or not, this happened a lot where I was. DVD players for TVs are used in the prison chapel to watch educational videos or authorized religious programs. But of course... NO ONE wants to do that! The DVD players are usually stolen and brought back to the living units (where you live) to be connected to the TVs to secretly have porn viewings at night! One man rotates and stands guard outside the TV room to listen for "keys" jingling to see if the COs are coming by for checkups. Generally at night, COs stay in their offices and don't come out to common areas, so people listen for them down the hall before they get to their destination. However, this kind of event probably only occurs in low and camp prisons... because in the mediums and higher... they have a curfew of 9 or 10 PM where they are "locked-in" their cell for the rest of the night. At a low security prison... we were allowed to stay in the TV rooms until at least 3 PM or in some cases, 24 hours where there is little or no supervision.

    11. Mule out food from Food Service. - Although usually this responsibility is divided up, sometimes... there is no one to do the job. There are (12) bananas, (50) eggs, and (10) pieces of fried chicken... which is a lot of money for a day... and NO ONE to take it out! It's up to you. It's time to strap up with medical stockings (stuff things in your legs), a garbage bag (folded and tied around your waist like a kangaroo pouch), and cutting holes in the interior of your coat. The trick is... not to be patted down by staff... not to look suspicious... and not to pass by any hawk-eyed cop who is wondering why you look like you're loaded down with lumps all over body under your clothes. You get caught, it's probably definitely a write-up. You might also go to the hole for carrying/stealing so much. But people risk these scenarios often. Definitely quest material.

    12. Scoring a good penpal letter. - A lot of prisoners write to penpals on the outside. There are a gabillion websites for prison penpals. Google it. Not all results are good. Scoring a smokin' hottie is rare but possible... and in some cases, they're awesome and send you money and have phone sex with you. Maybe there can be a quest to score a good penpal. (Until you find out it's a DUDE.... this happened a few times for some people.)

    I hope these quest ideas help somewhat. I suppose the game could have the usual stereotypical gang wars, drug trades, inmate fights, stabbings, staff/inmate stand-offs, etc. but I wanted to put a more realistic, if not whimsical spin on the things that people actually do try to "quest" for in a real prison setting. Most of the time, people try to pursue "real life" or "normal" things in prison... because they are missed and unavailable to inmates.

    Can you tell something about the economy? Right now we have postal stamps as basic currency, tobacco as secondary currency and then various items with different values (drugs, better food, alcohol, weapons). What would you say is the value of one cigarette? Or a dose of drugs?

    Postage stamps are always the staple currency in prison. The values remain constant and they can be interchanged between actually using them as postage or as compound money. Other units of currency include mackerel pouches ($1), tuna pouches, and copy cards ($5). Bartering is very common in prison. People will buy/sell/trade things like unusual sneakers, watches, sunglasses, speakers, jewelry, spices, etc. I don't know why but inmates have a very high desire and need to "bling it out" in prison because in an all male environment, it's a constant dick swinging contest. Tobacco can be used as secondary currency in some spots, but it was rare where I was at. It was $20 for a SINGLE cigarette... and this "cigarette" was usually rolled up using leftover butts that were discarded by staff workers during their smoke breaks (compound orderlies sweep these up and secretly put them in their pockets).

    Values will vary by compound depending on the availability. In Petersburg, marijuana was cheaper than a cigarette. Drugs can be cheaper too... since acid can be dropped onto stickers or even some paper and smuggled in. Here are some relative values for contraband (stolen) items:

    $1 = 1 onion, 1 green pepper, 1 creamer cheesecake, 2 bananas, 5 apples, 6 eggs, a bottle of milk, 1 gel pen, 1 scotch tape, small customized holiday card, 3 folders, 4 hamburger patties, 2 chicken patties, 1 fried chicken breast, 2 fried fish filets, 1 page of typed work, 1 minimum bet on a ticket, etc.

    $5 = 1 typed/edited resume, 1 coat, 1 pair of black boots, 1 rental of contraband dvd for a day, 1 leather wallet, 1 small crocheted bag or animal, a tub of cottage cheese, a huge can of albacore tuna, 1 bread bag of oatmeal, 1 jar of brown sugar, 1 jar of garlic powder, enough weed for a good hit, 3-5 fiend pictures, 1 bread bag of frosted flakes cereal, a whole set of new bed sheets with blanket, etc.

    There are more uncommon things with obviously higher values. I sold a pair of computer speakers (can be hooked up to prison mp3 players) for $80. A solid, undamaged (unsoiled) playboy, fox, buttman magazine can go for between $40 - $80. I knew an associate of mine in the factory who ordered graphing calculators for office supplies and sold them for $30 a pop. Some of the hobbycraft guys who have a HIGH degree in their skill sell items are astronomical prices. The leather workers can fetch $150 and up per belt that they hand craft and often sell to merchants outside the compound through the mail.

    Drug prices vary the most dependent on availability and supply/demand. Generally a dose or hit of anything like acid or heroin is $10, $15, $20 in prison. As for weapons, people usually don't buy them. They make them. You can easily find sharp objects or solid plastics that you can file down outside on the sidewalk or concrete by the rec yard where no one will suspect anything. I've known of inmates who simply picked up large rocks and smash it into others faces. You can find razors in the shaving kits by dismantling the plastic off of them. At the low, straight razors are widely available in the factory, education facilities, and other areas. Most weapons are common objects, most commonly: broom sticks, fire extinguishers (a favorite to smash into someone's face while they're sleeping), boiling baby oil with magic shave (poured onto people), chairs, cafeteria trays, batteries inside socks, etc. I've never seen or heard of someone having a gun in prison. The staff don't even carry them unless they're taking you somewhere outside on a furlough.

    As for privileges in prison, they tend to be equal to everyone unless you receive the perks of working in a certain setting or environment I've discussed above. Obviously, if you work in food service, you have acesss to... food! If you work as a clerk, you have access to office supplies. If you work in the library, you have first access to books, etc. The only other privileges that are granted by the prison will mostly come from staff members who you have more personal dealings with (as mentioned above). There is no "level system" where you are granted more as an outstanding inmate or someone who is more responsible. However, bonuses can be awarded monetarily to inmate workers who achieve more than necessary. Even though additional privileges aren't granted to select individuals, privileges can be TAKEN AWAY for some. This includes loss of commissary, phone usage, and visitations. These are usually punishments for infractions or "shots" or "write-ups" that inmates can incur. Otherwise, some privileges are extended for certain religious groups and organizations where the inmates have access to utilize a certain area or receive a special "religious meal" or ceremony. For example... Jewish people can order horse-radish sauce and dark chocolate during passover, Muslims can order dates and special oils during ramadan, Wiccans can order tarot cards, etc. Native American groups can have a special outdoor "sweat lodge" area where they can strip their clothes off (down to their underwear) and get toasty in front of a wood-burning fire pit!

    How easy is it to go to a doctor's/dentist's appointment?

    How easy is it to get one? Where I was... IMPOSSIBLE. In fact, I avoided the medial facilities like the plague. Our medical department was so notoriously bad that some people ended up coming out of there worse than before they went in. Think... sprained arm... and coming out having your arm snitched/stapled up like Frankenstein. The prison system doesn't have the money to "fix" you. The medications and procedures are too expensive. It takes awhile to be seen... and then you are advised to purchase and take... Tylenol - Even if you're bleeding out your ears and your spleen is ruptured. You broke your back lifting weights? Great! Tylenol. You have ebola? Yup. Tylenol! Think about it... no sensible, money making Ph.D is going to want to work in a prison facility. The risk, the unnecessary security and conditions. The medical staff that work in prison are possibly some of the most dysfunctional and ridiculous people on the planet. The male nurse I had the misfortune of seeing a couple of times, only wanted to do anal cavity searches on me.. regardless of why I came in. (Me: Uh... I'm here to weigh myself and have my blood-pressure checked. Male Nurse: Okay, take off your pants.)

    As for Dental appointments... the stories vary. There usually is no "on site" dentist who works in prison full time. (Unless you're somewhere like Butner, NC where all the celebrities go and you're treated to a world-class spa like prison-verse.) So dentists in prison vary according to the outside specialist that comes to see you. I've heard some horror stories where some new "interns" came to do teeth cleanings for inmates.. and the inmates had to stop them mid-teeth-cleaning due to excruciating and bloody pain. I've also heard stories of really hot female dentists coming in and doing great work... where the inmates tried to snuggle their head as close as possible to them during the procedures. But I never went.. because the other medical/dental stories were too scary. I just brushed my teeth twice a day, flossed, mouth-washed, and prayed. Thankfully my teeth are all enact and still very nice after 5.5 years.

    I hope this information helps out for right now! Let me know if there are any other questions that I can assist with!
     
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  8. VioletShadow Sensate Patron

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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Bros I just finished reading all 5 pages in one sitting and wow. I feel really depressed, although of course happy that Garland was able to make it. Thank you for answering the questions in detail, thread is amazing. I can't think of anything to ask right now, but I'll come back with something.
    :brodex:
     
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  9. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    Hey everyone! I wanted to apologize for being away for a few months, but due to unexpected circumstances I've been without Internet access (don't worry, I didn't go back lol), but I didn't wanna leave you guys hanging so I asked my good friend (and former cell mate) to take over for me in my absence. That said, I should be able to respond on a semi-regular basis now via library access, so keep the questions coming.

    I also wanted to say that I'm happy to get so much interest and support. You guys are the best. I also am happy to see you enjoyed Thom's responses to much.
     
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  10. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    Also, I see there may be one or two outstanding questions. I will get to them within the next week or so.
     
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  11. Make America Great Again Ninjerk Arcane

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    Sounds p. sketchy
     
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  12. GarlandExCon Arcane

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    Honestly, it is, but while I generally enjoy being open with you guys about a great many of my personal experiences there are some things, especially regarding my post-prison life, I don't want to air all of my personal business out in the open. I hope that makes sense. I'll say this: Post-prison life is a wild ride.
     
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  13. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    Hey, I think this question was missed awhile ago. Sorry about that.

    Generally, yes, any sex offender is despised in prison. But a could of things first: Not all sex offenders are pedophiles and many of them (and, in fact, most in the federal system) do not actually have hands-on offenses. You can judge for yourself, but the people who were in for sex offenses in prison where some of the most normal acting, easy to get along with, trustworthy people I did time with. Many of them were younger than you'd expect (in their 20s, early 30s) and were very educated. They were the people that were easier to have intelligent conversation with. Some had advanced degrees. They enjoyed music and movies that I enjoyed and I found I had more in common with them than most other inmates who were of a "criminal mindset." They were the ones that mostly played D&D and enjoyed things like comic books and manga and video games. I can say this with a certainty: By and large they were the most normal people I did time with by far. They reminded me of friends I had before prison. Of course, this was at the Low and the quality of inmate there, including and especially SOs, is a lot better.

    So all of that said, how much they are despised generally depends on the security level. At a low security level (note: in the federal system, SOs are generally banned from going to the Camp, which is the lowest security level), they're not going to run in to many problems. Most people there don't want to go to a higher security level (or often go back to one) and they're also often getting to the end of their bid so they don't want any problems. Also, there are no lifers at Lows, so there's no one who strictly speaking has "nothing to lose." Also, since these generally are the easiest to get along with people on a human level, most people actually enjoy their presence because they don't cause problems. Plus, since they're generally higher educated and skills, other inmates who are less so actually like them because they can use them to learn things from so they become almost like a commodity. A lot of inmates in prison, especially if they have a long bid or if they're on their 2nd or 3rd bid get in a mood where they want to "go legit" and run a legitimate business instead of what they were doing before (almost always dealing drugs) and highly educated people are a resource to help them with this goal.

    Also, as one guy told me once while I did time: "They're the best payers on the compound." Which is true, you don't have to worry about an SO owing you money.

    That said, people often go on rants about "pedophiles" and "chomos" no matter what security level you're at and if someone who happens to be an SO angers someone, it's likely their crime will be used against them to slander them. But, what I found is most of the people who go on those kinds of rants unprovoked are actually SOs themselves! They're just trying to do a little classic misdirection to hide the fact they are. That's another point: Because of restrictions on asking people about their charge and keeping your paperwork (PSI) in your possession, it's possible that someone who is an SO can do their entire bid without ANYONE ever finding out.... and often times by the time people do they've become so known/liked/accepted that no one cares. This is especially true at Lows, although not as true at mediums (and higher institutions) since requirements that you "show your paperwork" are more enforced by the inmate population there.

    SOs are also protected in prison by staff. If they're not already in a prison designated for them so they have the majority population out of all offender types or if they're not in an actual protective custody (PC) prison, they're going to be the most protected inmates in prison by staff. If you threaten or harm an SO, they're going to put you in the SHU and ship you far away. They can actually do the same if you ask a SO while they're there and you're found out, so most inmates leave them alone. Even lifers don't want to spend the rest of their life at a worst prison. Also, since all federal prisons have computers now there is a way to report being harassed or threatened electronically and anonymously.

    Also, at higher security institutions, SOs may pay for protection from other inmates and since SOs tend to be wealthier and higher educated than your average inmate, many if not most can afford it.

    I hope that answers your question. One more thing: All of that said, even if they were being shanked and killed at high levels you probably wouldn't hear about it anyway. How often do you actually hear about what goes on in prison on the news? The truth is, no one really cares what happens to people behind bars. That's why when things happened while I did time like someone being beat to death with a fire extinguisher, it never even made the local 6 o'clock news.
     
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  14. Make America Great Again Ninjerk Arcane

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    I figured. I was being partially facetious anyways.
     
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  15. GarlandExCon Arcane

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    Yeah, I know. I just figured I'd comment anyway because it is a bizarre set of circumstances to say the least.
     
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  16. hal900x Scholar

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    "Shock Collars"....where I'm from, it's "Shot Callers" and has been for decades. Common language being what it is though, it could certainly have morphed by now.
     
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  17. raw No Power for Nobody! Patron

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    good thread, how did i miss that. prison is one of the few things i narrowly scraped past in my life fortunately.
     
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  18. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    Not sure where you're from, but someone I did time with from The West Coast once told me something similar, so it could be an east coast vs. west coast thing.
     
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  19. hal900x Scholar

    hal900x
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    Yeah, West Coast here. Shot Caller makes more sense to me, but then again it's what I'm used to. I guess one is a mover and one is a stopper.
     
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  20. Stormcrowfleet Arbiter

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    I don't know if this thread is still up, but it was well worth a read. Thank you for all this information.

    You were speaking of religious groups, but what about more ''minor'' groupe or sub-denomination like Christian Orthodox ? Do they gang up ? Do they fall in with the rest of the Christians ? Thanks.
     
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  21. GarlandExCon Arcane

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    Here are a list of the officially recognized religions by the BOP. If your religion is on this list, the BOP is required to provide you with a minimum budget to ensure that religious practices, ceremonies, etc. are carried out. I remember when I was at Petersburg someone showed up who practiced Santeria and he was literally the only one in the entire prison who did. The chapel spent thousands to ensure he had everything he needed to worship -- literally one guy. They bought all these little idol dolls for him.

    Anglican/Episcopa
    Asatru
    Astara
    Baha’i
    Buddhism
    Church of Satan
    Druidry
    Eastern or Greek Orthodo
    Gnosis
    Hindu
    Islam
    Jehovah's Witness
    Judaism
    Messianic
    Moorish Science Temple of America
    Native American
    Odinist
    Protestant Interdenominational, Non-Denominational
    Rastafarian
    Roman Catholic
    Seventh-Day Adventist
    Sikh
    The Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science)
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Latter-day Saints, or LDS, or Mormon)
    The International Society for Krishna Consciousness
    Unity
    Wicca
    World Wide Church of God

    To answer your question directly, yes, subsets of larger religious beliefs do often gang up and stick together. This is especially true of Muslims. The Nation of Islam is very prominent and powerful in prison, for example. Judea-Christian groups also do this. Seventh-Day Adventists, Hebrew-Isrealites, etc. are known for it. Generally the more fundamentalist the sub-denomination the more likely it is to happen. It also is more likely to happen in larger prisons, where there will be enough of a particular subset for them to actually gang up.

    BTW, to the best of my knowledge no one was a member of the Church of Satan at Petersburg, although that would have been interesting. At Petersburg, they have something called the Life Connections Program which is a faith-based program designed to help with re-entry and prevent recidivism. It's mostly a joke used to help people be able to transfer to Petersburg and away from terrible prisons in places like Texas by signing up for it there. To be a religious-based program, it's also like sodom and gomorrah there. It's all based in one housing unit so all the people who participate in it live together. People I knew who were part of it told me more drugs, porn and alcohol flowed through that unit than they'd ever seen. It was also the place most known for inmates having sex with each other, which given that it was one of the smallest units is incredible.

    Anyway, you could be any faith to participate, or actually be "unaffiliated." I always thought it was funny if they had a Church of Satan person there. They'd have to embrace their religion as part of the program. Also, each religion had an outside "mentor" come in for the people of that faith. Can you imagine a member of the Church of Satan coming in from the outside to fill that role? That would have been amazing.
     
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  22. Make America Great Again ERYFKRAD Arcane Patron

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    What, Old Gods are not an officially recognised religion?
     
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  23. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    We'd require them to grow a red maple on the rec. yard to resemble a Weirwood.

    In all seriousness, me and some friends there were considering pushing them to recognize Jediism as an official religion. If I had a ridiculous amount of time more I would have pursued it too. We talked more seriously about some sort of Greek Mythology religion where we'd worship the Greek gods. I mean, Asatru is recognized and they worship the Norse Gods so why not us? We thought maybe we could get them to serve us gyros and stuffed grape leaves at our annual religious meal too, which was our true motivations.
     
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  24. GarlandExCon Arcane

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    Hey guys, bumping this. Someone has got to have some more questions. :)
     
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