What's To Know About Prison?
What's to know about prison? It's the most backward place you can be. Everything that you thought you knew about the human condition is wrong.
Racism is allowed and encouraged. Everything is race. You sleep with your race. Eat with them. Hang out on the yard and work out with them. Laugh with them, tell stories and pass the time, watch the hours float away. You do everything with them. Sometimes you have to risk your lives for them.
Riots happen. People get hurt. Yard gets shut down, everyone’s in their cell. Yard opens back up a couple weeks later, races go right back at it, punching, stomping, breaking bones and tearing skin. Yard's down, everyone's in the prone position, some on hot asphalt while people are escorted back to their housing unit or carried off to medical. It's vicious.
You're not supposed to be friends with or hang out with other races. To the extreme. That means, don't smoke the same cigarette, drink from the same cup or eat from the same food. Nothing. Violation of these rules would usually come in the form of an ass-beating and possibly getting rolled up (being removed from the yard).
I didn't grow up this way. I was raised to believe that people should be judged by their personal merit and not their inherited lineage. I tried to be cool with everyone, and if they weren't cool, we wouldn't hang out. I didn't give a shit about race, and none of the people I hung out with did, either. When I was introduced to this way of life upon entry to prison, it was a shock. It was also you went along with it or your race would fuck you up. Everyone went with the program or they were dealt with. Funny thing though, that with all this race-trippin' going on, there is one thing that can still bring these guys together.
That's right, you can't take a puff from another race’s cigarette, but you can slam the dope or smoke the weed that came out of their asshole when they smuggled it in from a visit. You can't be friends with or associate with another race unless it's for dope. Then it's cool.
Here's what happens with that: riots. Probably nine out of ten are over a dope deal gone wrong. Now we have to fight a group of people to the death over some piece of shit dope fiend who couldn't pay his debts. Great.
Drugs are everywhere in prison. Smuggled in by visits and staff. They're a big deal. Lots of money orders being sent so people with addictions can stay satisfied. Convicts will have their families send thousands of dollars to people on the outside, usually via Western Union or some type of money order. These guys, in the throes of their addiction, will lie, cheat, and steal from other convicts in order to stay high.
How do you think that turns out?
Word is bond in the joint. What that means is, anything you say you're going to do, you do it. Once you decide to make a verbal commitment in the presence of others, those people are going to hold you to your word as if you had signed a contract with your own blood. Your word is one of the only things you have in there that's really yours, and if you become someone who's word isn't any good, you'll be viewed as piece of shit by just about everyone, except maybe the Christians and other pieces of shit. Not a category you'd want to fall into.
Suffice to say, you need to be careful as to what comes out of your mouth. If you get mad at someone and say, "You know what? I'm gonna beat So-and-So's ass next time I see him", you'll forever be viewed as a bitch by everyone if you don't. If there's some type of mission to be done and you say you'll do it, there is no backing out. You're committed. Now, if you don't perform the task at hand, your own people will get you. Talk is not cheap in prison.
Now I now that this all sounds intense and possibly lethal (it is), but there is an upside. Word is bond in every situation, not just the harmful stuff. If you're a card player and you're gambling, the other guy is going to pay up (just as you would if you lost). If he didn't, his own people would make him. If someone needs to borrow something and they say, "I'll get you this Friday," guess what? You'll see him on Friday. If not, he'll be dealt with, either by you or one of the hierarchy.
Commitment to a person's word can take some interesting and hilarious turns at times. This leads us to the Butt-Naked Booty Scoot (BNBS). The BNBS is a maneuver that is done by dropping one's pants, including underwear, and squatting/hopping while dragging your butt-cheeks along the ground. It's done purely for humiliation and laughs. This performance is usually promised as the prize of a bet, and most of the time they're "on-call", which means that the winner can choose whenever he'd like as to when you had to do your BNBS. Are you in the middle of the Chow Hall, eating your dinner with 100 other dudes? Give me my BNBS. And you will. Your word holds you to it.
You can made to get butt-hole naked at any time. That's right: bend over, grab those ass cheeks and spread 'em. Now give me a cough.
That right there breaks you down. Makes you meat. Guards need it for their safety-the humiliation factor comes as an extra bonus. I eventually didn't even care. We all showered together. Got stripped out together. It was when the CO's would do it on the yard, in the cold or middle of the night, that it would be a bummer.
Another thing about prison is homosexuality. It's alive and well. The ones who were out were a blast. Some of the funniest people, literally having a gay 'ol time, and just wanting to be themselves. The way these stories would usually turn out is, someone who was still an undercover homosexual, and therefore not allowed by their race to be with a homosexual, would hook up with one. The person's race would deal with it somehow, usually in a manner where both people were gone from the yard. Being yourself in prison is frowned upon, in its own manner. You have to be one of the tribe, so to speak.
The real tragedy with the undercover gays is when you see them at a visit, with their wives and kids, and you know that she has no idea he's going back to the yard and getting his dick sucked by a man. There's a bit of that going on, too. Who knows if one of the guys has AIDS; they’re not allowed to disclose that information in prison. She gets some STD, all because she was trying to stay faithful to some piece of shit criminal, who’s screwing other piece of shit criminals behind her back.
Another thing about prison: the guards. Mark Twain said, “If you want to see the dregs of society, go down to the jail and watch the changing of the guard.” People may think that because someone is a corrections officer, a sworn peace officer, they have the best intentions at heart for all the inmates under their care. With some exceptions, this is not what I saw. I saw these CO’s beating people up, destroying people’s property, writing false reports and routinely lying. I saw them having inmates beat up other inmates for favors or items like a Walkman or a small TV. There was so much corruption going on in those housing units, it was scary. Where were you supposed to go, if things got too out of control and your life was at stake? Not to these guys! They’d feed you right back to the sharks you were trying to swim away from, then laugh with each other as they watched you being eaten alive.
I had CO’s ask me, on more than one occasion, if I could do a little house cleaning for them, and they’d look out for me. No, thanks. A lot of those cops took on that Prison Mentality themselves, albeit in their own right. They’d say that they hated snitches. Too much paperwork. If someone came and told, unless it was somehow beneficial to the CO, they’d usually let the person who was being told on know who was telling on them. Then, they’d sit back and watch the drama unfold, and enjoy a dose of that gladiator show.
You never knew how far someone would take an ass beating. Most of the time, when guys would fight, they’d stop short of killing each other. Broken bones, skin ripped open; that was commonplace. That’s where it usually ended, too. Sometimes though, you’d get those dudes who weren’t right in the head, or were there for murder, and they’d want to take it all the way. You never knew.
Maybe that’s the best way to sum up, what’s to know about prison: you never really knew what was coming.
Copyright, 2018, Bobby Dino, All Rights Reserved.