20 June 05
Richard asked about prison violence, if I have to watch my step constantly, and whether I put a brave face on things.
When the cell doors are open it is essential to be aware of the surroundings. Fights can erupt at any time, and often over silly things. I’ve seen arguments over fruit, cups of Kool-Aid, candy bars and even over which TV station to watch escalate into bloodshed. Besides the random violence there is also extortion, but the most serious violence seems to occur when people run up drug debts that they are unable to pay. Riots seldom happen, but when they do people can get killed.
I think that inmates constantly watch their steps, but even trying to mind your own business doesn’t always work. Diplomacy works to an extent, but you have to be tough enough to say no to people trying to take advantage of you without being disrespectful, which may lead to further problems.
This unit seems mellow in comparison to the one next to us, Buckley. At Buckley, a high-medium facility, alarms are often going off, shots being fired, and inmates can be seen getting marched to the rec field at gunpoint where loudspeakers order them to lie face down on the ground. Sometimes our guards dash over to Buckley with extra shotguns and rifles. The shankings, murders and the incident of someone recently getting stabbed in the neck whilst in the chow line have earned Buckley the title of "The new gladiator school" by the inmates here.
Thanks for the question, Richard.
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