Prison Politics

Posted: January 1, 2013 in Detention Center Unit Complex

The first thing that everyone thinks of when they think of prison is “don’t drop the soap”.  While this may be true in some locations it was not the case at the Atlanta USP DCU or Camp.

The people who will meet will definitely be from varying backgrounds and some will have some criminal backgrounds that are pretty extensive.  Keep in mind they are just doing their time like you.  I know that when I first went in the only thing I kept telling myself was, “don’t make any friends” and sure as heck don’t carry on any conversations with these guys.  Well, you will need these guys just as much as they will need you.  For you to get through your sentence without having some sort of meaningful conversation is impossible.  There is not way you can keep silent during that time.  This becomes even more true if you have a cell mate.

Every person in prison with you has a story.  Some are extremely heartbreaking; others are just down right outrageous.  Just remember that you have to take everything you are told with a grain of salt.  Some of these guys have been locked up for longer that you may have been alive.  Others are there for the first time and have the same fears and uncertainties that you have.  Do not, I repeat, do not try to walk in there like you are Mr. Tough Guy.  That is extremely counterproductive if you want to get out of there without getting into any trouble.

There is no one that is “in charge”.  There are those that no the system better than others.  These are typically the guys that have been down for a while.  Do they act like they are a bad-ass?  Yes.  Are they?  No.  Let them feel like they are in charge and that they own something.  For many of them, this is the only lifestyle they know.  Remember if they have been locked up for a long time, they have probably come down in security levels.  This just means that they know how to manipulate the system (at least in their eyes).  They are good source when it comes to what are the rules; how do things work; and when things happen.  They also are typically the first ones to be found with contraband and doing other things that could get you and them in trouble.  Again, use some discretion and make sure you understand that not everything you are told is 100% legit.

Who is in charge then?  Well, the simple question is the Correction Officers.  However, you and I both know that is not the case.  Inmates truly run everything that is going on.  If you need something, you go to an inmate.  If you have an question, you go to an inmate.  If you have a problem, you go to an inmate.  The only time you really go to the CO’s is when you need some sort of medical attention or legal help.  Even then they just pawn that off to someone else.  Just so you know, most information does not come free.  It usually entails you having to do something for them or you pay them in some way.  Payment is typically made in commissary items or by some other method like stamps.  That will change when you get to the Camp.  We can go over that at another time.

Just know that many people will try to take advantage of your uneasiness.  Many will ridicule you and try to get you to do something you don’t want to do.  Don’t be the macho man and don’t make it so that everyone knows who you are.  If they do, chances are you have more eyes on you that you want.

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