We’ve all either known someone who’s been in trouble, or have heard of a friend of a friend who may have been. But with shows like HBO’s Oz, FOX’s Prison Break, and other prison-related dramas, it’s pretty clear we’re as fascinated as ever with life behind bars.
On a forum recently, an ex-con came back to answer some questions about his stay, and I admit I was glued to the screen. With all of our pre-conceieved notions about prison life, it’s always fun to hear a truthful account of what’s false and what’s accurate.
I have to say, I found what I read to be pretty insightful and eye opening!
The questions, taken verbatim, are in blue. The responses are in red. Rather than alter the Q&A for grammar and spelling, I left it in to be as honest to the sources as possible. The only thing changed was some minor capitalization to make things more readable.
How come you didn’t get raped? TV says that everyone gets raped unless they hit the biggest guy in the face with their lunch tray or stab a guard in the neck.You get “hoe checked” when you first get in, they test you to see where your heart is and if your a hoe they treat you like one. they have more respect for you if you fight and loose than if you dont fight and act like a hoe
What prison did you go to?Garza west, garza east, dominguez, hondo, darrington, and holliday units
I spent a day at the walls when they released me
What is your favorite object to use as a shank?Toothbrush with the handle sharpened, it could get by the metal detectors
For what crime, and how long did you serve?Cocaine is a hell of a drug.. i was selling coke and got busted while i was already on probation . i did about a year this time, i got paroled with a year left on my sentence
They say lot of people going to prisons come out mentally unstable, at least compared to when they went in. Do you think that’s true?No, i came out with a different outlook on life… i actually enrolled in school as soon as i got out, im trying to do something with my life now
Have you ever watched prison break and though “i can do that” ?I had such little time it wasnt worth it for me to try and escape… alot of people locked up watch it, when i got out my mom bought me season 1 and when season 2 came out she got it for me too
Did you have people visiting you and writing you letters that made the time easier?Yes, visits were nice but a steady stream of letters from my family and friends and a couple of chicks that i was messing with was even better
Was the money worth it? Would you do it again, but be more careful with everything you now know? Have you learned anything about dealing while you were in?It wasnt worth it for a 2 year bid but i had to handle my business. the day i got out i called up my homeboy and he asked me if i wanted to get back to work and i told him i wanted to chill out for a while. i probably would do it again if i had to, and i really didnt learn much about the dope game cause i was already in it for ten years when i went down but i did come out with a bunch of new connects
How did you get hoe checked? Just random people beating on you?It was just one guy he came up to me and asked me where i was from and he hit me in my jaw and then we were fighting for a few minutes. the only times i saw people get jumped they brought it on themselves
Are your parents proud of you?Spanish and white, they were never in trouble but i dont think it supprised them when i went down, i had been in trouble with the law so much. they are just happy that i am home now and trying to do something with my life, i know if i went down again they would be there for me again though
Are guards pricks or are they respectful?A lot of them are pricks, they talk bad to you and shake down your cell often but some are cool and some of them work for the families. its just like anywhere you go, it depends on the person, you know which guards not to mess with
Did you notice any ways the state could save money while you were in there? Maybe bunk more people in the same cell, or cut down on the amount of food they were feeding you. Honestly I don’t like the amount of taxes I’m paying.They could spend more money on drug treatment facilities instead of building new prisons every year, most of the people in there for drugs go back out and do the same thing because they dont get any counseling or whatever
Tell us about crazy shit you’ve seenI saw one guy get beat with a lock and lost his eye, i saw another fight on the rec yard and they stomped this guy cause he was trying to leave one gang for another and the speakers of the gangs got together and told eachother what was going on so the gang he was in they stomped him and when they got done his eyes was hanging out of the socket being held on to by the nerves, he couldnt shut his eye, they ruined his facial muscles and they had to wire his jaw shut. i saw alot of fights
I saw some guy smoking meth out of a light bulb and one old black guy smoking crack out of a chicken bone. you can get whatever you want in prison… we had access to cellphones remotes for the tv’s keys alll kinds of stuff
Have you ever had sex with a dude?No, but some of the female guards are prostitutes and with have sex for $
What the hell did you do to pass time, like what was your average day?If i didnt have to go to school i would usually stay up late reading or talking to my cellie and sleep most of the day then wake up watch some tv play some chess or scrabble or draw and write letters, there isnt much to do. that and go to the rec yard whenever i could
Did you see or hear of any gay shit going on?There were some punks that would watch the showers depending on who was in them, i never saw them trying to force it on anyone but some of the punks could fight though
Seen any escape attempts while you were there?I didnt see any but i know some happened… when i went to bootcamp in 99 i saw one though and the guy got caught on the razorwire fence, he had less than a month left in bootcamp and he got a dear john letter so he hit the fence and got 15 years for the attempted escape added to his sentence for whatever he was on probation for
Are you still dealing?I wouldnt say im still dealing but i have hooked a couple of people up since i have been home, you know just good friends and all
Do you have to join a gang or something? if you don’t, would you get picked on?You dont have to join a gang, if your small you might want to…. if you respect everybody they will respect you for the most part
Do blacks mess with whites?
And is it true that you can only hang around with your own race?There are race riots sometimes but generally you can associate with people of other races but when it comes down to it you stick with your own kind for the most part.
What’s all this “respect” people talk about in prison?Don’t talk about anybody, dont look into anyones cell, dont be a blatant asshole, and use your manners
How does state prison compare to county?Prison > County
There are more asshole guards in the county and in prison you get to move around more and you get to go to the rec yard more often and they dont shake you down as often in prison
What about in terms of fights and homo shit?The county jail here in houston they keep the punks together, when they have bananas for chow they cut them in half… in prison the punks are in general population so they dont segregate them…. there were lots of fights in both places but people would get fucked off worse in prison then in the county
Do prisoners get conjugal visits?Not in texas
Im half mexican and half white.. would the Aryans and the vatos fuck me up or would I be some sort of God in prison?They wouldnt fuck with just because, but the Aryans wouldnt let you get down with them, the mexicans probably would
Do your homeboys treat you like you just graduated from college now?No, the day i got home we had a big ass party, if i needed anything they hooked me up….
I thought female guards don’t hang out around men’s cells or even in their cell blocks.Here in texas the female guards will strip the male inmates… they dont discriminate
Worst food item you had to eat on a regular basis?Pork, we had pork chops, pork steak, sweet and sour pork, pork links, ham steaks on a regular basis
How were the correctional officers? good/bad/indifferent?
FYI – I’m a correctional officer in a land far, far awaySome were cool, some were dicks, i can see why some of them get beat up and killed or whatever…. i mean you are at these peoples house and you want to talk shit and shake down there house and write up bullshit cases.
What about the muslims? pork is a no no, would they have other food for them?They would either have cheese or peanut butter sandwiches or whatever
Anyone ever fuck with your food?Naw