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The distribution of blacks, whites and Hispanics varies from
institution to institution. Overall it works out to roughly 30%
white, 30% Hispanic and 30% black. The remaining 10% are various
other races. Some joints have a high percent of blacks and vice
versa. I'm not necessarily a prejudiced person, but prisons where
blacks are in majority are a nightmare. Acting loud, disrespectful,
and trying to run the place is par for the course.
In terms of crimes, 60% of the Federal inmate population are
incarcerated for drug related crimes. The next most common would
be bank robbery (usually for quick drug money), then various white
collar crimes. The Federal prison population has changed over
the years. It used to be a place for the criminal elite. The tough
drug laws have changed all of that.
Just to quell the rumors, I'm going
to cover the topic of prison rape. Quite simply, in medium and
low security level Federal prisons it is unheard of. In the highs
it rarely happens. When it does happen, one could argue that the
victim was asking for it. I heard an inmate say once, "You
can't make no inmate suck cock that don't wanta." Indeed.
In my 41 months of incarceration, I never felt in any danger.
I would occasionally have inmates that would subtly ask me questions
to see where my preferences lie, but once I made it clear that
I didn't swing that way I would be left alone. Hell, I got hit
on more often when I was hanging out in Hollywood!
On the other hand, state prisons can be a hostile environment
for rape and fighting in general. Many of us heard how Bernie
S. got beat up over use of the phone. Indeed, I had to get busy
a couple of times. Most prison arguments occur over three simple
things: the phone, the TV and money/drugs. If you want to stay
out of trouble in a state prison, or Federal for that matter,
don't use the phone too long, don't change the channel and don't
get involved in gambling or drugs. As far as rape goes, pick your
friends carefully and stick with them. And always, always, be
respectful. Even if the guy is a fucking idiot (and most inmates
are), say excuse me.
My final piece of prison etiquette advice would be to never
take your inmate problems to "the man" (prison staff).
Despite the fact that most everyone in prison snitched on their
co-defendants at trial, there is no excuse for being a prison
rat. Th e rules are set by the prisoners themselves. If someone
steps out of line there will likely be another inmate who will
be happy to knock him back. In some prisons inmates are so afraid
of being labeled a rat that they refuse to be seen talking alone
with a prison staff member. I should close this paragraph by stating
that this bit of etiquette is routinely ignored as other inmates
will snitch on you for any reason whatsoever. Prison is a strange
F. DOING TIME
You can make what you want to out of prison. Some people sit
around and do dope all day. Others immerse themselves in a routine
of work and exercise. I studied technology and music. Regardless,
prisons are no longer a place of rehabilitation. They serve only
to punish and conditions are only going to worsen. The effect
is that angry, uneducated, and unproductive inmates are being
released back into society.
While I was incarcerated in 95/96, the prison band program
was still in operation. I played drums for two different prison
bands. It really helped pass the time and when I get out I will
continue with my career in music. Now the program has been canceled,
all because some senator wanted to be seen as being tough on crime.
Bills were passed in Congress. The cable TV is gone, pornography
mags are no longer permitted, and the weight piles are being removed.
All this means is that prisoners will have m ore spare time on
their hands, and so more guards will have to be hired to watch
the prisoners. I don't want to get started on this subject. Essentially
what I'm saying is make something out of your time. Study, get
into a routine and before you know you 'll be going home,
and a better person on top of it.
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