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How to Survive

in Prison or Jail

These are prison stories and vignettes we have put together in order to provide you, the reader, with the tone and thought processes prevalent in prison. Our book "Survive Jail" is NOT a collection of interviews and stories but rather a set of strategies and tactics to enable you to avoid the kinds of experiences you'll read below...!

Prisoners pay close attention to their fellow prisoners. [One technique to force a prisoner into sex is that] one of the bad guys will set up a power play. This is accomplished by him having two or three of his friends stop down on the prisoner of his choice in a strong manner as if to fight or beat up this prisoner. This usually puts the choosen prisoner in great fear of those type guys. The prisoner that set up this will be close by when this goes down. His roll is to step in just before the act gets physical. He defends the choosen prisoner by taken on the would be offenders. This works to gain the respect and trust of the choosen prisoner. After this encounter the choosen prisoner is encouraged to hang out with his new friend. This is repeated once or twice more to convence the choosen one of the sincere loyalties of the prisoner that set all this up . . . . They become very close, the choosen one feels compelled to show his thanks by giving at first monetary favors to his protector and it progress to the point where this guy that set up the attacks on him will not accept just the money. He starts to insist on the choosen one to give him sexual favors . . . . The fear of him, the choosen one, is that if he do not have this one Protector the rest of the guys will be back after him. After all it is better to have one person that you give sexual favors than it would be to have to be forced to do the act by two or more prisoners at the same time.

If I had a young good looking male friend, who had money and was not a fighter, coming to prison and I had to give him a formula for survival this is what I would say to him . . . . First, and foremost do not become familiar or personal with anyone. Trust no one, guards or inmates. Keep your case, personal views and opinions, family life, history and dreams to yourself. Do not share them . . . . Secondly, do not appear feminine in appearance, speech or actions. Maintain some facial hair, short nails, short hair, etc. to keep from being even accidently mistaken as a possible victim. Third, stick to your own race group as associates, but do not be racist.

Smaller, weaker, meeker individuals are usually targets. Meeker individuals tend to "act Gay" is how it's described here and in turn invites assault through the agressors mind. A new inmate needs to come into the system ready to fight and with a strong mind. He will be approached by a bigger guy who will let him know he's going to "fight, fxxk or pay protection." . . . . He will offer the new comer wire (for a radio antena) coffee or something so the new comer will come back and the subject will come up every time the new comer comes around and before long the new comer wants to know what the deal is. They go to a job or fall off in a cell agree to be easy, keep it between them, just do each other, ect. When the dude get's the new comer it's over and the dude will tell the new comer he'll take care of him or he'll tell everybody he's just a little bitch . . . . Should the new comer seek assistance of staff, staff just laughs at him, the physic department just says what do you want me to do. It's a no win situation and frustration often leads them to keep up the practice.

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"Debt obligation" is where someone is allowed to run up a debt such as getting drugs on credit, to such a point where they can't pay it off; then the pressure (threat of violence either to the inmate, or to his family on the streets) is applied, and it becomes a "put out, or be hurt" proposition. In Max. joints, the victim is often "used" for awhile, then "run off the yard" (chased into p.c.), or traded to another group, when the users tire of him. The process of turning someone into a punk is called "turning out."

On January 27, 1993, I was what is called checked to see if I was a strong white inmate. I had to fight 4 different inmates back to back. I can not fight real good. (I have a bad left leg.) My cellie allowed this to happen. At rack time, my cellie and I fought. (He is 200 lbs and muscled. A stocky inmate that is known to fight 2 or more at one time and win.) He knocked me out and I came to while he was sexually assaulting me anally. He told me if I told anyone he would kill me. . . . I was moved to another pod, where I was sold as a piece of meat. I was sold to the highest bidder by the white inmates. I was sold to a black inmate named Gray Top. From February to the end of April I was forced to perform all types of sexual acts. I was rented out to other black inmates. I finally went to staff and refused to go back to my cell. The indangerment paperwork was filed. Classification was ran and I was put in safekeeping for 2 years. . . . I was shipped to another unit from Colfield unit on July 14, 1995. I was housed in closed custody where I was the only white inmate on my wing out of 48 inmates! I was in 13 fights in 14 days. I was sexually assaulted by 4 inmates (black). I went to staff. I was shipped to the Mark W. Stiles unit. I refused to go to my housing assignment due to I was being put back into a life threatening condition. So I started to threaten the first black inmate I came into contact with. I was put in prehearing detention. That's September 15, 1995. I started possessing a weapon and threatening black inmates. That was the only way staff officials would keep me locked up in a single cell.

Another game is to get an inmate indebted to an inmate give them a week to have your money when they don't it automatically doubles. Then the next week you take it out in trade. Even if the new comer has someone out there that will send the money, by the time they write and the money is sent and posted it's too late anyway. This way some will fight some will feel obligated. [The games] are endless but ever so real.

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Another type of coerced sex is for the dominant party to first let the intended victim know that he wants to have sex with him, then begin to wear the victim down by constantly leering at him in ways that let the victim know what's on his mind. Psychologically the victim eventually begins to believe he is a homosexual and no longer resists. It's similar to how a sexual abuse victim, afterward, begins to believe there is something wrong with them that caused the abuse to happen, which causes them to accept part of the responsibility for their abuse.

Strategies for

Preventing Prisoner

Rape

:
Prisoners or inmates have severe reservations about reporting sexual advances. Inmates are afraid prison officials will not protect them from retaliation if they report incidents. In addition, many inmates doubted that prison officials would take reports of sexual violence seriously.
Free Govt. Report:Strategies to Prevent Prison Rape

Report on

Rape in

Federal & State

Prisons in the US


Inmate physical attributes, age, nature of offense, sexual orientation, lack of gang support, extortion vulnerability, common characteristics of victims and perpetrators, victims of inmate on inmate prison rape...
Free Govt. Report: Federal and State Report on Rape

The guards just turn their backs. Their mentality is the tougher, colder, and more cruel and inhuman a place is, the less chance a person will return. This is not true. The more negative experiences a person goes through, the more he turns into a violent, cruel, mean, heartless individual, I know this to be a fact.

To begin let me tell you a little about myself. I am 32 yrs of age, I'm an American of African decent. I'm currently serving a 5 yr sentence for trafficking in stolen property . . . . I feel I should also add because it has bearing on some of the observations I'll share with you, I'm gay and have been since I was aware of my sexuality . . . .

Let me say I believe there are different levels or kinds of rape in prison. First, there is what I will refer to as "Bodily Force Rape" for lack of a better term. This is the kind of assault where one or more individuals attack another individual and by beating and subduing him force sex either anal or oral on him.

Second there is what I'll call Rape By Threat. An example of this would be, when an individual tells a weaker individual that in order to avoid being assulted by the individual who's speaking he must submit to his demand for sex.

Third and by far the most common is what I'll call using a persons fears of his situation to convince him to submit to sex. I will give you my observations on all these types of assult shortly; but first I feel I should tell you the people most at risk. And they are white males usualy slight of build and physicaly atractive, between 17-25 yrs of age. Please note although other ethnic groups such as young blacks and Hispanics have sufferd these indignities it happens to them far far less often than to young whites . . . . .

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The last form of "rape," using a persons fear against him. Among inmates there is a debate wheather this is in fact rape at all. In my opinion it is in fact rape. Let me give you an example of what happens and you decide. Example: A new inmate arrives. He has no funds for the things he needs such as soap, junk food, and drugs (there are a great deal of drugs in prisons). Someone befriends him and tells him if he needs anything come to him. The new arrival is some times aware, but most times not, that what he is receiving has a 100% interest rate that is compounded weekly. When the N.A. is in deep enough the "friend" will tell him he can cover some of his debt by submitting to sex. This has been the "friend's" objective from the begining. To manuver the N.A. into a corner where he's vulnerable. Is this rape? I think it is.

In my view the perpetrator of rape is an angry man. He lacks power and decides to steal it from others through assault . . . . In my observation, the more oppressive the system the higher the incidents of assaultive behavior in general. This had been evident over the years here as we fell under the control of various wardens with a variety of concepts of how to treat prisoners (and staff). Fair and objective treatment seems to create a less-assaultive environment.

The victims I'm familiar with seem to have one thing in common, they each had some quality or trait that was interpreted by their rapists as saying, "I am vulnerable." . . . . The traits that seem to communicate "vulnerability" seem to be traits that are consistent with feminine and/or childlike qualities. These include passivity, being slight of stature, and probably most common, being young . . . . Conversely, a person who demonstrates aggressive qualities, or confidence and self assurance is not attractive to the perpetrator. One thing I hear people tell a young guy is to "get some ugly on him." That means growing facial hair, getting some tattoos, and looking unkempt.

On maximum security wings, blacks and whites don't even sit together. The Blacks have there own benches and the Mexicans have theres and the Whites if there are enough to fight for one has theres. And if a white went to sit on a Black bench he would be jumped on ditto for blacks and Mexicans. Even in celling assignments the whites will refuse to live with a colored or a mexican because there cellie who has friends will steel there stuff or they will jump on the white dude so they refuse to live with them. And if a white dude kicks it or talks to blacks or mexicans a lot of the whites will run court on him (court means an ass whoppin). Its the same for blacks and mexicans. . . . The whites hate the Blacks and Mexicans because those two races have a lot of people in here and take advantage of us by making the small and week ones ride or turn them out, and the big ones have to fight all the time. If you come in here as a non-racial white man and you fight for your proporty more than likely when you leave you'll be a full fledge KKK member! There are a lot of racial groups here and with the way the whites get treated, they get mixed up in those groups and become haters. Prison is the best recruiting ground the white power movement has!

Any [inmates] coerced into sex? In the interest of getting my own abuse to stop, and being extremely selfish, concerned with my own survival I can name three guys I personally coerced into sexual relations. Not with me, but with my own man to stop the abuse I was receiving from him. Selfish I know but my first concern is my own well-being. It's that kind of world in here.

It is different here in maximum security as opposed to population in medium or minimum. The power structure here is based on strength, reputation, and sheer extreme violence. If your a tough convict and will poke an eye out or stab someone on the drop of a hat then you won't be bothered unless you owe drug money or something. Then the gangs will step in and its difficult to battle 10 guys at a time. The gang situation is ugly and out of hand. Mainly its the nazis and the black disciples. If you have drugs and connections meaning "back-up," then your pretty powerful. And the ones who sell the dope usually run with the gangs. But here in maximum, as I stated above, it comes down to raw brutality.

To answer your questions, "lifers" are the most powerful within the prisoner hierarchy. This includes those prisoners who are serving life sentences and life without possibility of parole, as well as the older prisoners who have spent a majority of life in prison. Their power comes from respect; they are the most respected, thus are the most influencial. They have the most experience in prison life and usually don't have too much to lose as a consequence for their actions. So they are also the most feared because they are more likely to carry out certain acts.

>p>At the bottom of the hierarchy are sex offenders. They are the least respected and the most preyed upon. It does not matter the age of their victims . . . . These people usually become victims of sexual abuses by other prisoners to experience what they put their victims through. Usually when this is done a background check is conducted to gather as many facts as possible about the crime and efforts are made to re-enact the scene as similar as possible.

Also at the bottom of the hierarchy are the "snitches" or "rats." These people become victims of [assault] because of their acts in telling on other people. . . .

A "punk" is someone who is considered weak . . . . A boy is someone who really has no place and is just used for whatever he has to offer. They are also commonly referred to as "fuck-boys," since it's usually their sex that they are used for. A "turn-out" is someone who may or may not actually be gay, but they never had a homosexual experience outside of prison. However, when they come to prison they engage in sexual activities, though usually under heavy persuasion in the beginning . . . .

In essence, "respect" is the ultimate key to survival in prison life.

[T]wo things are considered when making a target for rape: 1. Appearance and sex appeal. 2. Finance. A young good looking guy who's family sends him money is the choice target for rape. In most cases the rape is only to break his spirit and make him submissive and open for financial scams. Sex becomes the control agent. There are other rapes occurring . . . . Targets are feminine guys, for sexual pleasure: proud guys . . . usually for a show of power or ego (confirming of manhood) by degrading another.

While being checked isn't deemed a sexual attack, if one doesn't show heart & breaks weak he will become anothers property. It would amaze you (as it did me) to see human beings bought & sold like shoes. Don't get me wrong, mexicans are turned out by mexicans & blacks by blacks & then sold to other races. A person who may be only paying protection to one group could be sold to another & be turned out. All races are guilty the white race is only more victimized because there are less whites in prison.

[B]ased on my experience the most common kind of rape in prisons today is the confidence rape which involves the rapist getting the confidence of the victim and then at some point turning on him and raping him. In my opinion the next in frequency would be the date rape where one inmate convinces another to double cell with him and then at some point rapes him. The next would be extortion rape followed by drugging rape and finally strong arm rape. The reason strong arm rape is the least frequent is because it is so much easier to rape an inmate using the other techniques. None of the types of prison rape described are rare. If anything they are rarely reported. Rape really is a big problem in prisons today. To give you an idea of how frequent rape is in prison, if victims would report every time they were raped in prison I would say that in the prison that I am in (which is a medium minimum security prison) there would be a reported incident every day.

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