Note to self - don't go to prison.
"The first day I was assigned to a new unit after being sentenced for ninety days. I got put in a 5 man cell. It wasn't my first time locked up and had been in the jail a few weeks so I wasn't too nervous. The guys were cool to me all evening, all 4 had done time before in much worse prisons. They were all playing cards and I didn't know the game so I sat on my bunk reading. They started off saying weird cryptic intimate stuff, random stuff regarding Vaseline and who was cute on the block, etc. It ramps up over the course of an hour, then they start playing strip poker. Meanwhile, I've been hearing every word they say and studiously ignoring it. They got bored with being subtle and began saying awful stuff about attacking each other. I ignore everything, while secretly getting scared out of my mind that they're going to do something to me. Eventually all four got up (shirtless) and they trapped me on my top bunk and started grabbing at me. I yelled "What the HECK?!" and they collapsed in laughter and spent the next forty-eight hours telling everyone who would listen."
"I was a county inmate being held in a federal hold pod in a northern Utah county jail. It was my first and only charge (misdemeanor theft) and I ended up doing 14 months for it..two months while awaiting court process and twelve months when probation was revoked for leaving the state. Anyhow, the place was a mess. You had a sprinkling of short time county inmates and a whole bunch of people awaiting huge federal sentences. My cell mate, for example, was indicted for his involvement in 99 gang related murders. There was a large population of white supremacists, some of whom I would play cards with when I first got there. I had no idea of prison lingo, nothing. Smash cut to a week in and we are playing spades in the common area with everyone else. The scariest man I have ever seen in my life smacks down the queen of spades on me to win. I laugh and say 'You stupid punk! Good game.' You could hear a pin drop in that place. He looks at me and calmly says 'If my own mother called me a punk, I would slit her throat and watch her die.' I had no idea what to do and simply stuttered my way through telling him I had never been to jail and did not understand the gravity of what I said. I then apologized. He sat for what seemed like hours and the room stayed silent. He then said 'apology accepted' and we started another game. My cell mate later asked me if I knew how close I got to being killed that night."
"My family came to visit me on Christmas day the first year I was in. I was so ashamed that I had a little breakdown the next day and punched the cinder block wall inside my cell. One of the guards invited me to come talk to him. I made the mistake of thinking he was a friend and was talking about the meaning of life and why things happened. He decided he thought I was suicidal, which I wasn't. The next day I was shipped off to a maximum security prison in the upper peninsula of Michigan, stripped down with nothing on and given a Kevlar smock to wear. They keep the temperature down at 60 degrees which means that you have to stay huddled in a corner to conserve body heat. Because this was observation I wasn't allowed to have anything. Nothing to read, watch, etc. Cold with nothing on for an entire week. If you'd like to see what this is like, turn your thermostat down, then take all your clothes off, and sleep on the floor of your bathroom with the light on for 6 days straight. No showering either. Wasn't offered a chance to clean myself. That's how I spent New Years 2007. Observation is not some kind of psychological treatment. It's punishment and mental torture. Sleeping and singing to yourself is all you can do. Too cold to do anything else. F*cking brutal. Now I try to go out of the country for New Year's Eve every year."
"While waiting in jail to go to the PDC there were 5 guys from my block that liked making people fight. They made up stories and stole things then would act like your buddy and say they found your stuff in this guy's bunk. I was warned about this. They finally targeted me and this guy twice my size. Luckily he was warned too. They stole my deodorant which is a prize where I was and put it in his bunk. They told me where it was and I acted mad. Then we all went to his cell. The big guy looked at me and I said 'you stole from me, no one steals from me,' then I winked at him and begin lightly slapping him. He laughed and slapped lightly back. We both were yelling. Everyone laughed and I got my deodorant back. The 5 dudes saw we knew what they were up to and moved on to other new inmates. Even though everything worked out I was secretly pooping and wetting myself to oblivion in my mind."
"I'll start with the story and end with advice. I was in about a month at this point, knew everyone on my pod. We all get along great. We don't get many new people because of the severity of crimes to come to this pod. The jail normally keep the sketchiest inmates in PC because they can't survive in general population. Every once in a while they will try to sneak one in because of over crowding or whatever. They rarely make the 30 yard walk to their cell because information is quickly passed around and newspapers and the local news are available. Anyway, one day a guy everyone saw on the news for assaulting a little kid comes in the door. Someone instantly yells 'gazelle!' (Code for Pedo, because they are in the lion's den). Everyone runs out of their cells and starts staring, yelling, throwing stuff. Telling this dude to get the heck out and go to PC. Well he just ignores everyone and walks to his cell. After a few minutes, a few guys run in there, drag him out to the common area and give him a vicious beating. I remember watching and thinking 'no human being could survive this.' You could hear bones snapping and the dude's muffled screams for help through the blood. He died on the way to the hospital. It was horrible. Anyway my advice for you going in. Keep out of other peoples business. Treat everyone with respect, even if they don't deserve it. Don't gamble. Just keep your head down and do them months man."
"I can answer as an ex-corrections officer. I was 4 1/2 years in Cofield Unit in Texas. I think the worst thing I ever saw was a guy who was doing it with a light bulb. One of those little 60 watt light bulbs. Anyway the guy stuck it up his butt, glass end first and couldn't get it out. He asked the guards to take him to medical and I was on the another team (he was in segregation). We get to medical and sit for a while, and next thing I know the guy is screaming and blood and poop is running everywhere and he just passes out. We ended up having to life flight him out to the closest hospital where they opened him up and rinsed his but out. I was in the room the whole time. I'm still traumatized."
I suppose seeing people getting taken advantage of all of the time, and then not caring was the worst... New guys coming in and getting ripped off on trades and stuff. People with social/developmental issues just getting their food taken from them. Also, the psychology of people without goals gets weird. What was worst was just becoming part of that world. There are so many people there that have their rights taken away from them on a regular basis and don't care anymore. They choose to place value on being able to make others fear them. They stop thinking about the world beyond the walls and just get all wrapped up in the weird culture of the place. There was a day I was feeling proud of myself because I was running around organizing contraband trades, setting up poker games, and owning things like hardcover books and the only dice in the place... in that moment of pride I realized I had started to lose my mind...It's honestly hard to remember the months in there because most of the time NOTHING'S F*CKING HAPPENING. Nothing. You've read until you can't stand it. You've slept all you can. You can't play cards cuz your celly is sleeping...So you stare at the ceiling and wait. It's so weird to realize you're doing the equivalent of 'time-out' for months. You're not waiting for 5 minutes. Not waiting 5 hours. You're waiting for a day that is months away. Just waiting."
"I ended up staying for two nights in a jail (weed-related) and met some crazy southern weirdo. He ended up telling me all about his life as a sailor and the crazy adventures he had. We eventually got to talking about what we were in for. He was a white dude with a black wife and apparently there was a crotchety old black neighbor in their trailer park who disapproved of the interracial thing and would constantly harass them. Not big things, but stuff that ticked him off. After two years he (understandably) had had enough of this guy's stuff. This is where the story gets fuzzy. He tells me what he told the police is that he heard the guy messing around near his car in the driveway, got a bb weapon, and fired a bunch of rounds into the air to scare the guy off. The neighbor called the police who arrested him for excessive force or something. Then, he smirked and told me the real story. What actually happened was he fired AT the guy with a REAL AR-15 assault weapon. When he realized the amount of trouble he just got himself into, he took the flashlight of his weapon and attached it to his bb weapon, then hid the weapon under the floor of his mobile home and let the cops arrest him."
"In September I went to jail for a day because I didn't have enough money to pay at my arraignment. I was put in a holding cell with 5-6 other dudes who were waiting to either see the judge, or get transferred to Wayne County's jail. While I was hanging out in there, I spoke to a black guy who looked very similar to Michael Clarke Duncan from The Green Mile. He told me he was in jail due to contempt of court. When I asked him to elaborate, he told me how he took a bus to his sentencing as he didn't have a car. In Dearborn's courthouse, you're not allowed to bring any cell phones with you, as they must be kept in a car or what have you. He didn't want to leave his outside, so he actually put it in his butt. Yeah. He put his actual phone up his butt. So he's in court, waiting for the other people to get sentenced, or whatever, when his phone starts to go off. Loudly. Ticked off the judge stops the session and yells 'who's phone is going off?' Black dude raises his hand and the judge tells him to stand up. 'Get your phone and turn it off immediately!' he screams. Slowly, the guy reaches into the back of his pants...He got sentenced 10 days in jail for that."
"Did 13 months in various places across Louisiana. It's not assaults and shanks and learning to sell insurance like on Oz. There is some crazy stuff though. The worst thing I saw had to have been when I was in this nightmare that just had these huge dorms. No cells, no dayroom, just a big room with a bunch of racks. These two dudes got into it over what they call a 'little boy.' Not just a gathering inmate, but one that either wants to or thinks he has to to be a punk. Anyway, these two dudes are going at it over whose punk he is. One thing leads to another, shoes get put on, rec gets called, butt gets kicked. Guy on the receiving end doesn't take too kindly to it. Takes a 2 quart plastic container and fills it with grits, milk, oatmeal, powdered milk, glue... Whatever he can find, and starts microwave this stuff. He cooks it and cooks it and cooks it. Guy isn't even acting weird, just cooking a meal. Finally, he gets done and walks back to his rack. As he's passing the other dudes cut, which is the row in between two beds, he chucks this sh*t right in the guys face. Sticks to him like napalm. Melts the dudes face off. One goes to the hole, one goes to medical."
"I did 3 1/2 years in Texas prisons. I believe that the worst story I can recall was my first full day in a 'State Jail' facility (used as a transition center for up to 2 years before one is sent to a real "prison" in Texas). A guy came up to me asking if I smoke. I didn't but thought, why not? So he told me to head to the gym when that time came later that afternoon. We went to the gym and fired up a smoke while we walked around the basketball court. As we were walking around the court, we approached the 'universal gym' machine where a variety of people were using the various pieces to work out. The guy who offered me the smoke advised me to follow him to the other side of the basketball court and to stay away from the universal gym. A few minutes later a guy sat down and leaned back to do some bench press when four guys grabbed him (one on each arm and one on each leg). Two other guys pull out cans of chili (or refried beans as both were available) in socks and proceed to hammer the guy in the face. The guy at the bench press had his face completely caved in. All I could think was 'what have i gotten myself into...'"
"12 months on the inside. Very first day in Prison, VERY FIRST DAY, I was in line for supper and this big guy comes up behind me, squeezes my butt and whispers in my ear "are your panties wet." Scared out of my mind, I turned around, and the guy jumped back and said in a friendly tone 'Oh my mistake mate thought you were someone else' and left the line."
"A prisoner called into a local radio show. He said they once let a group of them watch a movie. The movie was some horror movie. He said when the killer snuck up behind some girl and slit her throat, the guy next to him said 'that's not what it looks like.' (Source)