Reddit, I return. IamA Prison Guard at a maximum security prison. A lot has changed in a year and believe me, I have seen some shit. AMA
Almost a year ago, I did a very successful AMA (http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/12ggv0/iama_prison_guard_at_a_maximum_security_prison/)
I've seen and done so much more and GOD will I answer you to the fullest extent that I can. For my personal safety, there are things I cannot answer in regard to location, prison layout, etc. However, you can still AMA
Thank you for Reddit gold!
I know you're not a psychiatrist, but what do you think are the most common mental illnesses? What can be done to improve treatment relatively cheaply?
Depression, PTSD, bi polar
Out of all the prisoners under your control, who committed the worst crime?
IN MY OPINION, the inmate who would jack off into his 6 month niece's baby bottles and feed them to her with milk.
As horrible as this is, it is unlikely to have done any harm the victim... Yet, anyway. I'm sure getting him away from the kid and decent people in general is right, but that's really the worst?
I dont define worst as "Oh he shot and killed his mother and burned her corpse". For me, worst is "why the fuck would you do that" type of things.
Have you ever been in a situation where you genuinely thought you were about to be killed?
Yes. My first year on the job i was stabbed with a number 2 pencil from behind and then the inmate tried to strangle me. I blacked out and woke up in our infirmary with scratches all over my faces and a goose egg on my head
Did you make anything in particular to the people who did it to you ?
No. Its just better to learn from things like that and do your best not to put yourself in a predicament like that if you can. I was a younger, Harry Hotshit of a guard then and thought I could handle something myself. Well, turned out it was a trap. I was grabbed from behind and had a number two pencil put though the base of my neck and down into my chest. Then I had the living dog snot beaten out of me and I was strangled before i went unconscious.
Are there any inventive folks? One of the guys I went to high school with was telling me he's seen 3 ways to make an AM radio with no traditional radio parts. (Hes a guard at a private prison in Texas)
Oh yes. i like seeing the furniture they can make out of nothing but playing cards. Cigar box guitars are awesome. Newspaper crossbow was a scary find, and a mace made of window putty and number 2 pencils was very scary find.
What would you say is the best strategy for someone to make it through prison without getting raped/killed/seriously injured?
Suicide. Add fights to your list there and 1 of those 4 things is going to happen to you in jail
Anyone try to escape during the year?
We had one try to sneak out buried in a pile of laundry. Little did he know about our catcher system in place for the baskets, because when he was dumped, he was screaming for help because he was buried under probably something close to 150 pounds of laundry bags.
Have you ever believed an inmate to be undeserving of their sentence? Why or why not?
No. Where I am, everyone has been through the appeal process so many times, there's no hope left for them. I don't feel bad for them anymore. When i first started, yeah, my thoughts were manipulated, sure, they are good at that. Anymore, I'd give more than half of them their lethal injection myself. These people aren't in Maximum security prison for just anything
What is the number one, WEIRDEST thing you've ever seen happen?
Man cutting slits into his penis to shove dominos inside to make his penis "ribbed for his pleasure"
Haha I read dominos as doritos
What has changed in the last year?
I've been promoted to a sergeant. I'm going through a divorce, I've seen a lot more insane inmates, I've seen someone cut his testicles out with a ballpoint pen. Could you be a bit more specific?
Uhhh... Am I the only one that read the part about a dude using a Bic to severe his dangle bangles?
No, that is correct. He wasn't happy about being in solitary confinement for threatening to rape one of our nurses. Another inmate "fished" him a pen and well, I got to walk into what I can only describe as a "murder scene of blood and body fluids" with him flushing one of his newly extracted testicles down the toilet.
I'm just picturing him acting like a bratty kid "if I can't play with my ball no one can!"
Oh man...my gut hurts from laughing now.
Off the cuff theory: he felt guilty for letting his sex drive get him in trouble and decided to "fix" his problem. That or maybe he knew some other inmates wouldn't approve of him threatening to rape nurses and they would have done it to him when he got out, so he did it himself.
That or he was off his nut...
Can you see any correlation between your job and marshal law? Anything corrupt about the place?
Many, if not all of the guards where I work are very professional. We have a uniform code of conduct that is extremely strict and monitored very well. Corruption is dealt with swiftly and severely. A few have slipped through the cracks, but once discovered, they are usually terminated the next day.
Who is your favorite inmate for whatever reason?
An old man who we refer to as Howard Huge. He's probably 75 or so and no more than 5'3, 140 pounds, but he has the biggest cock you'll ever see. He enjoys just walking from one side of the unit to the next naked making everyone laugh when he flexes like Hulk Hogan.
No, hes in for robbing a bank and pointing a Smith and Wesson 500 at the nice little clerk lady's face
I see what you did there
How old was he when he committed the crime?
Was only 5 years ago
Do the so-called hotel prisons of Norway, Denmark, etc. that work hard at rehabilitation seem better than our that just make matters worse in most cases?
State or Federal?
I think better. Locking up our problems and not dealing with them is counter productive. This country is very "prison happy". My facility, yeah, those guys need to be there, but lower end prisons, county and private, need to stop being money grubbing entities. They treat inmates like sub-humans a lot of times and no one deserves that.
Have you ever developed a friendship or at least mutual respect with any inmates? If so why were they in and what was it about them that you were drawn to?
Mutual respect is what keeps me alive
1) Do you worry or care about getting sued by inmates?
2) Are there any repercussions for prison guards if their actions result in a successful civil rights suit against them/the prison/the state?
- I am told I am being sued on a daily basis. I do my job properly and professionally, so no, not really.
2.There are very few and far between lawsuits against the guards. Where I work, we have a very uniform code of conduct that many of the guards keep to very well. If however such an incident occurred, yes, there would be administrative punishment administered, usually in the form of a suspension or termination.
Hmm. Thats a tough one. You get to pick. 1) "Dougie" the shit eater, or 2) Kim Il, The "painter"
Give us the painter please, shit eaters are a dime a dozen
Kim was a young Asian woman in our women's ward who, for lack of a better term was "Fucking insane" As the sergeant I had to lead a cell extraction on her when she broke her light off her wall. When we went in, there was a most peculiar smell that no one could recognize. When we turned around, there was a beautiful picture painted on the back of her door like you'd see in a Chinese restaurant (http://www.hennydonovanmotif.co.uk/images/birds-and-butterflies-etc/large-cranec2b.jpg) something like that. It would have been a magnificent piece of art, if only she hadn't used period blood to paint it with.
Well, more like this Id say http://i.imgur.com/QCR5n.gif
Can you recommend a show or movie that accurately portrays life as a prison guard? Not even something that is solely focused on it, just something that is representative
Lockup did a very good job of showing long term prisons as opposed to short term. For shorter sentences or minor crimes, Jail is pretty close. They have to deal with a lot of people coming right off the streets who may be drunk or high. Inmates in my jail are mostly institutionalized. The few "kids" who step out of line get back in it very quick. It doesn't take much to get stabbed there. One inmate refused to give his bread to another inmate and when we arrived on the unit all i could hear was the sound of his shank clanging off the cement floor with each pierce through his body.
If you were in his position would you have given the bread or not? Giving it is kind of a sign of weakness, could lead to more abuse, not giving it leads to immediate death?
Me? I would take protective custody in jail for no other reason than I am a loner and would want to be away from as many people as possible. If i was in this situation, no i wouldn't given it up, but as soon as he asked, i would have swung my tray at him or been on him to fight first because that kind of question only means they are looking for a fight.
I don't know why someone would downvote you for a question on an AMA. Have an upvote.
People will be people.
Let's say I'm a normal security prisoner and I want to try to escape.
What's my best bet?
Nice try dad
You don't have to tell me how, but if you had to escape your prison, do you think you could?
And on the same note, We have had inmates who are in transitional housing (People getting ready to go home) Take off on us. They don't make it far, we have a secondary fence a mile around our facilities But some will attempt escape simply to get new charges and stay in prison. Some men are so institutionalized, that they fear the outside World.
So, how exactly is prison rehabilitating inmates if they don't want to go outside?
It isn't. I already said that. We lock our problems away in this country, we don't deal with them
You have some amazing stories and I agree with you about the prison system. Here in California it's crazy how overcrowded the prisons with a high population of non-violent drug offenders. It would be amazing if you would write a book or something to help open people's eyes. You're intelligent, literate....so why not? You're in a position to make a difference in the world if you wanted to.
I doubt I would do more than piss off a few bureaucrats
No. There is more razor wire around our buildings than I've ever seen anywhere else. Sometimes I take a work crew with me to pick the birds out of the lines That fly through and get chopped up. It is absolutely vicious.
Have you or your peers ever taken advantage of the inmates?
Nah. On top of being illegal, these people have nothing to offer us but funny stories.
How did you get into the job you're in now? Any schooling required? Weirdest items you have found in a cell? Thanks man!
Bachelors degree or 5 years of law enforcement experience, which I had working in hospital security. Weirdest item? Used Paper-mache dildo complete with paper spikes for that "extra sensual" ribbing.
oh hey hospital security buddy. Also did it for 5 years. After doing 5 years of that shit, I don't see why you would go to a prison. It's like the same shit but worse for probably slightly more money.
I was making 11.71, now I make 28.34
WHat are your thoughts on the show "Orange is the New Black?" I've heard that it is not accurate at all.
I have stopped watching prison programs on TV all together. No point in leaving work to come home and watch it on TV anymore.
Realistically how long of a sentence do you think you could handle in prison? Does it depend on your classification? I can imagine minimum/low security wouldn't be that "hard"
Me personally, I wouldn't want to do more than a year in jail at any classification. Where i am, I would want out ASAP. Low class....hmm.Taking my first statement into consideration, no more than 3-5
Do you like Coheed and Cambria?
Love is a better word
What was the strangest thing u seen smuggled and how did they do it?
Nothing really strange, but I still wonder how the one Hispanic guy got 5 PERFECTLY intact loose cigarettes up his ass without them breaking or even remotely crumbling
Why would you smoke that after smuggling it in?
Smoke em if you got em
Given that you've seen some shit: about how much of that shit has been thrown at you?
I've taken 3 or four face fulls of shit, 2 cups of piss and one or two handfuls of cum to my uniform
There are some people who would pay for the honor...
2 girls one cup-type girls?
What do you do when this happens?
Usually motherfuck everything around me and curse at the heavens
What happens to the fluid-throwers?
Did any of them tell you why they threw fluids at you?
On behalf of humans, I must apologise to you for this. This and your no-good wife. Not sure which is worse.
What is the weirdest/ most disturbing thing you have been bribed with?
I was offered 1 blowjob and a cup of coffee if I gave an inmate an extra tray for lunch.
This has been very informative and partially entertaining so far. Thanks for sharing!
Do you think your job has something to do with your divorce? How many other guards who work with you and see the same sort of things stay in lasting relationships? Have you ever encountered an inmate that you deep down really felt was innocent?
Heh. I'm sure she would say different, but I dont really. She wanted to "stay home with our kids more". So she went down to part time work, 2-4 days a week. i obliged, trying to be a good husband and family man. Well, money got tight and I had to start working doubles to make ends meet because she was happy with the kids and they were too, so i let it ride out. Well, turns out she was just dumping them off at her mothers house while i was working for 16 hours a day sometimes 3 or 4 times a week and cheating on me with a co worker. I hate her now for what shes done to the kids. her lies and deception hurt them more than it hurt me. There is a poem that My dad read to me when i was younger, and heres a link to a reading of it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21Y8tGw8sxE).
The line "If you can watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools" has stuck with me through this. I'll make it, through this, I've got the heart for it. But do they? It's things like that i fear more than being beaten or stabbed or killed in prison.
He was a good guy. Smart, witty, tough. Everything a man should be
How often do inmates kill eachother?
And have you ever had to deal with a large riot?
One large riot with 2 deaths. Often? Ehhhhh, that's tough. Not as often as you'd think, but they have defiantly picked up in the last year. Peoples families are working less, they cant send them as much money and visits get spaced out more. It gets to them and they lash out, sometimes horrifically. I've seen a few in the last year. One we were picking severed organs out of the cell piece by piece. The guy made what we call a "slayer". Its got one purpose, if you can guess it. They get a piece of metal, usually from a bunk and take it to the shop to have a 12-16 inch piece of metal bed slat corkscrewed into a giant wine opener. I never want to see that again.
Damn that's fucking brutal, can't imagine what its like to go to work everyday knowing i might run into that.
There was more outside than inside, lets just say that
What's the nastiest event you've ever seen in the prison?
Guys head split open from crown to chin after being thrown into the side of a steel table from the top teir of a housing unit
Is it pretty much true that any smaller, younger inmate will be the "property" of someone stronger, and therefore someone like that should engage in "protective pairing?"
Smaller inmates become the soldiers of the bigger ones. RAPE doesnt happen as often as "willing" (ahem) sex does, but doing jobs for them (collecting debts, stabbing someone) keeps them safe. Jail is like chess, the kings send the pawns to the front lines first.
"Willing (ahem)" meaning intimidated into it, then? I'd imagine that to be worse in a way, because the "property" wouldn't be able to claim to have been forced into it?
Can you briefly describe what determines whether an inmate gives to or takes orders from other inmates, whatever the orders might be? Is it pretty much what everyone thinks, i.e. gangs and size/strength?
I guess it all depends on whether or not they want that kind of life in jail. Most inmates are taken straight to the boss of the block and asked "what do you wanna be when you grow up" Thats our jail's code for it. The soldier inmates inititate them, by some means * ahem *, and they go from there, really.
Ever been attacked by a inmate?
Yes, I answered that down below before I saw your question.
This sounds like a dangerous job and I admire you for doing a great job.
If it's not confidential, can you tell me what the difference is between prisoners there and prisoners in normal prisons? How many people are falsely put into that prison? Finally, is there any special training you require to work at a maximum security prison versus a normal prison? Thank you for this AMA.
Really, i have no way of answering the falsely imprisoned question. Special training? a lot more IPC work. Being able to get down to an inmates level and speak mutually with them is invaluable
Whats the strangest weapon you have seen in a prison?
Texas hornets. Remember folding a piece of paper and slingshoting it with a rubber band at school? Shove a staple through the paper now and dip the end in feces
Have you ever seen or heard of Orange is the New Black? And if you have, do you think that it is an accurate representation of prison life?
Realistically, no TV show is really a GOOD representation of it. Inmates show off for cameras constantly, and so do the guards. 75% of the time, nothing happens, but when it does, it does hard.
Have you ever seen two guys kissing in prison? That'd be weird
I have SMELLED rape. Kissing? I wish that's all it was
What does rape smell like?
A morbidly obese man sweating after an hour of hardcore aerobics coupled with feces.
This is probably a stupid question, but if someone is getting raped repeatedly, can they get protective custody?
Yes. All an inmates has to do for PC is ask and give a reason, honest or not.
That's the first thing I would request after stepping foot into the place.
I don't blame you.
Thanks for doing the AMA, read the last one, it's great to see your insights.
So many questions, but I'll spare you until the next AMA for all of them. 1) do you think decriminalizing drug offenses would unburden the prison system of people who are in jail (say, for marijuana, when it's legal in some states) yet become better criminals by doing time, 2) there are stories of judges sentencing heavily and receiving kick backs from privately operated facilities; is private incarceration a good thing or bad?
1) I am PRO marijuana legalization, So legalizing that would, sure. 2) Whether good or bad, it is necessary at this point. States are running out of room to house inmates. We jail entirely too many people on so many levels in this country mainly because of money. Do the judges see it? Not usually.
Thanks! What would you like to see (as offences) removed to reduce pupulous in jails? I know you don't end up in supermax for jaywalking...
Public drunkenness is a touchy subject, but if someone is walking home from a bar drunk because they didn't want to drive, they could be arrested which i think is ridiculous.
What country do you live in?
What percentage of inmates are:
Stone cold evil from the day they get there
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