My short bio: I worked for a prison(correctional facility) in Eloy, AZ, between 2007 and 2010. It would have been a great job if it were just me and the inmates. I mainly worked night shift, but did so much overtime there, that officers and inmates alike wondered if I ought to just start paying for my own cell there.

The one I worked at was often called 'the level three prison with level five inmates'. They would take level fives from California and downgrade them so they could be housed in ours, because money.

I was a firm, fair, and consistent guard, and realized that all people in there were still human. Realized that each one of them was someone's little boy. Inmates cried when I quit. They came to me, hugged me, and cried. Some begged me not to leave.

Now, enjoy this very ordinary, not particularly interesting AMA!

My Proof: Since getting so many requests to do this, I've searched for my old badge. Have not found it yet, but will try to find it in the morning when it is less disruptive. My only proof, currently, is the fact that I have no reason to lie about this. Who knows, maybe one of you were a former inmate there and will recognize some of my exploits. I found my old insurance card during my search a few hours ago. It's not ideal, but it's a start.

EDIT: Headed to the store! I'll check back in a half hour or so!

EDIT: 7/27 at 10:32 AM I'm not ignoring any of you. When my week calms down a little I'll reply to y'all!

Comments: 234 • Responses: 66  • Date: 

thisguystaint36 karma

how are inmates able to get so much contraband into prisons?

Mightyskunk58 karma

Visitors and paid off guards. An inmate is willing to pay you 200 bucks for a pack of cigs, what do you say? An inmate will pay you a thousand for some weed, what do you say?

I, myself, said no. It didn't cause negative feelings on either side.

BaronBifford15 karma

I think the trouble starts when a guard takes bribes and does favors, then tries to back out of the relationship.

Mightyskunk14 karma

Hell yes.

eds16092 karma

Is that really the going rate?

Mightyskunk2 karma

I have no idea. I know it's always been massively inflated.

federalcorrections-103 karma

Who cares what the "feelings" were. You sound like you were terrible at your job. People get killed over contraband. You don't care about the feelings, you care about safety.

Edit: Since this comment is getting downvoted quite hard, I'll try to clarify my point. If an inmate were to approach me to bring in contraband (which has happened multiple times), it can indicate that the inmate sees a vulnerability in the staff member (which is a red flag). Now if the officer's first thought is the feelings about the incident and not the safety concern, then that is also a red flag. I have personally seen staff stabbed because they refused to bring in contraband. Now if all staff did the right thing and said no, and then reported the incident, then we'd have a much safer environment for all.

This isn't about having a disregard for the well being of inmates by not having concern for them, it is about keeping EVERYONE safe. And while marijuana and tobacco may be benign substances on the outside, on the inside they are dangerous. So yes, op commenting only about the "feelings" is a major red flag.

Mightyskunk54 karma

You're right. I got stabbed due to my refusal. I am now dead.

twerkforlucifer33 karma

Have you ever been attacked by an inmate?

Mightyskunk80 karma

No, but I've been threatened with a weapon. It was night time, about ten. Everyone was locked up. An inmate in Charlie 1 was acting up, yelling. A report on the desk warned that he was violent.

I spoke with him through his door, and he told me to open the door so he could kill me. I called my captain, explained everything, and got the go ahead to open the door. By that time, it was common for me to do this, and no teams were assembled for me.

I opened the door, and told him to come take a walk with me. I turned my back, and started walking. He came up beside me, and asked why I didn't fight him. I said I promote peace. I just want to see him smile and be less afraid.

We sat at the tables in the common area talking until count. I walked him back to his cell, let him shut his own door, and said goodnight. By the time count was over, he was asleep.

I destroyed the toothbrush shank. He wasn't gonna be doing it again, and didn't need seg to teach him that.

He, in fact, did not do it again. Very well behaved.

willebrord56 karma

So an inmate asks to be released from his cell so that he might kill you, and you open the door without any support? This sounds either very brave or very unwise.

Mightyskunk36 karma

Oh, I've done far more foolhardy things than that. Again, my captain trusted me. He'd have lost his job if it went wrong, and yet he knew there was no risk.

federalcorrections-30 karma

The first few posts that I've by op seem to belong in /r/thathappened.

Mightyskunk53 karma

I love that anything awesome I did can just be dismissed because you've never left your basement.

Prid31 karma

Did you ever meet an inmate who you thought was innocent of the crime they were put away for?

Mightyskunk53 karma

Yeah. There was a Mexican guy that had been there two years and was going to be deported because one of his employees had weed on the job. He said the authorities didn't care that it wasn't his, that he was responsible. I believed.

There were, however, a shit-ton of bullshit stories floating around there.

Omega165331 karma

Do you keep in contact with inmates that have been released since you arrived?

Mightyskunk104 karma

I don't. Funny story, though.

You know how an inmate will start the sentence to a guard. "If I see you out on the street..."

We know how it usually ends.

The only times I've ever been told that, it ended with ..."I'm buying you a drink", or "I wanna smoke a blunt with you".

MoonMan22522 karma

Home many fights have you broken up?

Mightyskunk43 karma

I dunno. Once a week, maybe? I've stopped at least one riot as well, just by talking to the right people.

santacruzer722 karma

Why'd you quit?

Mightyskunk43 karma

I quit because it was, as prisons are, a depressing place. I suffer from depression in the best of times.

Honestly, I enjoyed working there because the problems of the inmates distracted me from my own problems. I helped a lot of people. By the time I quit, however, it was all I could do to get out of bed.

If it had just been me and the inmates, I'd likely still be there. Management just hates to see problems solved. They want to see fights.

F-Izzy16 karma


Mightyskunk20 karma

Especially ones that have never been officers.

lvolt8 karma

I love the Sergeants and above that went from the academy to a cushy spot like training, did a month in custody before promoting, and talk down to everybody. Wait. That feeling isn't love.

Mightyskunk2 karma

It sure isn't.

merrderber11 karma

Hey man. My mum is in the exact same job and the job has affected her in ways that we never thought it would. Good on you for having the ability to walk away.

Mightyskunk16 karma

The money is what keeps you there. Over the years, the mental toll gets heavier and outweighs the money.

merrderber14 karma

Yer my mum is still there for the money but honestly, my family would rather have her quit because it really does take a mental toll.

Edit: Grammar

Mightyskunk16 karma

Here's hoping she quits, and can stay financially stable.

justdoe2 karma

Were you hated by management because you were anti violence and they were pro?

Mightyskunk2 karma

I was anti either extreme while they were anti moderate. Either be super nice our super mean, and I just wanted to be fair.

BaronBifford1 karma

You are saying here that working in prison was both enjoyable and depressing. This does not compute.

Mightyskunk8 karma

For many people, drugs, alcohol, and the club scene is both enjoyable and depressing.

ButHagridImJustHarry20 karma

Were there ever other guards who abused their power? Do you have any tales about power-freaks or manipulative people? It seems like the type of job that might unfortunately attract such people, given the scope of control that they are given over others.

Mightyskunk22 karma

That type of job does attract those people, and they do wield that power like a weapon. I've had to defend so many of them. I often take them into an office and have it out with them away from inmates. It got to the point that dickhead officers were starting to be nice because they'd dealt with me.

I got two power trippers fired. Fuck them.

ButHagridImJustHarry15 karma

What sort of things would they do?

Mightyskunk19 karma

They would take out all of their anger and unrequited lust for power on inmates. Instead of asking an inmate to come to the door, they'd yell it. Or, instead of handing the inmate his mail, they'd chuck it on the ground to make the inmate pick it up.

They'd threaten to report any little thing as insubordination.

Semper_fi_guy20 karma

Who's the most memorable inmate you can remember?

Mightyskunk34 karma

Y'know, it's sad, but the most memorable one was the worst one. He was one of those Political Hero types, and kept it in his head that everything nice I did was just a trick. Other inmates got pissed at him when he'd trash talk me while I was making my rounds. He is one of three inmates I yelled at. After two years of dealing with him, I'd finally had enough. I explained, very loudly, that I wasn't trying to make him miserable, that I was trying to make it nicer in there for everyone. That he needed to stop rocking the boat.

He was such a dick.

burgerblaster16 karma

Were there any times that you feared for your life?

Mightyskunk23 karma

A few, at the beginning. I was nobody, just another uniform. The inmates hated me, just like they hate any uniform. Within a few months, I became very comfortable with things.

Noiblade14 karma

Don't know if you've answered these so i'll ask

1.Did you have a favorite inmate/make real good friends with one?

2.Do you miss any of them in particular? Why if so?

3.What's the worst thing you've seen happen?

Mightyskunk27 karma

  1. There were many inmates that I would have called friends in there. Many that I would have kept contact with on the outside had I gotten contact info.

  2. I don't miss any of them in particular, but I do feel a little sad that I can't be their sounding board anymore. I was all some of them had.

  3. There was a knife fight in Delta that left a dude with his back wide open. I predicted that fight, with those guys, too. Nobody listens.

I also saw management almost send a small weak female officer on a hospital run with a massive inmate who was faking being unconscious. I talked to my captain and begged for a change. They didn't send me, but they did send a big dude.

just_some_math_major14 karma

Would you say prison movies (I'm looking at you Shashank) provide a reasonable representation of rape culture in prison? Is it as bad as we're shown it to be?

Mightyskunk22 karma

Yep, except that in real life, there's a culture of guys that sell sex and look really ridiculously feminine. They also tended to have nice clothes, good food, and a waxed floor in their nicely outfitted cell.

fiendswithbenefits3 karma

Nice clothes in prison? Do you mean just name brand socks and underwear?

Mightyskunk3 karma

Brand name socks and underwear for sure. Also, nice shoes, sent in from outside. As for clothes? While most people's prison attire was ill-fitting, this person's were perfectly fitted.

killswithspoon14 karma

$0 copay? Get a load of this baller!

Mightyskunk14 karma

The insurance was incredible.

nimrodrool13 karma

Have you ever encountered a corrupt officer? If so what did you do about it?

Mightyskunk25 karma

There was an officer I really liked that got into a relationship with a female inmate. The dumb shithead got fired. Good riddance. I didn't have to do a thing.

I suspected others of bringing in things like cigs and drugs, but didn't care. For them, karma will come.

F-Izzy6 karma


Mightyskunk22 karma

Honestly, I do believe that male officers should be on male inmates and female officers should be on female inmates. Why make room for error where there needn't be?

I am, however, fully against having a seventy year old woman work in a prison. Equal Opportunity my ass. Otherwise, I've known some kick-ass women working among male inmates.

UniqueSnowflake0211 karma

Do you think prison turned any of the inmates into reoffenders? By that I mean; if their punishment had been for a shorter stretch or of a different type would that have reformed?

Conversely what's the most memorable turn around you witnessed? From someone who seemed a no hoper to somebody with a few prospects.

How severely was the facility impacted by lack of budget?

Mightyskunk13 karma

The facility wasn't impacted by a lack of budget at all. They got money per day, per inmate.

As for recidivism, probably pretty high for gang members. Surenos and MS 13s were never going to stop doing what they had been taught to do. They were still decent though.

As for no hopers turned prospects? None. I did see a few prospects turned no hopers though. Men who were going to college, straight 'A's, then one night of weed and booze. They go to prison, and it's all over. Scholarships wiped away.

mattb1011 karma

What happened if in mates ever tried attacking guards?

Mightyskunk19 karma

Sometimes the guard got beat up. I once had an inmate tell me he wanted to beat up my partner. I told hm if he did, that he'd have to deal with me. My partner was a little socially retarded, but a good guy. Simply didn't know how to handle inmates.

My partner never once got attacked, even when I wasn't around.

lordclark199610 karma

What do you think about privately owned prisons?

Mightyskunk15 karma

I worked for one. I believe they do long term damage got short term money.

Bnlol110 karma

What is the craftiest way a prisoner hid a weapon before?

Mightyskunk18 karma

I didn't find it, but read a report of a knife up someone's bum. Good giggle fodder. He ended up in seg.

F-Izzy10 karma


Mightyskunk11 karma

Some. Anyone who took the time to pay attention knew I was there to keep peace, not be a fish. Inmates didn't ask me for favors.

TheShittyBeatles8 karma

How frequently was rape reported/caught? Disregarding reports/caught-in-the-act, how often did it actually happen?

Mightyskunk8 karma

Reports every couple of weeks or so. Caught? Once or twice. Rapist and victim go to seg.

thenordicbat2 karma

What does seg mean?

Mightyskunk3 karma

Segregation. Essentially, they are put in a small cell by themselves. No TV, no yard time, no job if they had one. Minimal contact with anyone.

TheTjTerror8 karma

Were you actually that well liked there? Made a lot of friends with both inmates and other guards? I always got the impression that prisons were a "scary place" with heavy violence, and other gang stuff still going on and that inmates hated guards?

Mightyskunk4 karma

There is heavy violence. There is gang stuff going on. Inmates do hate guards.

I was an exception. I treated everybody the same. They weren't inmates. They were people, who I used a different set of rules with. I was always ready for a fight, but I wasn't aggressive or defensive.

PixelTreason7 karma

Did you watch "Orange is the New Black"? I love the show and was wondering how far off it was in general terms. Your prison wasn't women's prison, I assume and it was probably not minimum security but, still.

Do people self-segregate by race? Is it that "tribal"?

Do they really have hidey-holes where contraband is stored/comes through?

Is it filthy? Do the inmates get assigned jobs (like janitorial/electrical/kitchen) like the show?

I can't imagine the kitchen is really like it is on the show, where they are actually cooking and chopping veggies and stuff. What's the food like?

Mightyskunk4 karma

I've never watched that show. I do have Netflix, though. Inmates do get jobs. They apply for them. Cooking is really with full heads of lettuce, celery, tomatoes, all of that. Cakes are baked on site with batter mixed up in the prison kitchen. The kitchen, during searches, is where I most often found drugs.

QuackBook7 karma

Did you ever feel that you had to dehumanize an inmate more than you wanted to? That is, treat them like a number instead of a person because of direct orders.

Mightyskunk3 karma

Never. Direct orders never asked for anything like that. Cuffing someone and putting them in seg doesn't make them any less a person.

storm2036 karma

You worked for DOC then, yeah? My dad works for Complex in Florence supervising work crews. Did you ever do any other assignment than shift?

Mightyskunk4 karma

No. Private prison under ICE.

principessa11806 karma

Did anybody ever throw poop at you?

Mightyskunk12 karma

One crazy guy tried.

naxoscyclades6 karma

Do you believe it is good advice to remember that inmates are still people and to keep a degree of empathy, or does that leads to the danger of guards being taken advantage of? Or to flip the question, is it better to simply regard them as your charges for the shift, and to keep your distance?

Mightyskunk10 karma

Empathy should never go hand in hand with trust. Inmates are inmates for a reason.

AihMendoza5 karma

  1. How often do suicide incidents occur in prison and are there any precautions against it?
  2. Do you watch any TV series based in prison? if so, how accurate are their portrayals (like which are the most accurate, which are the least)

Mightyskunk8 karma

In this one, there were a few a year. Usually that meant a hospital run and a shitload of overtime for whoever came along.

I do not watch COPS or any prison-based TV shows. Even before being an officer, I just wasn't into that stuff.

Diecreeperdie5 karma

Have you ever seen anyone get stabbed?

Mightyskunk5 karma

Nope. Lucky me!

IamDoritos5 karma

My father is nearing retirement at a maximum security facility in Alabama. He's been on the "death squad" for most of that time and he shares some of the sentiment you've expressed in other comments. He said he's strapped men down to the table that he knew and cared for, and even a couple he believes may have been innocent. My question to you is how big of a problem was the administration to you? My father constantly complains that the administration is the single most difficult part of his job as they usually take the side of the inmate as in my father's best friend was attacked with a shank and broke the inmates jaw and is now being prosecuted by the sate for assault, I'm just curious if this type of issue is widespread.

Mightyskunk5 karma

How widespread is it? It is all-encompassing. Human rights gone wild.

AXylophoneEatinLemon4 karma

Aside from the people that hugged you and didn't want you to leave, where there any inmates that hated you?

Mightyskunk7 karma

PANDAmonium5154 karma

I think I may have an idea who you are. Does your name start with an m and did you recently start working at a big chain retail store?

Mightyskunk3 karma

Hey! What are you doing these days? So many people have quit already, it's crazy.

PANDAmonium5153 karma

Haha I thought it was you. I'm actually working at a CCA prison now

Mightyskunk3 karma

Nice! Enjoy that delicious money, and don't be like 90% of the other officers.

McDom3 karma

If you could give one quotable line of (general) advice - the kind one could put on a tea towel - what would it be? And do you have a mantra or motto which has helped you through tough times?

Mightyskunk8 karma

As for a quote for a tea towel, I'd say, "don't actually use this to clean up tea".

Mightyskunk2 karma

My mantra for a while was that if I die I don't have to deal with shit any more. That mantra allowed me, oddly enough, to help a lot of people, and be among the scariest people with no fear.

Allthehigherground3 karma

Flat out. What's the most gruesome thing you've seen?

Mightyskunk2 karma

The guy with his back laid open from a knife fight, or a guy with kidney failure dying in his cell. That second one pretty much sealed the deal on me wanting to quit.

ThatProFish3 karma

What's the craziest thing you ever saw?

Mightyskunk1 karma

A guy after a knife fight with his back laid open. He walked his way to the gurney before getting taken to the hospital.

renegadellama3 karma

Do you think prisons work more than they hurt?

Mightyskunk1 karma

They could work, if they were used properly, instead of as revenue or a government job mill.

_NutsackThunder3 karma

Weirdest thing you've ever found up someones ass?

Mightyskunk3 karma

I've never done a cavity search, but I heard about a guy who packed a lunch, wrapped it up nice, and put it in his ass.

_NutsackThunder6 karma

The sandwich was that good?

Mightyskunk2 karma

You aren't allowed too bring food from chow hall back to your cell.

shafty0233 karma

Can a person who goes to prison keep to themselves and avoid trouble or do they always have to watch their backs? Do new prisoners usually get raped?

Mightyskunk2 karma

You can keep to yourself, but you'll always watch your back. New prisoners do not usually get raped. They do get analyzed by the whole population, though. They wanna find out fast where in the totem pole the new guy will fit. Some places on the pole are places on someone's pole.

jonny_rotten_seed2 karma

Is there general animosity between cops and prison guards like the navy and the army?

Mightyskunk2 karma

Not that I ever noticed.

3LollipopZ-1Red2Blue2 karma

Actual serious question.

See any things you can't explain in there on the graveyard shifts?

Mightyskunk1 karma

No. No supernatural stuff. My first night running a building, though, I was all alone, and we had a power outage. It was pitch black in there.

Big_Amish2 karma

I'm going for in for an interview to a non-guard position at a county prison tomorrow. Basically, I would be in charge of the inmates that cook the prison's food. What would you say is the opinion among inmates and guards of non-guard personnel? How do they get treated by the inmates and the guards?

Mightyskunk2 karma

Non-guard personnel is treated well by inmates. You will not be trusted until you earn it. Guards will treat you equally well, though some may try to press you into spy service. Snitches get stitches.

SantaAndBear2 karma

Have any inmates tried to escape? Also where there any inmates who felt like you couldn't touch them aka a god complex?

Mightyskunk2 karma

Plenty. I caught two myself, they didn't fight back. Other officers told me about attempted escapes that did fight back. And yes, there were ones with God complexes, and though they never let anyone touch them, they were always fine with me frisking them.

halovidnoob2 karma

Who's the most memorable inmate you can remember?

Mightyskunk4 karma

Y'know, it's sad, but the most memorable one was the worst one. He was one of those Political Hero types, and kept it in his head that everything nice I did was just a trick. Other inmates got pissed at him when he'd trash talk me while I was making my rounds. He is one of three inmates I yelled at. After two years of dealing with him, I'd finally had enough. I explained, very loudly, that I wasn't trying to make him miserable, that I was trying to make it nicer in there for everyone. That he needed to stop rocking the boat.

He was such a dick.

I copypasted my reply to this question higher up.

mreedon1 karma

A little bit late, but what requirements do you have to have to be a prison guard?

Mightyskunk2 karma

None. Be able to run and do a normal amount of physical stuff. It's really easy.