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Interview with Joe, Walter, Wendy, Ella and Annie

JM: Did you find it difficult to get along with other inmates? Please give examples to explain why you did or didn't.
Joe: not really. just don't talk to anyone.
Walter: I didn't really have any issues getting along with others. I really just tried to keep to myself as I was not really interested in making friends there. The guys that I did speak with were alright. We played a lot of cards.
Wendy: No - I'm a very friendly person, but it is very intimidating. I was 20 years old, had never been in trouble, and was transfered to a facility that is medium security.
Ella: I did not have any problems getting along with other inmates. Anoka offers lots of structured activities to keep inmates occupied. The living quarters are not cramped and confined which is a big factor.
Annie: No the other inmates are usually okay to deal with, but once in awhile a drunk one comes in and is loud and starts trouble. Just mind your own business and behave.

JM: What types of things did you have to do to avoid problems or fights with other inmates?
Joe: don't talk about your case or people you know.
Walter: Like I said, I tried to keep to myself. I did a lot of reading and played a lot of cards and games with others. I didn't mess with the TV at all and that was key as I saw a guy get beat up the 1st day I was in for doing that. I hung around the white guys so that helped out. You tend to hang out with guys of your racial background.
Wendy: The first time I was brought to Lino I was in a bunk with a woman who was mentally ill and was there for trying to kill her daughter's boyfriend. I cried the entire time, and prayed that she woudln't try to kill me. The second time, I was in a bunk with a girl close to my age who had been arrested multiple times for prostitution. It broke my heart to hear her nonchelantly talk about "trickin". I had never met someone who has had sex with people for money. I ended up helping her with her homework the days that I was there - she was in their GED program.
Ella: I personally did not have to do anything out of my normal behavior to avoid problems. In circumstances where I did have problems with another inmate what i would have to do would depend on how the housing was set up. Everybody in one cell block makes it difficult to avoid contact with certain inmates but individual or two man cells allows you to get away from a situation or person who you may have problems with. All you can really do is force yourself to get along or avoid that person as much as posssible.
Annie: Just ignore the loud ones and don't make eye contact or seem to challenge them and you'll be fine. If you run your mouth or are out spoken you'll find trouble and you should not disrespect the guards, follow directions and do as your told avoid the constant drama and nonsense that always occurs.

JM: Were you able to choose an inmate as your cellmate if you knew one? How often would your cellmate(s) change?
Joe: choose an inmate for what?
Walter: I was not able to choose my cell mate. I probably had about 5 different cell mates. There were guys that came in on weekend charges so if you were there over a week, it was pretty common
Wendy: No. You are assigned a bed and a roommate. My cellmates didn't change. The women that I roomed with had longer sentences than me, so I was their "visitor", so to speak.
Ella: I can not ever remember being allowed to pick my cellmate in any correctional facility I have been in.Cellmates or bunkmates can change as often as every few days to every few weeks. All depends on availability of beds and number of bookings and releases.
Annie: No you never get to chose your cell mate the guards do that for you. Even if you don't like their choice you are stuck with it. Cell mates can change daily.

Read about time off for good behavior in the Anoka County Jail

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