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Full interview (by category)Interview with Charles, m ray, Leon, Jean, Accountant, Hot attorney, Gene, Lil Will, Cam, big boi, Claire, Walt, Carl, Ed, Devin, Mitch and Ronaldo
Getting along with other inmates
Time off for good behavior
Food and Commissary
JM: Did you find it difficult to get along with other inmates? Please give examples to explain why you did or didn't.
Charles: In general no, I am pretty easy going. That being said, there are always people whom you will not be able to get along with, but for the most part it is manageable. Just keep in mind, jail is a hard place for anyone to be, so everyone is on edge.
m ray: kinda of but not really u make as hard as u want
Leon: Sometimes some of the other inmates can be difficult to get along with.
Jean: Not really because I'd been there before. It's kind of ironic, because this last stint that I did at Dallas County, I did 6 months or 7 months or whatever it was, but I only did 30 days in State Jail because the county held me all that time. The State didn't get my money - the county did. I was supposed to initially serve 18 months in State Jail, but I only did 30 days, that's how long the County kept me through all the process. I got all my back time, but through the process, I ended up serving a hundred and fifty days in County Jail.
You learn your way around. It's hard for some girls, but I'm pretty street tough. If you run from probation as long as I did, you're not scared; however, when I got picked up at the border, I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I had gone across the border to party and drown my sorrows, but when I got to the county jail, they put me in the infirmary, so you're not dealing with what you would normally. Normally, you would be in a populated area of 55-60 women, but when you're in the infirmary, it's like 20 or 25 women.
Accountant: Not really, it was so surreal for me, that I didn't really talk to anyone. The only difficult people to deal with were the staff..........
Hot attorney: No. My cellmate was a great guy who showed me the ropes. I am Hispanic but was surrounded by brothers. I have no problem with the brothers. At intake, there was one angry man in a single cell and he was banging on the door and yelling, "Who's the first wetback from Europe"? I saw a fight for the free telephone. It seemed like a few of the guys wanted to play warded and con. I kept thinking I was too damn sexy for this place.
Gene: No, but I know what to do in jail. Just sit in your cell and do the time. A lack of communication with other inmates is the best thing in jail. Some people in there can be dangerous if you just look at them wrong.
Lil Will: Back in the 90s they had the shit way overcrowded and if you dont want to sleep by the shitter you have to put on your guns. People sleepin and stepin all over each other and fights all the time. Now its not as crowded you just mind your own and keep you mouth shut and mostly no probem.
big boi: no i just did my own thing and didnt let anyone mess with me..
Claire: no,i always stayed to myself,never got into jailhouse gossip.even when in day room playing cards I wouldn't get to rowdy.i compromised on t/v programs and cleaning duties.i found it easy
Walt: It was hard with some and easy with some. Some inmates are very sick people and some are very normal people who were just in bad circumstances at that time and some are habitual criminals who are very used to the system and its almost like a 2nd home to them, institutionalized and
Carl: Some inmates were friendly but most of them were very tough and rough looking. I felt like there were very few I could talk to that were decent enough to talk back.
Ed: well I just got along because that is the way that you survive there are always pretators that prey on the weak and they beat you up and take your food it is just a game of survival of the fittest
Devin: Some were difficult to get along with because of their mentalities. Others were difficult to get along with because of the sentences that they were facing. I mostly stayed to myself.
Mitch: I had a HORRIBLE adjustment period. I was first, very na´ve, then I was free hearted, and lastly, I was educated and made store every week. Jealousy, greed, and malice on the part of other inmates kept me in the infirmary. I got beat up a lot. Sometimes for sharing too much, others for not sharing enough, or plainly because I would not share at all. Food amongst other things like sex were in high demand.
Ronaldo: No. Basically everybody is not trying to add more time to their sentence. I was only there for 5 days and I knew not to try to be the baddest.
JM: What types of things did you have to do to avoid problems or fights with other inmates?
Charles: I really didn't do anything special, just kinda kept too myself and wasn't rude to anyone.
m ray: not pay any mind to that tv thats problems for sure and only assicate with a few people but stay cool for the most part with everyone until u get disrespected or something
Leon: Sometimes you have to let things that are said go even when you don't want to. Television and basketball seem to start more fights than anything.
Jean: Yeah, well, black people are pretty tough. They all thing they're still toting switch blades, and it seems like the girls that are users and the girls that are prostitutes - of course that's hand in hand - they're pretty tough to get along with. They're always trying to bum your commissary or what's left on your tray if you don't eat it. They're always up on you, all the time. In General Population, you have 50-60 bunks in every cell block.
Accountant: Most people seemed to have been caught up with their own issues, so no one was arguing/fighting.
Hot attorney: Try to fit in.
Lil Will: Dont avoid fights in jail unless you a punk. Dont go looking for them but dont let nobody put you in check either.
Cam: Mind my own business and respect other inmates as i would like to be respected. Avoid playing Cards, Dice and other gambling games that could cause a disagreement.
big boi: just mine your own bissness...
Claire: to avoid fights with other inmates I what we call rode my bunk,read the bible and urban literture and maybe played cards sometimes.above all stayed out of folk cases,family business and commented whats being said about inmate amongst othe inmates in gossip or out loud.stay out the way always period.
Walt: Be genuine and only interact with those inmates that were like minded or that didn't want to cause trouble. I had 1 guy that tried to pick on me everyday and everyday I would ignore him finally I had to deal with him I verbally yelled at him everything I had been holding in I was lucky the guards let me vent this out because this guy had it coming I know he wanted to fight me but he didn't want the extra time It was not smart on my part but I had crossed a line in me that I just couldn't take anymore
Carl: I had to avoid saying or doing anything that I thought would offend anyone, I felt I had to be very agreeable to anything anyone said and just go with the flow if I talked at all. I tried to stay to myself as much as possible to avoid trouble.
Ed: you have to stay to yourself and just get along you are under a different set of rules it is the inmates world if you are white you are outnumbered 50 to 1 by blacks and 25 to 1 Mexicans and I am white so you just go along and don't say nothing
Devin: Well like I said earlier I had to stay to myself in order to keep my nose clean. I was as nice as I could be to those around me and I tried not to upset anyone. If there was ever a problem I tried my best to remove myself from the area.
Mitch: I learned after about two months to find the biggest and most feared inmate and make him my friend. Whatever it took for protection. And if he got moved then I would go into lock-up for something, anything. There was always someone lying in wait to harm someone considered not like everyone else.
Ronaldo: Basically mind your own business and follow the rules of the pod. For example clean up after yourself and use certain toilets for #2's. Keep your area clean is a MUST. Wheit it is your turn for chores then you must do them. And a big one is dont steal from anyone.
JM: Were you able to choose an inmate as your cellmate if you knew one? How often would your cellmate(s) change?
Charles: No, the most choice you will ever have in regard to your housing assignment will be what cell you want if you are placed in a tank with one man cells.
m ray: i dont get what ur saying
Jean: Hell no! You don't get to choose your friends! There are 50-60 women, but, in general population, everyone has a room, and they lock you down at night. You have your own bed and your own toilet, but it's still in general population. It depends on the tower you're in. Some of them aren't like that. Some of them are just wide open gymnasiums with beds. Others are more private. You'll got there for different reasons - if you get in trouble, or you can't get along with other inmates. You don't want to go there, though.
big boi: no
Claire: yes only if I was in a 2 man cell.i would if I noticed someone i know come on the tank;randomly choose someone who seem meek and clean if don't want a new person in cell
Walt: We had 64 men in our pod and they changed a little id say 4-5 a day either would get in trouble or get out. I would hang out with the same few and got along with most of them.
Carl: No I nor anyone else can choose who you want to be cell mates with as you are put into general population with lots of other inmates of all types.
Ed: you don't have a choice in dallas county the average cell is 24 men I was in a cell with 64 men and one commen area it was always loud
Devin: No. They housed us the way they wanted to. We never really had a choice unless there was a cool pod officer there at the time. If there was someone that we liked that we were around, most of the time they would move us.
Mitch: You had no choice in the matte in North Tower. You were placed in a cell with anywhere from 6-9 other inmates from different criminal backgrounds. And they could change daily.
Ronaldo: No I wasn't. I was assigned a pod and had to choose a bunk. Cellmates would change every 3 days or so. Some were released and others kicked out of the pod.
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