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Full interview (by category)Interview with Jenna, Cris, Mel, Bonnie, Ashley, Aaron, Walter, Shawn, Mimi, Saul, Heather, Ricky, Sterling, Doug and George
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.
Jenna: Not really, I actually met some really good people in there (despite where we were). There are always going to be bullies, so you have some people who talk loud and bad. But I didn't encounter anyone I couldn't handle, I think it different on the men's side though.
Mel: No. I kept my mouth shut and my head down, and didnt do anything unusual to attract attention to myself and I was not bothered.
Bonnie: More so with staff.
Ashley: No. I'm an observant people person anyway, so it's really just common sense. You will see people who clearly have drug/or alcohol problems effecting their behavior, and people who are used to being there who already know the 'ropes.' Don't take anything personally. It's not about YOU. Remember, you're there for a reason too, so you DO have something in common will the other people. Just be human and patient. Better to say nothing if not sure what to say. When food comes, lots of opportunities for interaction happen. You'll want to be alert for what you're willing to give away-and to whom. Like anywhere in life, being polite and respectful and not too quick to judge other goes a long way.
Aaron: First of all, if you try to get along with inmates than you aare. Asking for trouble. If you are put in the same space with thhe same people for so long you will learn who is right and who is not.
Walter: Overall I got along with people decently. The only arguments and issues were when people aren't ready to wake up in the morning when others watch tv, the specific shows chosen and small things like that. I tried not to make any enemies or be there longer.
Shawn: No, not really as I am a pretty easy going person and I ended up working in the kitchen at the jail as a trustee which made my time easier to do
Mimi: No, I didn't. I found it best to just mind my own business but its ok to have light conversation with a few of the other girls. I never had any altercations with anyone while I was there.
Saul: I kept to my self as much as I could. No one seemed to bother me. I did engage conversation with a few select people who I felt I could trust. I had money on my jail account so I was able to buy and trade for safety.
Heather: So king county jail is filled with primarily black people and it can get kind of racial in there. Alot of the times I was called white girl or referred to as a tweaker just because i was white. I found the other inmates to be intimidating at times. there is a code of conduct one must abide by in order to get by in jail or you wont be happy.
Ricky: I got along with most everyone. You know the ones to stay away from anyway - they get along with no one. I had no problems with any cell mates.
Sterling: Nah even when they put me on the 'violent' floor you have to realize Seattle is not a violent city. To keep quota they lock up a bunch of dudes like me that arent really that violent. In ten years I had issues but I wasnt hitting or slapping my kid's mom. Most of the inmates were in there for DV and 8 of 10 DVs involved no contact or 1 push with a dude swearing on his mother that he was pushed first or spat on.
Doug: I did get along with the other inmates for the most part cause I tryed to stay to myself. They only inmates that I didnt get along with were the sex offenders cause I cant stand them.
George: When you get to jail, i learned that if you do not want to get taken advantage of that you can not smile, can not be friendly to anyone. you can never let anyone get over on you, because it sets a precident, where others think that they can do the same.
JM: What types of things did you have to do to avoid problems or fights with other inmates?
Jenna: Well I stood up for myself, and when felt the person wouldn't quit yapping I would walk away with words (arguing is a waste of time). The best thing I did was find a couple of really good ladies who were into reading the bible, don't let that fool you they stood up for me as well.
Mel: Kept aware of procedures, (when to line up, when to be awake for headcount) to make sure my actions didn't affect the entire tank.
Ashley: be aware of 'space.' It's crowded, so people claim their territory. If you are there short- time, there's no sense in challenging anyone for something as silly as a seat in certain place. Just let it go. Respect others' space and property.
Aaron: Attempt to keepp to yourself and try not to show weakness. Do not loan or share or borrow anything from anyone ever unless you either know them from the streets or know. Exactly who your dealing with. Never gamble for your food becaause they don't feed you at all and dinner is at 5. 5!!! That's ridiculous. Your starving by 8pm and breakfast is at 7am.
Walter: I had a few incidents where small arguments turned into big heated face to face arguments. Mostly the people there for long term trying to run the tv or tell people what to do. I stood up for myself but never had any physical altercations. I wanted out without further time added on.
Shawn: I played cards and also watched alot of tv and read a lot. I always try to avoid any type of conflict with people especially in jail as if you get into a fight with anyone you end up being sent to the 11th floor and solitary which is no fun
Mimi: Nothing, I was never put in that position, and none of the other girls in my unit ever fought while I was there. Honestly, I think the whole fight and rape thing everyone always associates with jail must just be about prison because its not really like that. At least not in King County.
Saul: For the most part I had a personality that did not seem to set anyone off. As I mentioned in the last question I used my Jail account to buy food from the jail commissary and then trade, give or share those items with others so as to avoid any problems with others.
Heather: You have to clean out the shower when you are done. you cant leave any hair,pieces of soap nothing like that in the shower or on the walls. you do not spit anywhere in the tank. you flush the toilet multiple times when going poop so it doesnt stink. you respect other peoples space and you dont touch anything that isnt yours,.
Ricky: I gave everyone I met the respect that I expected them to give me. Most incarcerated people are average guys just trying to make it through. As long as you are not disrespectful, and keep an open mind considering where you are, most everyone has some level that can be related to.
Sterling: Im black im big they arent messing with me. The most I had to do just be smart around the handful of crazy people and not be stupid and steal from people. Not much else I can say just blah blah to meet the word count. Need four more words.
Doug: I had a hard time with controlling my anger cause I have a really bad anger problem. So to avoid conflicts and fights I did a number of things. I sleeped, read books, watched tv, called my girlfriend on the phone, and drew pictures. As long as they didnt talk to me I was happy.
George: Like i said, i did not smile, nor was i friendly to anyone. I was sexually harrassed by another inmate, and when i brought this to the attention of the correctional officers, they did not want to address it, only when i threatened to blow the whisle on them did they move me.
JM: Were you able to choose an inmate as your cellmate if you knew one? How often would your cellmate(s) change?
Jenna: No you were put where you were told, if you told them you had health issues or needed certain accommodations maybe.
Cris: There are no choose in jail. you do what the staff say or they make you life HELL
Bonnie: No, I was not able to make any decisions for myself, including contacting my attourney.
Aaron: No. I never had the choice of who I. Was to bunk with in a cell. Even. If I did have the choice I don't know. Who. I would have chosen. Its. Almost better random bbecase then you don't. Consider. Each. Other friends because" friends" in jail. Are there just to. Take. Advantage of whatever you have to. Offer.
Walter: When I was in jail, it wasn't a 2 man cell setup. I was in a dorm setup with about 15-20 others. Things were pretty smooth except for a few arguments. I tried to keep my peace.
Shawn: In downtown King countys trustee floor you are put in rooms with other inmates who work the same job and shift that you work but can see the other inmates when they "rack you out"
Mimi: No, you can't choose your cellmate. And they would change every few days. Basically you stay in the cell that they choose for you until you are released. So it varied depending on the release date for your cellmate.
Saul: I was in a group cell of about 13 inmates. I did not have a choice in who was in our cell. The turnover was such that after two weeks there were only a couple inmates that had been there for the two weeks that I was there.
Heather: Hell no you can choose your own cell mate. sometimes you get a new one every other day. if you are lucky like how i was you get one that u like and you two end up doing the duration of your time together,
Ricky: RJC does not allow cell mate choice as far as I am aware of. I was in a double cell by myself as was everyone in that block for most of my stay. However, the last 3 months were double celled. (2 inmates per cell)
Sterling: I had some input about the floor and me and another guy clicked so we chose the same floor. I have trouble sleeping in jail so I also requested to work in the kitchen so they moved me to a floor with the workers.
Doug: I never got to choose my cellmates, and my cellmates changed all the time. I was in a room with 20 other bunks and they randomly choose where everyone went,l
George: My cellmates would change often, and i was not given a choice who was my cell mate. Sometimes there would be cellmates that i would have that would try to intimidate me.
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