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Interview with Guero 1, Jim, Ricky, Bernard, Cora, Roy, Mario, Kayla and Evan

JM: Did you find it difficult to get along with other inmates? Please give examples to explain why you did or didn't.
Guero 1: only the ones that think they're all tough and think they have to prove something.
Jim: We loved each other.
Ricky: Only once in awhile, but rarely. You will always encounter someone you don't like. Especially in such close quarters. You either ignore them or let them know you don't like them.
Bernard: No, I didn't have any problems getting along with other inmates. I am a pretty easy going guy. As long as you're not looking for any problems, you won't find them most of the time. And that all really depends on who you're housed with.
Cora: No. It is a difficult environment to get used to having to share the space with close to 100 other 'roommates' in a camp-style setting. The people themselves are fine and there were very few trouble makers. I just kept to myself and tried to just get through the days. Everyone was either friendly and helpful to me or left me alone. There were fights among some of the girls but I found it easy to avoid any drama. There were more people there that had been there before and wanted to show you the way to do things (order products from commissary, use the phones, make your bed etc)
Roy: No, everyone is hopefull or scared that they won't get out so they are pretty humble, no matter how heineous their crime was. They really turn on the Jail Hous religion, going to worship services and really trying to change. You do have some lunny ones but they are usually locked up in Isolation, and you do have some nut cases, who really should not be in Jail but in a Mental Institution. The cops don't care, they need to make there quota on arrests and traffic tickets, and the Correctional Officers don't care, they are there just putting in their hours for pay. Jail feels as if you are dropped from Life into some twilight zone error. The littlest thing as commissary becomes extrememly important. Cookies, and bag of 25cent chips become a commodity to trade or barter for other items while in lock-up.
Mario: No I had no problem getting along with other inmates. I was able to befriend a few of them because I could write and read a little better then they could.
Kayla: Extremely. Women don't get along well in those situations. We already hate each other. We dont have to see each other 24/7 at our worst, under the most stress possible, with no good showers, always being hungry, and being bitched at by somebody with a stun gun. We all hated each others guts. We formed groups just to talk shit about each other. Our "friends" were our "friends" because they wanted something from us, even if its just soup or drugs when they get out.
Evan: I'd say about 95% of the time I got along well with other inmates. I made sure to treat others with the same respect that I would expect for myself. The only times I did have problems with others is when they didn't treat me with respect.

JM: What types of things did you have to do to avoid problems or fights with other inmates?
Guero 1: in that type of culture, if you avoid fight or problems, it makes your life worse, so i didn;t start fight or nothin but i never backed down.
Jim: Let the problem inmates realize if they f-ed with me I would summarily tear thier hearts out of thier chests.
Ricky: Stay in your cell is the most rational thing to do. Sometimes there are ways to talk it out or everything just smoothes over in time. I've seen others move to the fourth floor or "PC up" in order to avoid fights, but that is your last resort and looking for trouble.
Bernard: Just stay out of other people's business, just tend to yourself. Read, work out, write, sleep and when you have day room you can watch tv, get books. And if I overheard any drama or anything like that, I stayed out of long as it didn't concern me I didn't involve myself.
Cora: I basically just minded my own business. Some of the fights stemmed from theft or over gossip. It was easy to avoid since I don't steal or get involved in others lives when it's not warranted. Some arguments would break out over simple things like what channel to watch on TV, taking too long on the phone or other basic freedoms most of us aren't used to having to share.
Roy: Well the trouble makers are weeded out and housed in isolation cells, usually upstairs. The rest of the inmates play cards when not locked up in the cell. I found it really ignorant to see the whites sitting with white only, the mexican sitting with their culture, and the small population of blacks with blacks. I have been locked up back east in Baltimore, Md. which is one of the worst cities for drugs and crime and it wasn't racially divided like out here. I thought that was sad, a sad site to see in this day and age, and I am sure they still are doing it this very hour and day.
Mario: Avoiding problems or fights is a hard thing to do specialy if you have a couple hundred guys all living or trying to live together. You have different life styles and personilities all in one place. I was able to get along with just about anyone there yes I did have some problems but that is something that you sometimes cannot avoid.
Kayla: I had to not look at them, not listen to them, not talk to them, and pretend I didn't exist. If that didn't work then I got a keep separate, got in a fight, or got written up. If it came down to it I would have to give them whatever they wanted - things like a certain book or a piece of food, a certain chore, or a place in line.
Evan: I stayed to myself, minded my own business, stayed out of other people's conflicts, didn't call anybody a bitch or a punk, I didn't lie or steal from others. Additionally, I tried to not project aggressiveness, but also not project any weakness either. If, however, someone had gotten aggressive with me, i was ready to fight.

JM: Were you able to choose an inmate as your cellmate if you knew one? How often would your cellmate(s) change?
Guero 1: no its whatever bed is available you get it. now if you get another race other than your own as a cellmate then you can not bunk with him and just go to the towers and stay locked don all day tho.
Jim: I don't understand the nature of this question.
Ricky: Not really. You could ask, but it would be very rare to happen. Once a month people are moved or getting into trouble and taken to the 4th floor so you get new cellies.
Bernard: No you can not choose your own roommates. At a three month stay, I had roughly about 4 separate roommates. My first one was from across the border and spoke no English, so it made things difficult in the room. As in, there was no communication between us, so it made the days go by even slower. And the others spoke English and went pretty good.
Cora: I was in a minimum security facility so there weren't actual cells. Where I stayed there was basically just a large open room with dividers for the different 'dorms'. The 3 dorms were filled with bunk beds so it felt more like a detention camp than jail. They separated the dorms according to longevity and whether you were allowed out on work-release. I stayed on the work-release side and that side was allowed a few extra freedoms as opposed to the others like being able to shower more, eat at extra times and use make-up.
Roy: No you don't chose any inmate, you get slotted where the correctional officer who you never see, is responsible for assigning cells, you might get a homosexual in your cell, or some other pretty weird characters, but you can usually request to move if there are any problems which does occur alot. Your living in a 8 X 10 cell with another man, and its very tight.
Mario: At first I did not get to choose my cellmate later on me and a friend could ask to be cellmates and was granted it. I would say my cellmates changed about 1 time a week.
Kayla: You couldn't pick if they knew what you were doing. You could manipulate circumstances into them choosing certain people as roommates by starting fights and things like that. My cellmates changed often, there were a lot of new people coming in and people being released all the time.
Evan: No, I wasn't able to choose a cell mate. They were assigned. The first time in jail,my cellmate stayed the same almost the entire time except when the jail moved our whole pod to another pod due to repairs. When we returned, one person from each cell was moved to one cell over. We all had new cellmates.

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

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