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Interview with Shawanda Miller, Jeremy, Chuck, Charles and Josh

JM: Did you find it difficult to get along with other inmates? Please give examples to explain why you did or didn't.
Shawanda Miller: Sometimes. I generally ignored most of them and pretty much kept to myself. Some would just like to run there mouths.
Jeremy: Not really, didnt get a chance to interact with anyone! There were a couple of drunks and crazies there but they were locked up in single cells.
Chuck: No. Not really.
Charles: No, I didn't. I knew a lot of people in the jail so I pretty much had friends when I went there. Most people keep to themselves. That's what I did.
Josh: I found it very difficult to get along with the other inmates. How are you supposed to trust anybody when you are locked in a box with a bunch of criminals. You never know what they are in there for.

JM: What types of things did you have to do to avoid problems or fights with other inmates?
Shawanda Miller: I never got into any fights nor had any problems with the guards. Again I would just avoid most inmates who ran there mouths or thought they knew it all.
Jeremy: Rule of thumb is NOT to ask people about their charges! Do your OWN time! Each man does his own time!
Chuck: Sometimes it is unavoidable. Basically, mind your own business, stay focused on what you're going to do to get out, don't be come part of social atmosphere, you can't start to like or dislike the guards, don't start complaining. When you loss focus on outside world and insted focus on jail that's not going to help. Take advanatge of classe and programs.
Charles: Keep to yourself and don't get lippy with anybody. Avoid all altercations if at all possible because solitary confinement sucks. I don't avoid any issues with inmates because when those situations arise in an institution, if they are not dealt with on the spot then they always lead to a "problem".
Josh: I mainly tried to act as crazy as possible. When somebody would try talking to me id look at them real crazy and tell them I was looking at ten years and they usually laid off. I just kept telling people not to fuck with me because I didn't care about getting into a fight. Which was a lie. I didn't want to fight anybody. I also knew a couple people from before jail so I just hung out with those couple guys.

JM: Were you able to choose an inmate as your cellmate if you knew one? How often would your cellmate(s) change?
Shawanda Miller: When they used to house females in Dakota County, you would be in 1 block with maybe 1 or 2 people to a cell. Sometimes after you were there for awhile, some guards would let you move to a different cell. But at first, no you weren't able to choose to bunk with.
Jeremy: I only spent one night in a cell, my cellie was a pretty cool kid. I dont really think you get to choose? I mean we were all taken to our dorm at the same time and then we were assigned a cell and a bed(upper bunk or lower bunk!)
Chuck: Not in most cases. You could send a kite (a message) to one of the guards if you think your cellmate is violent or you might not get along with him. If there is room they might change you.
Charles: No, I've never been able to choose a celly. My celly would change I'd say on the monthly average...once or twice and sometimes three but generally once or twice. It would have been nice to choose who to room with.
Josh: I never got to pick who my cellmate was. My first cell mate rubbed the deoderant all over the walls and tried to fight me. I had to grab the guy by the wrists and hold him there for about ten seconds explaining how I did not want to fight him. After that I punched the wall and my hand started to bleed. This was right after I got out of the hole for 5 days. The guard was watching all of this and I didn't know it he was making a round. He saw my frustration and I explained how I didn't want to fight him. I had about 5 different cell mates after that and I would just try and draw and write and read to avoid conversation. A few cell mates I had liked playing chess which was cool. I drew up a lot of chess boards and gave them away to a lot of inmates which got quite a few people to like me.

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

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