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Interview with Pat and Sam

JM: Did you find it difficult to get along with other inmates? Please give examples to explain why you did or didn't.
Pat: I got along with most inmates that were like me. Came from decent homes, just started getting in trouble, most likely substance abusers, non gang related and not looking to be a career criminal. That's usually who i found myself around.
Sam: Personally, I got along with some and not with others. It really depends on where you live and in what lifestyle. Most people in the county jail are very anxious because they don't know what's going to happen with court or when they'll go home, so it's always a very tension filled atmosphere. You also have to deal with the gangs inside. If you're not affiliated, you could easily be a target. If you seem to be weak, or unwilling to stand up for yourself, you will be tried and taken advantage of. The other inmates constantly test your character and resolve until you prove yourself.

JM: What types of things did you have to do to avoid problems or fights with other inmates?
Pat: I spent most of my days in bed reading books and then watching some tv. I played basketball and talked politics with some as this was the exciting time during the clinton/obamo primaries. Eventually fate conspired to arrange for me to get into a fight and i did what i had to do.
Sam: Our mouths are the most powerful weapons in jail, whether used to start a confrontation or stop one. Most people tend to not think before they talk or act, and it usually ends up badly. I usually kept to myself, read a lot, wrote letters, kept from gambling, and stayed aware of my surroundings. It was important that I carried myself in a manner that showed I wouldn't back down if challenged, and also to never share too much with anyone when in conversation. People use anything against you at any time.

JM: Were you able to choose an inmate as your cellmate if you knew one? How often would your cellmate(s) change?
Pat: during this time in middlesex county i was in a dorm at first, then after the fight i moved to a 2 man room which we didn't choose but my roommate was cool. He was a 1st timer, did something stupid. we got along and had laughs. Cellmates change is someone goes home or goes to prison or sometimes goes to lockup.
Sam: In the county jail, it really depended on how long you were there, who you knew, and if you were cool with the officer. Sometimes I was able to choose, most times I wasn't. In the county jail, most beds change quickly, but others last awhile. I probably had about 15 cellmates over 8 months.

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

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