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.