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Interview with Milles, Preston, Lauren, Rosa and Dallas

JM: Did you find it difficult to get along with other inmates? Please give examples to explain why you did or didn't.
Milles: at first i was apprehensive about interacting with the other inmates. you just don't know why someone else is behind bars weather they are violent, on drugs or whatever. after a day or two you begin to forget about those things and necessity takes over you just have to talk to someone. so you start telling stories about how you got there and from that point people just chime in. it gets easier and easier the longer you are there.
Preston: No it wasn`t for me, however, there are people who were targeted as prey for their canteen or to make them do whatever they wanted from them. If someone looks like they can fight they would mess with this type of person.
Lauren: Not really. I only recall one incident when a girl was working in the kitchen with me and she thought she was going to punk me and i just let her know that i didn't care how tall she was or bad she was, she wasn't going to frighten me.
Rosa: No. I keep to myself a lot. I don't really make friends easily. And I didn't want to be there. It wasn't social hour for me so I don't have specific examples.
Dallas: Not really. I got in a fight once, because me and some dude were just not getting along over something stupid, I don't recall what it was at this present time.

JM: What types of things did you have to do to avoid problems or fights with other inmates?
Milles: i just stayed away from people if they were irritated or seemed like trouble. let people talk to me instead of approaching them. its sometimes easier to just stay in your bunk and read a book. i try to be neutral in things it seemed to keep me safe
Preston: I kept a tough guy image at all times. surround myself with a lot of tough inmates so people would know if they mess with me then they would have to mess with my friends. The inmates generally only pick on the weak and others that had no friends backing them.
Lauren: Not much. I am a pretty mutual person though. As in almost any environment, people are going to at one point our another get on your nerves but my mind frame is like, deal with it, you did the crime, so when you're doing the time it's not going to always be pleasant.
Rosa: You just had to keep your attitude in check, and keep your area clean and respect people. I had to keep my ego in check, and respect people I didn't honestly respect. I avoided lesbian inmates because I don't swing like that and the racist inmates because I am brown.
Dallas: To avoid other fights with inmates I just stayed in my cell. I read books, and kept to myself. If you keep to yourself, there's less of a chance that you'll have problems with other inmates. I respected them, and they respected me in whatever sense of respect people have in jail.

JM: Were you able to choose an inmate as your cellmate if you knew one? How often would your cellmate(s) change?
Milles: no i was assigned a bunk and that was it. they don't give you a lot of choice in anything while in jail. you just go with the program and try to stay away from trouble. besides i didn't know anyone while i was there. if i had i don't think that it would have mattered.
Preston: I would keep any cellmate as long as they were not races toward me because if they were A white supremacist then by rule we would have to fight or someone had to move out.
Lauren: In the jail i only had a cellmate while i was downtown and she was only there for one day. I did not get to choose and when i was transferred to the other jail it was an open dorm.
Rosa: They don't have cellmates . You can't choose cellmates. I don't have anything more to say about that you just can't choose them. I would if I could though wouldn't anyone?
Dallas: No, at Multnomah County Jail, you are not allowed to choose a cellmate, nor are there cellmates anymore. Even if I wanted to choose one, I wouldn't be able to choose one.

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

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