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I have some questions about prison


Alpo
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How did they decide which cell you get?

 

At the beginning of THE HOT ROCK, Dortmunder is being released. And he is upset. He had sold his cell for $300, but the warden has decided to walk him to the gate, and with the warden right next to him there's no way to pass him the $300.

 

There's this other book - MIAMI BLUES. The guy decided to give up sex, so he sold his punk for 700 cartons of Chesterfields and 500 Milky Way bars. That part I understood. Then he used all of the Chesterfields and all but 200 of the Milky Ways to buy himself a new cell - a single person cell.

 

Now the only way it seems to me to be possible to buy and sell a jail cell is if the prisoners have some sort of say in which cell they get.

 

I'm confused.

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You sold for that many smokes and candy bars?!?! You must really be something!!!!

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Given the size of most cells, I think 700 cartons wouldn’t give you a lot of elbow room. :lol:

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Last I heard, no tobacco in prison anymore.  Had a friend and Mentor, now deceased, who was a Warden in several big Prisons.  Think of the ultimate bad neighborhood, and a place of enormous stresses.  Based on some of his stories, there were some "harmless" offenses that were overlooked in the name of keeping the peace and lowering tensions. One example, pet mice!

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Just now, Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984 said:

There’s a likable old guy on Death Row who has a pet mouse.

Can't recall what container they used to catch them, but earlier in his career, my friend was a Deputy Warden, and wherever he was, he was within hearing of prisoners.  A mouse came through, and out of curiosity he had planned to catch one, and he did.  Sound traveled, and Prisoner hilarity was great " The Dep copped hisself a mouse!".  

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Definitely. Dortmunder is the world's most unlucky crook. There is around a dozen books about him, and his capers never work out right.

 

And I understand what 40 said -this is fiction. But still,  two different books, by two different authors, and they both had the prisoner somehow arranging to get a different cell. Just made me wonder if it was possible.

 

I could see it happening if you were in tight with the warden somehow. In Shawshank Andy got a cell to himself because he was doing the warden's bookkeeping. But buying them and selling them among the general population?

 

All I wanted to know was if it's possible.

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Okay, the way real prisons assign cells: Avoid putting members of opposing gangs in the same cell. Don't put child molesters in General Population. Watch age and/or drastic size differences. Watch for a history of violence related to refusing to take medications. Watch for previous escape attempts.

Also, most prison systems now do not allow tobacco behind the wall. Employees get a smoke break if possible.

Read Pete Early's book The Hot House for the best actual description of what life is like in a Maximum Security Prison.

And yup, I started out as a CO in Menard Correctional Center, Chester, IL. Stabbed twice, scalded 4 times.

east house 3.jpg

east house1.jpg

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I can only speak for Federal Penitentiaries, a long time ago.  NO.  An inmate could not "pick" nor "sell" a cell.  Cells were assigned, pretty much as described by Deacon.  the institution I worked at, had "Levels" of custody.  Ranging from Maximum to Minimum.  Your specific crime, type of sentence, record of violence, drug use, etc. determined where in general population an inmate was housed.

 

Certain levels of "distractions" were "overlooked."  We did not take all of the Homemade Booze, all of the marijuana, nor did we isolate those "gay" inmates.  I don't know if smoking has been banned in the Federal System.  Been a long time ago and the institution I worked at is now closed.

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I've spent some time in prison thru Kairos for the last 12 years or so. Going in Thu thru Sun (hopefully, Robertson Unit is currently on lockdown) and am a volunteer chaplain there. As may be expected most what you see on TV and the movies is hogwash.

JHC

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