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Behind a Convicts Eyes

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Essay title: Behind a Convicts Eyes

The sound the gates made when walking threw the breezeway leading to the processing center was a sound that no one can ever forget. Having the “THUD” of the sliding doors shut will always be a remembrance in the mind of any person. Either an inmate who is going into the system for the first time or for a staff member, the sounds of the correctional facility’s gates and doors should be enough to make a person walk the straight and narrow. Having worked in a correctional facility for five years taught me to respect the law. Also talking with the inmates was a real life experience but having read the text of Behind a Convict’s Eyes has made me realize what a great life that already exists.

After reading the text in Behind a Convict’s Eyes it has not really changed any of my understandings of prison life. Having worked in the prison system, even though the two prisons I worked in were not as bad as the prisons systems that have been on television or stories of the prisons in the bigger cities such as New York or California. The five years of working in the two prisons was a life experience for me. Seeing inmates being shanked (stabbed by homemade objects) right on the yard during broad daylight and the offending inmate did not care if he was going to have additional charges filed against him with more time attached to his sentence. Doing dormitory checks and finding inmates have intercourse with each other, there was no shame and as the reading stated it is a natural way of life for these inmates. Not all of them are homosexual but they do have needs to fill. Most heterosexual male inmates that were ever accused of being homosexual will fight in a heartbeat to protect their name and honor. Even though they may have sex with another inmate they do not look at it sex with another male. The most memorable inmate fight was between two inmates. They were fighting over accusations made by each other to other inmates. The one inmate took his lock off his locker placed it in a sock and cracked open the other inmates nose. The inmate bartending and trading was also accurate to the prisons way that I worked. Inmates were always trying to make canteen runs for the officers to hopefully get some sort of tip or get an officer to by him a cup of noodles or a twenty-five cent can of soda. An experienced correctional officer could usually tell who the dorm canteen operator was. There was always one person in each dorm that ran a canteen out of his locker. The one prison had monetary values that an inmate could not have more than twenty dollars of canteen and cash on him. If they did it was confiscated and they would receive time in segregation. The other prison had a plastic card and they could not have more than fifteen dollars worth of canteen also no cash were allowed. Also this prison was designed that the inmates were not allowed any jewelry or even their own tennis shoes. Every inmate was assigned converse sneakers and the inmates Nike’s, Reeboks, or whatever type the inmate had was shipped back home. The superintendent or warden believed that this would cut down on the fights and gambling. The inmates found other ways to gamble by using the inmate’s canteen.

The adaptation strategies used by “Annonymous N. Inmate” and the other inmates in adjusting to prison life were very accurate. After reading the text I remember watching the fresh meat or new inmates being transferred into the prison every Tuesday and Thursday. The prison would receive inmates from the processing centers or just transferred from another prison system. The inmates that were already assigned to the prison would stand near the fence to watch the new arrivals. The old inmates would pick out the new inmates that they would turn them into punks. You could tell how the new inmates would handle themselves by the way they walked, talked, and even their stares at the old inmates. We would have some inmates place themselves in to protective custody right off the start. These inmates would say that they saw an inmate in the yard that had threatened them and they needed to go into protective segregation. They had it made in our protective segregation. The protective segregation had air conditioning and the inmate was served his meals to him three times a day. The officers made the canteen runs twice a week for them. They were able to go into the gated cell run on the backside of segregation for two hours a day if they wanted recreation. The prison had the gangs; the two biggest groups of gangs were the Hispanics and the skin heads. Than we had the inmates that stayed to themselves or they would be snitches to the officers because they did not want any trouble in their dormitory at night. There were inmates that were classified as the prison lawyers and the respected elders of the prison. Than as time went by I can remember a conversation with one of the elders asking me about

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