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Old 04-23-2013, 08:52 PM
SSG Schwartz SSG Schwartz is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Leavenworth, KS
Posts: 3,229
Originally Posted by Projammer View Post
Do the prisoners tend to form up into groups or cliques like they do in the civilian system? My BiL is a nurse in the local federal prison so I get to hear some of the more interesting stories.

Not as much as you would think. There are racial divisions, but it isn't about race. Each inmate joins a section when they first arrive to general population. The sections are "White Cats," "Brother section," and the Hispanics. The Hispanics pretty much take all the races that are not white or black. (For example, Philippine, Samoan, Native American, etc.)

The divisions are not about race, as I said, so much as there are three TV's in each housing unit. There are six phones in each housing unit, with two in each section, and there are three tables in each section.

The divisions make it easier for a new guy to know what TV he can watch or where he can sit at a table. It also ensures that each inmate has a TV to watch or a table to sit at. The racial divides come in because it is easy to see two Brothers sitting in a section and realize that you may not be welcome there if you are white, but know you can sit down if you are black.

The divisions also give some of the newer or socially awkward guys someone to talk to if they have problems. Suppose you were new to prison and a small of stature person and an older and bigger inmate took your shoes. You would have to fight and lose if you didn't have a senior person of your section to talk to the person who took from you.

Again, dividing by race is just an easy way to identify who will represent you in a problem.

The inmates also divide by length of sentence. The short term inmates will have a harder time making friends with the longer term inmates. It isn't a hard rule, but most of the long term inmates don't really want to get to know someone who will be out in 10 years because then they will see a lot of people come and go, knowing they will be there even longer.

Marines seem to flock together. Maybe because they believe the, "Once a Marine, always a Marine" credo, or maybe because it is a common bond.

Special Forces, Rangers, and special skills like that seem to hang out together for the same reason as the Marines.

One difference is that there are not cliques. A white inmate could approach a black inmate with a problem if he is the only section leader around. He could tell the leader his problem and may get a solution or may get told that it will be talked about by the other section leaders. The problem won't be ignored mostly because the inmates don't want the cops (guards) involved in the day-to-day business of running the housing unit.

SFC Schwartz