I work in a Military Prison. Ask me anything (Part II)

I started http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=631030 this when I first got in a prison.

I have been away for awhile and have seen a request to return. (Thanks, Elendil’s Heir). I will be back to answer your questions now that I have gotten some more free time.

Thank you for the interest.

SFC Schwartz,

Welcome back, SFC Schwartz.

Unless I’m reading wrong, it appears congratulations are in order on your promotion. (E-7, yes?)
Given the necessarily tight relationship between politics (and politicians) and the US military, have you ever come across an inmate that was “railroaded” into prison for failing to comply with orders that conflicted with generally accepted military standards of behavior? I’m referring to Abu Ghraib type stuff here.

Someone, somewhere, ordered or was functionally responsible for overseeing the behavior of the line staff at that in-theater operation. Typically, the fall guys seem to be low-level operatives when these things come to light. Sometimes, they really are bad guys, I guess.


And, thanks for sharing your experiences…

don’t have any question at the moment, but welcome back!


SFC Schwartz

Coke or Pepsi?

Yes, I did get promoted last year, thank-you for noticing.

In answer to your question, I have not seen anyone railroaded into prison for failing to comply with orders or even accepted behavior. I have seen two examples in which direct leadership was responsible for getting their Soldiers sent to prison.

As I have said before, I can’t get into specifics, and I am afraid this will turn into another debate of semantics, but in the first case I worked with, the direct leadership know the right thing to do with detainees, and asked for volunteers to assist in the murder of detainees. All involved with the murders were sent to prison or given a Bad Conduct Discharge. The leadership who suggested it was sentenced to prison.

In another case, the leader chose to threaten his Soldiers with killing them if they refused to participate in the murders. The leader was sent to prison with a life sentence and those involved got a lesser sentence if they got prison time at all.

So, it seems to me, more likely that if a leader tried to get another Soldier to commit crimes for him, the leader would be more likely to do serious time. The Soldier, if he complied may only get a discharge.

SFC Schwartz

Dr. Pepper. I picked that habit up down in Texas and can’t seem to drink anything else.

SFC Schwartz

Hello sir,

How orderly are the prisoners?

What are the most common offenses that the prisoners get put in for?

Thank you for the responses in advance.

Query #1

Has anyone escaped from your facility, or any other military prison ? I would guess not but after reading your previous thread and not finding this question posed to you, I figured I would ask.

Query #2

Is there a real “SSG Schwartz” ? I am assuming that like the rest of us, you selected a SDMB user name based on a real or fictional character so I was curious. If I am out of line with this question, please accept my apology.

The prisoners are usually pretty orderly. They go to where they are supposed to be at any point in the day and will respect the orders of the correctional staff (guards) even if they don’t respect the staff-member. Most just want to do what it takes to go home and violating the rules will not get them sent home any sooner. They also have a certain amount of discipline instilled in them, so they know that they should do what is right.

Most of the inmates (about 75%) are in for sex offenses. Of those, over half are in for sex offenses against children.

Thank you for asking.

SFC Schwartz

We have had a few escapes. Not for at leas the last five years, but we had one in which the inmate walked out with a few staff members like he was with them and the guards all assumed he was with another guard and didn’t ask the inmate what he was doing walking outside. When the inmate got outside, he couldn’t find another crowd of guards to blend into, so he went back inside the prison to the egress point and turned himself in.

In another escape, we had two inmates hop into the back of a trash truck. They hopped out about ten miles down the road and were soon spotted walking along the highway in prison uniform.

Controls have been put in place to ensure that neither of these attempts will be successful if they are tried in the future, but I cannot elaborate on what changes were made.

I am the real SSG Schwartz. Well now, I am SFC Schwartz, but I am not really creative and my username is close enough to my real name that I don’t forget it. Some people who know me still think I am a fictional character, so I don’t see any reason to be offended.

SFC Schwartz

Ever worked at Mannheim correctional facility? If so, when? I may have been your model prisoner (smoking hash).

No, USDB is my only assignment so far. I would appreciate a model hash smoking inmate at some times.

SFC Schwartz

Greetings from the Netherlands! I have read both of your threads and I found them very interesting. Thanks for letting us ask you questions! :slight_smile:

My question – Has it ever happened that a guard abuses his or her authority and mistreats inmates in any of your prisons? How are they disciplined in such a case? (I imagine that it may have happened – However, I also imagine that it likely is a rare occurrence).

(This came into my mind because I remembered what happened to my father after the Spanish Civil War was over, and he was sent to military prison basically for having been in the losing side. His experiences were… not pretty).

All the best,


After you had dropped off the face of the earth I was afraid you had gotten in trouble for the last thread.

Welcome back and congrats on the promotion.

Do you see a significant amount of certain MOSs in prison? Not to pick on the 11Bs but are there more infantry than finance clerks or another non-combat arms MOS, for instance?

You may have touched on this in your last thread and I’d have to look back if you did, but what are the differences between putting officers and enlisted in prison? Both are busted down but they’re separated, right?

I didn’t see the last thread, so this might be a repeat, but: IYO, how does a Military Prison differ from a regular prison (in general)?

How does it differ from the guards perspective?

How does it differ from the prisoner’s perspective?

What happens when an inmate succeeds at appeal or is otherwise vindicated / found innocent?

I was not expecting that answer…wow! Is this specific to your location, as in, is that the place they send the sex offenders, or would guess it’s like that everywhere?

When you say sex offenses against children, do you mean like possession of pornography, distribution of pornography, or the in-person sexual abuse of actual children? Or all of these things? Do you know what the breakdown is?