Is prison really as bad as they make it out to be on TV?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Don Black, Dec 23, 2001.

  1. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    So, I'm watching a rerun of Law and Order: SVU tonight and the typical police threats of prison rapes, beatings, and shankings were used to convince a suspect to confess. I'm curious if these kinds of things really happen as readily as its portrayed in the media? Certainly, they do happen and I'm sure it depends on the type of facility (e.g., max/min security). But are prisoners even regularly beaten, stabbed, and raped at maximum security facilities (by other inmates of course..not guards)?
     
  2. Jin E

    Jin E Second Unit

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    I know a guy who has been sen to prison for 5 years for involuntary manslaughter. I won't go into the stories I have heard... but the are just as bad, and probably worse then what is portrayed on TV.

    Then know another guy doing a year for white collar crime. He is doing time in minimun security... it's sort of like a resort.
     
  3. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    I've never been in prison (though I did spend 4 hrs in a local police cell when I was MUCH younger, wild and crazy...), but I'd have to think max/medium prison is much worse than can be portrayed.

    You are basically living in extreme close proximity with the swill of the earth. One sense that cannot be transferred via video and audio is smell. What do these guys smell like ? How do cells smell with that toilet in the middle ? How would you like to be going #2 with some bad-arse bubba standing next to you ?

    Gives me the heeby-jeebies.....
     
  4. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Never been to prison as an inmate. Have worked with prisons as part of an education program when I was younger.

    TV can't touch it, period. The heavy houses that are legends around this country are literal animal cages- violence both physical and sexual are 24 hour a day realities. Gang lifestyle is 100 times worse in prison than it ever is on the streets.

    A threat to be sent away to a max lockdown like East Jersey State Prison any of the other dozen or so facilities you've heard of- that is a serious threat to an inmate facing a few years. Do some reading on Murder statistics for inside the 5 biggest priosns in America- it's eye opening.

    -Vince
     
  5. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    got plans for going upstate or something? [​IMG]
     
  6. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    hehehe...nah...I've always just been curious if the standard threats and inuendos on TV shows were true or not. I guess they are!
     
  7. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Then I take it that you can't sue for living in an unsafe place? You could end up with a permanent scar or something that could prevent you from getting a 'better' (ha, ha) job when you got out.

    Of course, this is a 180 from the stuff they do get. Some internet credit card scams are running from them. Insane!

    Glenn
     
  8. John.W

    John.W Agent

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    I spent 2 days in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison when I was 17.

    I committed a stupid act of vandalism.

    But i was probably the youngest guy there and I'm white and @ the time weighed 165.

    No-body messed with me. i did see a guy get beaten to a pulp with a phone reciever and sandals. Its all in how you carry yourself. I didn't mess with anyone or run my mouth. the guy who got beaten ran his mouth A LOT.

    Now I know i wasn't in the worst area with the worst people but that was my experience there. All i did was watch a lot of TV and eat bad food.

    Now I was scared of shit happening.
     
  9. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    A lady in my church was always talking about her son who had been in prison for 20 years. None of that shit happened to him. He was on death row.
     
  10. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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    He was on death row.

    Death row is a totally different environment. Not a paradise by any means, but not the same as the general prison environment. The last thing the state wants is for the death row convicts to get a commuted sentence because they are treated poorly.
     
  11. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Funny, I was having a similar conversation yesterday with my friends. Some were swearing that they would never get raped in jail, that it all depends on how you carry yourself.
    The best protection agaisnt that is to join a gang immediately. Once you start hanging with the tough guys no one will fuck with you - well, perhaps except the though guys you are hanging with [​IMG]
    If I was to throw my values aside and commit a crime, getting gang banged in jail would be the single biggest deterent.
    --
    Holadem
     
  12. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    I honestly think it's worse. My brother has been in and out of jails for many years due to drug problems and he tells me that, not only do the rapes, fights, intimidation, etc. go on constantly, but the everyday routine without any hope of change wears down the human spirit. I remember that he once came out after a three year stint and snuck into the guest room of my parent's house and just pretty much lay in bed in the dark for about three days without anyone knowing he was there. I know something pretty bad had happened to him on that occasion, but he never told and I never asked.
     
  13. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    I've always assumed that rape/punk-outs, beatings, etc. were accepted and regular parts of prison, for lack of a better word, "life".

    Clearly the above punishments would never be constitutional

    but surely they would never be stopped by prison guards.

    Years ago there was a guy in our town that shot his wife with the intent to get insurance money. He was found guilty and now is in Angola Louisiana State Prison. I was at a party at the house of the murdered lady's parents and her mother told me that her former son in law has been admitted several times to a state hospital for recontructive colon surgery. She considered sending him a jar of Vasoline. That guy's in for life and apparently has already become a prison bride.

    You can be sure life inside is far worse than portrayed on TV.
     
  14. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    From what I've heard...Yes. I've known a few people over the years that have been to prison for various reasons. They've said it is bad but it doesn't happen to everyone. They say if you mind your own business you're usually OK. One guy said to go rent the movie American History X and you'll see a lot of the crap he witnessed while in the slammer.
    All I can say is this, if I had to go to prison I'd put a 9mm right through my head rather than live through that hell. Either that or I'd turn into a hannibal lecter and act like a crazy person. That should keep them away from me [​IMG]
    Jeff
     
  15. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  16. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    If you wanna hear some great prison stories, check out this episode of "This American Life":
    http://www.thislife.org/ra/119.ram
    The piece called "Hooking Up: Protective Pairing for Punks" is especially enlightening. Yikes. It's at around the 30 min mark. The next one about the comedians doing a gig in a prison is friggin' hilarious.
     

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