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What Prison is Like in the Morning - Prison Inmate Search

What Prison is Like in the Morning

What is prison like

There are many opinions about how to resolve the many problems of the American prison system. Why does the United States have more prisons and inmates than any other country. Why does the United States have a high recidivism rate? It may help the pundits if they had some familiarity with actual everyday life for an inmate. We have discussed previously   “What is Prison Really Like”? Prison movies concentrate on the portrayal of the violence of inmates and the brutality of correctional officers. In the real prison world, most inmates are not violent and most correctional officers are not brutal. The movies and prison television shows do not show the actual every day life of inmates. Violence is part of the prison environment, but the prison life is composed of many different scenes.

A typical winter morning breakfast in Hagerstown, Maryland:

Breakfast was approximately at 5A.M. The inmate had a few hours of sleep and the decision was whether to go to breakfast. The decision did not involve putting on his clothes since he was fully dressed all night including his winter coat and socks for gloves. The cell’s window has been broken for months despite repeated requests for repair. The nights of 20 – 30 degrees turned the cell into an icebox. The prison regulations prohibited gloves for inmates, thus he used socks to cover his hands. The mystery meat for dinner turned the inmate’s stomach into a war zone for part of the night, but the thought of hot coffee propels him to go to breakfast. He usually made hot coffee from the water in the cell sink, but the hot water was not working for the past week.

As he exited his housing unit, there were streams of blue lines of inmates pouring forth from the other housing units walking to the chow hall. There were guards in the yard watching the inmates. The officers were obviously unhappy about their morning duty. One guard screamed at an inmate who wore only his t-shirt. The inmate argued that the cold did not bother him, but we all saw that he was shivering. It was the inmate’s way to show in this bizarre manner that he was still an individual among all of the blue coats. All of the inmates marched into the chow hall hoping that the guards would allow at least 10 minutes for breakfast. There have been meals where after 5 minutes, the guards smiled and motioned that the meal was over. During those times, as the inmates walked from their tables, they stuffed food into their mouths. Some inmates would hide food in their pockets. Depending on which officers were on duty, certain correctional officers searched the inmates and would confiscate the food. There were also other guards who would look the other way.

Breakfast was over and the inmate was back in his cell. He waited for the winter morning to warm up the cell.

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15 Responses to What Prison is Like in the Morning

  1. PrisonPath March 7, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Enjoyed reading this true life account of morning prison life.
    By Kathy

  2. PrisonPath March 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    by Ian–Will anything really ‘work’ when the USA imprisons 32% of the world’s inmates and the penal system is their second largest employer after its postal service? I despair when I hear of yet another MP or Mayor going over to the States to see ‘what works’ around gang interventions and reducing recidivism. They would be much better served staying closer to home in countries like Germany and Portugal which have seen declines in their prison populations.

  3. PrisonPath March 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    By Kathy–Not helped by penal policies that embrace punitive systems such as 3 strikes and you’re out. Without diversionary measures/rehabilitation and an unwillingness to adopt less punitive attitudes, it is difficult to see how the USA’s obsession with incarceration will ever improve. My only fear is that the UK will follow suit.

  4. PrisonPath March 9, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    By Karan– Mark,
    I do not know enough about what each person faces when they are released, but I do know from personal experience, what the children go through. The numbers show that 80% of a felons children end up as felons (that is 3 children out of four) and of those 3 children, their children will cycle again, so, providing they each have 4 children, you would have 13 people in prison over a pretty short time, the parent, 3 children and 9 grands. And the cycle does not stop there. And so,
    What we want to do is hire a former felon, teach him/her to own their own business, incubate that business within our business, and when he/she has their papers (off parole) they should have money saved and enough business to go out on their own and do the same (hire a former inmate) . If everyone would do that for just one person, the problem would be so much less that you would ever think. I was told that here in Colorado, if every 3rd business owner would hire someone right now, our unemployment rate would not exist (I did not research this but it came from a government source) .
    I would ask that you think about two aspects of this, one, is that if God were in the lives of each person, their entire life would change, and that takes a little education and some prayer. Anyone can do this that knows God. (I am open if anyone would like to know how), and if given the help and tools to become a business owner, the former inmate would look at themselves differently, they would have a new definition, some dignity and, their children would copy someone else. Does that make sense?
    We believe that our children do what we do, hardly ever what we say. They copy who we are,and what we do, so help people to be someone that is good to copy. Anyone can do this. Our plan is to help 4 people in 5 years.
    I do have allot of questions, before we are up and running, and we need prayer. I know that this doesn’t help the ones who are out and struggling, I am sorry for that, and I will pray for you.But, hopefully, someone will see and hear this and follow suite.

  5. PrisonPath March 9, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    By Tami–Charlotte, many would agree with you … while many are too closed to even begin to hear the word of our Saviour. One must remember that each one of those men or women behind bars has a unique past – different, although perhaps sometimes similar in nature, to our own. Kairos Prison Ministry is indeed a vital link to attempt to reach those who are incarcerated … and those loved ones of the incarcerated … with the vital message of God’s love in the darkest place of their life. God’s love is there for them – perhaps the ones who need the redefining power of His love more than any. But it must be delivered in a structured, proven pattern that has been shown to merit benefit and gather lives and souls for Christ. We aren’t there to judge or to save … we are merely there to listen and to love. The rest is up to God Himself. I am an avid Kairos Prison Ministry volunteer.

    I wish the healing power of Christ were the only answer, but unfortunately, it is not. God is NOT only here in the American prison system … for He is abound. We must look at alternative options for nonviolent offenders and stricter sanctions for repeat offenders. We need to look at ways of improving our rehabilitation practices. We need to look at crucial programs for offender assistance, post release, in order that they can find meaningful work, and be involved in a stringent accountability program to help prevent relapse. This preparedness needs to begin in-house.

    Be blessed sister. And may you remember to keep those who are incarcerated … and their loved ones, in prayer.

    • Jhon March 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

      Arnold’s on the very front line of what America’s future looks like. Like the auto iurdstny with the unions, California pays its employees WAY TOO MUCH ($80K a year for cops and $60K a year for teachers) to ever be competitive in a global economy over the next few decades.Think about it, California has the largest US export in entertainment, high tech, tourism, and a huge agriculture base, and yet they’re nowhere near a balanced budget in the very best of times.Taxes will go up dramatically (up from 10% state income tax now) and expenditures will go down dramatically. It’s not “if” but “when”. And even then it’ll be too late and the state will look to the feds to bail them out by buying the shitty munis during the next downturn.It costs $30k a year to incarcerate people and over 50% who are in jail are there for drug offenses (and yes, I’ve seen enough cop shows to know that they use possession of drugs to convict violent guys who they don’t have enough evidence agaist). Arnold’s doing the right thing and it’s too bad he’s not our president.Ultimately, though, it’s too little too late.

  6. PrisonPath March 9, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    By Karan–Ok, I just looked at the sights that Mark placed here, they are awesome. I want to ask about it for anyone who knows or has an opinion; I have talked to many people about having a business for this purpose, Most will say something negative bc they like the idea but “not in their own backyard”, I am even having problems getting a quote for insurance for my shop bc I mentioned Felons. How are these businesses doing since they are open about what they are doing and who insures them? Does it do the business better to not mention hiring former inmates? We will need to make money to help them and I want to do my best. I am not upset, nor ashamed, I was shocked in fact, to get the responses I did get.

    • Lynn March 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

      Laura,None of those countries lisetd are exactly paradises of freedom that we would like to emulate. What’s next? flogging people for chewing gums like Sigapore does? The ethnic Chinese countries (that includes, China, Taiwan, Hongkong and Singapore) have an irrational view towards drugs. The old Manchu Empire of China was the first nation-state in the world that banned drugs, back in the early 19th century, and they got their ass kicked by the British Empire, which enforced free trade with battleships. Over time, an anti-drug policy became a veiled xenophobia policy there by the local elites. The reality is that, vast tracts of drugs are planted in Thailand, Malaysia and China; some of their militaries even engage in the trade, despite the very strict laws against drugs. The dopehead accusation is also uncalled for. I hardly drink any alcohol myself (perhaps 2-3 glasses of wine in a year, which I can certainly do without), but I can still be against the prohibition, and even an advocate of removing drinking age . . . so that kids can avoid binge drinking in college as a rite of passage. It’s just a matter of thinking in terms of reality instead of rigid modelling of the world of: if it’s against law, it must never happen. Reality takes place whether we like it or not; we can ony decide whether we want to pay extra taxes to pretend reality doesn’t exist.

  7. PrisonPath March 9, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    By Liza&Harry–well…should not be shocked that a person’s mistakes follow them for much of the rest of their lives…and it real hard to find someone…anyone…that will give a former inmate a chance at beginning a new life after being locked up…yes, this ” not in my backyard ” is a big factor in all of this, but I praise all on here that are trying to turn things around.
    We have tried to get involved in the prison reform movement but it’s hard sometimes to just come up with the gas money to go to these meetings and give testimony about the abuse
    that go’s on inside…but we do what we can

  8. PrisonPath March 9, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    By John–I thought “debtors prison” went out in the 1700’s under the Kings law in Europe. I am a landlord and sometimes it would be nice to have a completely unfair advantage over a tenant but the inhumanity, inequitable and unconstitutionality of this kind of law is outrageous and I am shocked that it has gone on for so long.

  9. PrisonPath March 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    terri– likes your discussion:

    What is Prison Like in the Morning – PrisonPath

  10. Kevin March 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    Arnold’s on the very front line of what America’s future looks like. Like the auto irutsdny with the unions, California pays its employees WAY TOO MUCH ($80K a year for cops and $60K a year for teachers) to ever be competitive in a global economy over the next few decades.Here we go again! Another left-wing liberal shving the “global economy” crap down out throats. Unless you want to give up your job to work for $10 a day as they do in asia, shut yout stupid mouth.It costs $30k a year to incarcerate people and over 50% who are in jail are there for drug offenses (and yes, I’ve seen enough cop shows to know that they use possession of drugs to convict violent guys who they don’t have enough evidence agaist).Oh… you saw it on TV. Well that sure makes you an expert. The fact is that they is no on in the state prison system who is there for smoking a joint, you dumb ass. Most of the felons being considered for release have violent records from the past who were then released but then put back in a a parol violation. You need to do a little more research instead of believing the rhetoric of idiot politicians like Arnold. Arnold’s doing the right thing and it’s too bad he’s not our president.No, he is an idiot! The state is $14 billion under budget because he was too dim to see that the increased revenues from the housing bubble were not going to last. Now he wants to spend another $14 to give out tax payer health care to illegals.

  11. Noomai March 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    California pays its employees WAY TOO MUCH ($80K a year for cops and $60K a year for taechers) to ever be competitive in a global economy over the next few decades.—cops and teacher salaries are not meant to compete on a global scale. You can’t hire a third worlder at $2/hr to police your city and not expect theft, graft, shakedowns, and get timely service.Same with taechers. people are people. if they feel that they are not getting what they deserve then they will not provide sufficent services. Civil service is NOT the same as building a car. If some fat over paid union guy slacks off and GM make a poor product you will buy Honda. The incentive to build a good product is inherent. If GM keeps sucking that lazy over paid union guy will eventually suffer the consequences. If the fireman can’t get to your housefire bec he is fvcking off trying to make ends meet bec you cut is salary in half you will have no recourse. Your house has already burnt down. Cutting his salary again won’t make him come any faster.

  12. PrisonPath March 12, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    By Sue–Texas has an organization called TIFA (Texas Inmates Families Association) http://tifa.org It is making a difference in that state. Other states should copy the idea and then voices will get stronger. Check it out. Collaborate. Team up. Unite your voices.


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