Giggidy, on Thursday, September 11th, 2008, 6:25 AM, said:
Was it a case of if someone was perceived weak/easy target they were picked on more?What was the biggest change to yourself from before/after being inside?
The weak are definitely preyed on more. The weakest usually tap out and do the heavy religious thing with inmate ministry or check in to protective custody. Prison is definitely full of predatory type personalities, which is a large part of the reason that I say I would take a poker team made of high IQ prisoners over a poker team made up of Ivy League scholars any day. Occasionally, someone wound up in there who was totally outside of the "inmate norm" and had very little 'street smarts' to work with. Usually, your upper-middle class white kids who sold a bit too much weed during college, your regular 'average Joe' type guys who got tagged with a DUI injury/manslaughter case... There are definitely two sides to life; most prisoners were born into the ugly side of life and just continued living it. It's a side of life that regular people won't ever see or remotely understand, but should they ever find themselves in prison, they're forced to learn how to deal with the more unfortunate aspects of human nature whether they like it or not. My time definitely had an impact on me.While I've never really been a criminal type, I've never been naive about much, either. Asking a person with a normal upbringing who has been living an otherwise normal life to enter that environment will be a huge shock to their perception of life. I came from very little, was raised in a shitty neighborhood, "heard gunshots" as a kid, learned from an early age about people and how they are prone to behave in certain situations, etc, so getting by in the joint was simply an extension of that. Still, no matter where or what you may come from, you can't leave a place like that without it having some kind of an impact. My greatest personal strength has always been my adaptability, so it served me damn well in there. Still, after release, adaptability can often devolve into complacency, as you perpetually adapt to the next lower rung on your way down the ladder. You will often find that the lowest people in society (prisoners, people in trailer parks, people in ghettos) are usually the most "adaptable" people, since their complete lack of standards allows them to comfortably accept whatever miserable situation they're in. After I did my time, I had to work very, very hard to resist this and keep moving upwards. I came from the bottom, worked my way out and was sent right back to the bottom again, so I have to fight the natural urge is to just remain there; once you've seen that elephant, you realize how totally trivial and over-emphasized many things are. I've struggled to keep things in perspective and remain upwardly mobile as a result of my time- at times, everything seems pointless, but I'm doing OK at this time. It could all change tomorrow.