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Old 02-22-2019, 07:12 AM
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GingerM GingerM is offline
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Hi going in, and welcome to PTO.

I don't have any experience with ADTC specifically, but some answers I can give you seem to apply to all prisons in the US.

TV reception: most prisons bring in one big cable line, so your reception will be as good as the cable feeding it. The TVs are relatively small, but you'll be wanting that as space is at a premium (whether your in a dorm style unit or in a cell), and you'll be wanting headphones to go with the TV. TVs are usually incenctive items, meaning you need to have a clean record for a year or so before you're allowed by buy one, and they're typically expensive.

Expect purchasing anything to be a slow process. You'll order it, maybe a week later you'll get it, if you're lucky. Your funds are in an account and you have to have the funds to cover it when you place the order. As for prices, expect it to be akin to living life inside an airport - everything is small (no costco sized packs of anything) and it costs far more than is reasonable.

Gang problems are everywhere. As an SO, you will be tested when you first arrive. I strongly recommend that you find the "Loving a Sex Offender" forum here on PTO and read, post, ask questions.

Quoted below is a generic letter I send out to people with the SO tag stuck to them for how to stay as safe as possible. I've been told that it helped people new to the system tremendously.

I’ve been finding information given directly from people who have been in the exact situation you’re in now and made it. The following is information on how to keep yourself as safe as possible, as told to me by people with remarkably similar circumstances to your own.

Some pointers on "prison etiquette":

1. Always show respect to everyone.
2. Keep your eyes and ears open, and your mouth SHUT.
3. STAY AWAY from fights and trouble. You DO NOT want to be tagged as a witness.
4. DO NOT SNITCH, it can get you beat up or worse.
5. Do not borrow or become indebted, or the payback will more often than not be much more than you got.
6. Do not gamble, if you lose and do not pay you can get your ass kicked or worse.
7. Don't start a fight, but don't be a coward either, defend yourself, but don't start anything.
8. Follow the rules to the letter, but don't kiss up to staff. Treat staff with respect, but don't be buddy-buddy, that will make people suspicious of you.
9. Don't become someone's "friend" too easily. People in prison generally aren't there because they are a nice guy or trustworthy. Often people will be "friendly" expecting to gain something. Be wary, make people gain that trust, don't give it too freely.

Neither a borrower nor lender be.

This quote, from a person who has finished his sentence inside a really horrible institution:

“People were murdered there. People were beat up there on a daily basis.

But you know what. Those people were inmates who involved themselves in "extracurricular activities". The one that was killed was over a basketball game. I witness a number of fights. Disrespect is a very big deal there. Especially if you disrespected a Lifer. Also, borrowing money for cigarettes and drugs is another thing that will get you beat up or killed. Being loud and overly boisterous draws attention to you. Every sex offender I know that had issues was because he was constantly talking about how he was innocent and yet he never told the same story twice. Or he borrowed cigarettes. He got himself involved with illegal activities. He told on someone. Or he lied to someone.”

Another anecdote from someone recently released (again, all of this information is from people whose status was the same as yours, and who have finished their sentences):

“When I first got to the prison I was walking to the bathroom from my cube. As I was walking two guys called me over. I sat in his cube and said hello. They were trying to figure me out. I was new and knew nothing about me. One guy says to me, "What would you do if you were confronted and was forced to fight?" Without thinking too much I responded, "I don't think I will have that kind of problem. I'm not going to do anything that would cause that kind of problem." They accepted that and I moved on.”

One person commenting on her husband, who is now released:

“He did as suggested. Eyes, and ears open, mouth shut.
Didn’t borrow, gamble, fight, and basically had very little problems.”

On the topic of murders in prison: of all the people I’ve spoken with who were in prison with the same label as you will have? All have said that the only murders they knew about with certainty were gang or drug related, or a bad debt or snitching on people. In other words, if you do what these people have shared above and follow their advice, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.

Here is what one person said about reports of murders amongst the culture (underscore mine):

“First off, if he is hearing about murders from inmates. I would guess that 90% are made up. Inmates like the unrest it causes within the prison. Someone dies of natural causes. Someone goes to the box and transferred to another prison while in the box. Someone gets sick and transferred to another prison that can handle his sickness better. The inmates change it to murder by the CO's. If they don't know all the facts of why an inmate left the prison, they make up their own facts to fit what they like.”

My father died at the Oregon Pen. He bore the same label you do. Before he was diagnosed with cancer, he offered these tips for me to pass along to people entering the system with the label you carry:

1. Most sex offenders, especially older ones, worry about going outside to yard. Pretty much all the institutions have a walking/jogging track My dad highly recommended you start doing going to the track as soon as you can (you won't be allowed out if the weather is bad) - being outdoors will help with your mood and physical health, and you'll meet other people who are not as judgmental on the track. From what my Dad heard from people who have been at other institutions, this is true for pretty much all institutions in the system.

2. If someone does confront you, just leave. There is no reason to engage with hateful people or people with low self-esteem trying to make themselves look big. There is also a sort of unwritten understanding that you don't get in fights with lifers and you don't start fights with people over 50 (it's looked upon as something like stealing a kid's lunch money - beating up "old" people doesn't make you look tough, it makes you look like a wimp). So as long as you refuse to engage with them, no one is likely to do anything more than say ugly things. “Walk” away.

3. Keep your mouth shut and eyes open to learn how things work - it is a completely different culture and you need to treat it like you’re living in a foreign country where things we normally think are okay actually can land you in big trouble. There is a big difference in the culture from one institution to another - at OSCI, an inmate can talk to the guards about things like job openings and the like. From what my dad heard, at Two Rivers, inmates DO NOT talk to the guards unless they absolutely have to.

4. On the topic of extortion by other inmates and/or guards: the people most likely to get sucked into "paying rent" or being extorted are the young men who are desperate to fit in somewhere. If you simply refuse to pay anyone for anything or buy anything for anyone, you'll be fine. You will be tested once or twice when you first get there – if you haven’t already. If you refuse, most will leave you alone from there on out. If you do get sucked into an extortion situation, you have almost no recourse without making things more difficult on yourself (don't be a snitch).

I send this to you [post this] in hopes that you have the information you need to stay safe.
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