Strange how when I come to prison everyone is trying to create their own communities, especially when you consider not many prisoners have ever experienced healthy communities.
When I think about why this might be I tend to gravitate towards the structure of prison as the key. I do not mean all the rules or prison politics. I mean physical proximity. In some prisons there are 120 people living in 60 rooms and they live there for years. They work out together, use the same phones, microwaves, and laundry services. The same gym times and work locations, the same visitation room. Other prisons have a lot less then that living together. This creates a sense of community all on its own.
It is near impossible to not get to know the people around you, whether it is positive, negative, or indifference. It happens.
Besides the proximity to one another, inmates are isolated from the world. Because most need some socialization for psychological health and well-being we tend to build networks with those we frequently interact with.
This sense of community did not exist outside of prison for me. No sense of belongingness to anything, not qualified or rich or elite enough. But, we can fix that. It really is an easy fix and I have to wonder how different our country might be if we simply interacted with our neighbors enough to know how we can benefit them.