Prison Mentality: What Is Wrong With It?
Obviously having a mentality that is developed in prison can’t be a good thing. But why? What’s wrong with it. You from the outside looking in, it’s plain to see what’s wrong, but for those inside…it appears as though things are a bit foggy.
In fact, right this very minute as I type this message there is a morbidly obese man hollering about chow times. “I ain’t gonna eat when they tell me to eat, I’m gonna eat when I want to eat”. Basically he’s taunting the day room that he has a few soups in his house and can choose to eat them instead of mainline. Whatever. What I pulled from his display isn’t his message but his mindset. Just one example of what I am talking about.
But that very same display that he is putting on is also the same one the people put on to ostracize another inmate. We all know what ostracism is. But in here it’s irreversible. Once your labeled, that’s it. Your that to almost everyone. Common labels are weirdos and snitches. Weirdo in here is a bad word, like punk, bitch etc. When you call someone a weirdo what your saying is “I’m better then you and now I am publicly declaring it” That person becomes permanently labeled. Not like out there, if you call your buddy a weirdo your typically just pointing out one of his/hers eclectic behaviors. In here it’s socially fatal.
Snitching is such a bad thing because it means you’ve told on someone for something. Once your labeled that, no one talks to you. What amazes me is that everyone follows this code. What they are saying is “I want to do bad things and get away with them, I want to commit unrighteous acts and have everyone around me turn a blind eye”. And here is the amazing part, everyone for the most part does. That is what blows me away, even the co’s in here appreciate the “code” of inmates. Ridiculous. I don’t like snitches for another reason. Mainly because if you see someone doing something and you run to the police you are weak, not because you are telling on someone but because you could just as easily stop them yourself and not involve anyone else. The bible says teaches that discretion is a precious possession. We can privately talk to people and teach them better ways. No need to make them lose good time and visits and blah blah blah. I won’t ostracize someone but I will keep my distance. I have had some real creepy encounters. For instance, one day I shook a mans hand, he was very creepy indeed. He talked like a crack headed smithers off of the simpsons and when I shook his hand, I felt hair. I immediately jerked back and he had hairy palms due to a skin graft. I was very freaked out and if you couple the hairy palms with the creepy voice, well, then you get the big weird factor.
I try to isolate those thoughts though, it’s not healthy to place yourself above anyone else and by me saying even that about someone else is simply buying into the established hierarchy of this place. One that is old and worn out and obviously ineffective.
I write that to write this, I am working on changing that mentality. Me and many other men in here. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. We have done wrong all our lives, our parents taught us the wrong thing, if not them then our Uncles and aunts, our friends and the neighbour down the street. I want to think healthily. I want to stand up for the person that is trying to do it themselves but cannot. But at least they tried. When they do, I aim to make sure that they are not alone. That when I recognize that someone is fighting unrighteousness with righteousness, that I am allied with them. Why, because it’s the right thing to do..
Jeff Utnage 823469