Prison guards and cops get locked up for a lot of reasons. Most of them go to jail because of domestic violence, driving while intoxicated, etc. Law enforcement officers who get jail time because of these kinds of reasons won’t have too much of a problem in prison.
These types of offenses will always send them to medium security prisons where typical inmates aren’t extremely violent. If for some reason a law enforcement officer committed a crime that lands them in a maximum security prison, it would be a completely different ball game. If you’re a law enforcement officer and you’re about to go to jail, you should start asking people how to survive an incarceration as an ex prison guard or police officer.
In a maximum security prison, the inmates that these ex officers will be spending time with are more dangerous. The inmates here are the worst and wouldn’t think twice about taking a life. However, cops who go to prison will only encounter the same issues as any other inmate unless they bring it upon themselves to have a very serious, life-threatening problem.
Nobody would recognize them outright as cops unless they themselves told another prisoner, which is not a smart thing to do. In reality, an ex-cop or ex prison guard’s life is under no threat even if inmates knew their former occupations. The only time that there would be a threat is when inmates think that you’re informing the prison guards on them.
If you’re an ex-cop or guard in prison and the other prisoners think that you’re a snitch, things could escalate pretty quickly. There’s nothing worse in prison than to be branded as a snitch. You’d be better off as a child molester than a snitch. If you’re both, then you’d better pick a religion and stick with it because you’re going to meet your maker soon.
If you’re a dirty cop and you end up inside a cell block where some of the prisoners know you, your survival will depend on whether or not you were helpful to them on the outside. If you were helpful to them at all, then you’d have an astonishingly easy time in prison. Otherwise, you’d be lucky if you can make it to the end of the week.
In most cases, prison guards have a feel for this sort of thing and they’ll know if prisoners are coming out to get you. Prisoners who are ex cops or ex guards that are marked for death usually get put in segregation so no one else could reach them. They would be spending the rest of their jail terms in the hole by themselves.
When entering prison as an ex-cop or ex guard, standard protocol dictates that prison management officials ask you if you have any known enemies. If you can provide a name, they’ll make sure that you don’t get put in the same block as that person. Aside from that, surviving in prison involves common sense. Don’t make trouble so that you don’t get into trouble.
Take for example the case of Drew Peterson. Drew Peterson was a former police sergeant from the state of Illinois who was found guilty of murdering his ex-wife, Kathy Savio. According to jail management experts, Peterson would get “eaten alive” by the inmates. Being a police sergeant who had handled much of the cases of the people inside the prison he was being sent to, Peterson would definitely have a harder time in prison compared to the other inmates.
The judge presiding over Peterson’s case gave him a sentence of 60 years for the murder of his ex-wife. Since the case was a very high-profiled one and was covered in TV, newspapers, and magazines, the inmates knew everything. They knew Peterson’s background, what he did, and where he worked. The inmates even cheered when the jury found him guilty.
Being that Peterson is a high-profile convict, Department of Correction officials will take precautions in placing him prison. Several factors will be taken into consideration such as the nature of his offense, the convict’s criminal history aside from the one he’s being convicted of now, and also the convict’s security and safety needs. When applicable, the convict’s prior employment may also be considered as an important factor in finding out whether it is necessary that they be placed in protective custody.
Prison officials placed Peterson in protective custody since he is a former officer of the law who was directly involved in the incarceration of most of the general population of the prison.
According to prison psychotherapists who closely monitor and evaluate prisoners’ mental state, there are many people inside prison who are in protective custody who wished they weren’t put in one. They want to be outside protective custody where they have a chance to interact with people and go out into the yard and work out or play just like the rest of the inmates. For them, being in protective custody is like being put into segregation i.e. the hole.
State officials think that former police officers choosing to be housed with the prison’s general population is not a problem. Police officers or prison guards can hold themselves in a very confident manner, physically. They are tough and assertive enough to make the other inmates think that they are not easy prey. Also, officers spend their whole career dealing with those kinds of people in prison. They are familiar with what goes on in an inmate’s mind—how they work, think, and communicate. And most importantly, they know the value of a good attitude inside prison.
If you’re an ex-cop or ex-prison guard who’s going into prison, it is important that you mind your attitude. Your attitude and how you deal with the other inmates will increase or decrease your chances of survival. Try to create a routine of your daily activities and stick with it. Never lose communication with your loved ones outside. Sometimes, clinging on to something valuable at the end of the line is what will help you survive and not lose hope. So that’s basically how to survive an incarceration as an ex prison guard or police officer.