For some prisoners, survival often means joining a prison gang. There are many benefits to joining a prison gang. One of these benefits is protection. Prison politics dictate that no gang or race should put their hands on another gang or race. This is strictly enforced by powerful gang leaders who dictate what happens in prison.
However, joining a prison gang is a double-edged sword. Being a gang member, you’re obligated to fight whenever one of your gang member gets into a fight. There’s a one-for-all all-for-one mentality that exists in prison gangs that you have to have as well. Even though you’re trying as best you can to keep your head down and stay out of trouble, you can still incur the wrath of another inmate just because you’re a member of your own gang and not because he has a problem with you personally.
The bottom line is, there’s no real protection when you join a prison gang. You’re just putting your life in more danger by joining them. So the main question is, how to survive in prison or jail without joining a gang? The answers to this question are as follows:
•Be a Facilitator – A facilitator is someone who knows how to get stuff for people in prison, from a pack of cigarettes to things that normal inmates don’t have access to. Of course, to be a facilitator, you have to be in the good graces of prison staff. This means displaying a high level of respect at all times and also being friendly with the guards. Being comfortable with the guards and being in their good graces gives you certain privileges like having access to certain areas of the prison where normal inmates are restricted. If you become a facilitator in prison, you automatically become an asset to every inmate. You become so important to them that they themselves wouldn’t dare take you out unless they want to lose the only person that could get them rare items. Be careful, however, not to be suspected of being a snitch. Being comfy with the prison staff may be taken the wrong way by the wrong people in prison. Keep in mind that snitching is a big no-no inside prison. It doesn’t matter whether you actually snitched on somebody or you’re just being suspected of it. Inmates don’t want to give the wrong message and let a snitch go. They will take you out the first chance they get.
•Get a Job Inside the Prison Education System – Having a job teaching in the prison education system also puts you in good light with prison management and staff. Teaching and staying out of trouble shows that you are more than willing to turn your life around for the better. Not only that, it also shows that you want to help other inmates turn their lives around as well; get an education so that when they go back out into the real world after they serve their time, it wouldn’t be difficult for them to start their lives over. This time, you become a good asset to prison management. You’ll most likely be put a low security cell block where inmates are more passive and aren’t trouble makers. This translates to a much easier prison life. For inmates who don’t want to take risks, this is the most effective way on how to survive in prison or jail without joining a gang.
•Request for Protective Custody – If you find yourself being constantly harassed since you’re not with any gang, ask prison management to put you under protective custody. Protective custody is usually reserved for inmates who are convicted of a sexually related crime, inmates who turned state witness, or inmates who are too old or weak to defend themselves. Under protective custody, you’re put inside a separate cell block whose security are much tighter than the prison’s general population. This is done to ensure that you’re not exposed to anybody who might want to wish you harm. Sadly, this is still not a guarantee of protection. If someone is really motivated to kill you for any reason, they’ll pretend that they need protective custody as well. They’ll be put in the same protective cell block that you’re in so that they can take you out. There are already many documented instances where inmates are still being killed despite being under protective custody. This is the reason why prison officials made the screening process for inmates requesting for protective custody more strict.
•Request to be Transferred to a Medium security prison – A maximum security prison houses the worst of the worst. If you find that you cannot survive there, then you should do your best to contact your lawyer and ask him to arrange your transfer to a medium, or even a minimum security prison. Not having the guts to survive in a maximum security facility means you’re not such a badass or a threat to anybody anyway. So asking your lawyer to arrange your transfer would be a good move on your part. Of course, the final decision for the transfer still falls on the judge. It would be in your best interest if you showed good manners and right conduct at all times while serving time, so that the judge will approve of your transfer without any fuss.
•Don’t antagonize gang members – As mentioned previously, gang members have a one-for-all all-for-one mentality. If you have beef with a gang member inside prison, you have beef with all of them. If a gang member is trying to be an asshole, let it slide. Whatever trouble he’s causing you, it’s not worth getting stabbed over. Always be on the defensive. Do not be on the offensive or they will jump you quicker than you can say “shit.”
There are many small things that you can do to survive in prison that don’t involve joining a specific group. However, the two main points mentioned above are truly the most effective ways on how to survive in prison or jail without joining a gang.