One thing about prison is you have a lot of different personalities packed into a confined space. One type of inmate to look out for and be aware of is the one looking to intimidate new guys.
I wasn’t prepared for these interactions, and it took me a while to adjust how I reacted to them.
Certain inmates will see how far they can push others around, and if they don’t get any push back, then the behavior is rewarded, and they continue. But if they meet with resistance, they will move on.
So the first time I got put into this situation was around six months into my sentence. I was sitting in the TV room watching a show or maybe even a game, but all of a sudden, an inmate approached me and asked me to step out into the hallway. The guy was 6′ 5″ tall, 235-250 lbs, and was solid muscle.
He told me he didn’t like me bouncing around in seats and something bad could happen to me if I sat in the wrong seat. I told him I had permission from the people whose seats I was sitting in, but he told me he still didn’t want me to sit in them.
I didn’t know exactly why he picked me out, but I knew one thing I wasn’t going to get my ass kicked over it. So, what did I do? I didn’t go back into the TV room for a day or so and talked to the guys again who seats I usually sat in, and they said don’t worry about it and maybe spoke to him, because he didn’t say anything to me again.
However, I found out that this was a regular occurrence with this guy, as no more then a few weeks later he had an altercation with a friend of mine at the microwave, who was more prepared for the situation than I was. My buddy was next to the microwave, and there were a few people behind him, and here comes big, tall, and angry. He told my friend he is next for the microwave, and my buddy looked at him and said, he could be, but first they are going to have to go on the back wall and whoever comes back gets next.
The guy quickly said, “alright, big dog. I’m just messing with you; I can wait.” I didn’t laugh out loud because I did know what kind of man this guy was, one that probably deserved to be in prison.
I have only had to deal with a few more guys like this throughout my time in prison, and I found out that most times its self inflicted because of the people you chose to work with, live with, or hang out with.
That day in the TV room probably couldn’t have been avoided since all I wanted to do was watch TV, but most times you can avoid the situation. I am not a shy, timid, and easily scared individual, but I will be the first to admit that I was out of my element in Milan and felt very uncomfortable.
It was a new environment that I had never experienced in my life, strangers surrounded me, and shit, I guess I was a little scared, to be honest.
So, how do you avoid these people and take the path of least resistance that doesn’t include hiding in your room all day?
In prison, you will have a routine or schedule that will include a variety of activities, including exercise, TV viewing, work, living arrangements, and classes.
If you find yourself running into the same person you don’t get along with, or you start to realize that the person enjoys making your life miserable, then it’s time to switch up your schedule.
You are already in prison you don’t need to make your stay even worse by subjecting yourself to optional punishment. However, when you are forced into these situations, the best way to react is to stay calm and think rationally.
Try to figure out why the individual has a problem with you and even let them know if you have done something to offend them, you apologize.
Sometimes you just have to remove yourself from the situation and approach the individual at a later time when they aren’t going through whatever they are going through.
Of course you can always take option B like my buddy did and offer to go somewhere and handle it like men, but then you have to be prepared for the challenge being accepted, and then you are risking your good time and privileges that you hold very valuable, such as phone calls and visits with your family.
So most times you have to ask yourself what’s more important. All the people who walk around trying to intimidate people eventually find someone who calls there bluff and I think it’s funny how things tend to work themselves out. Better to let someone else teach them the lesson, though.
I am 33 years old, and I guess it’s better to grow up late than never. 🙂
Thanks for listening!
From the inside,