Minimum security prison camp vs high security prison

By · Friday, October 10th, 2008

As a result of serving more than 16 years in higher security prisons, I really know how to appreciate my placement in a minimum-security camp. Other prisoners, especially those who are serving time for white collar crimes, fail to appreciate the comparable levels of freedom we enjoy in the camp. That is understandable, because those prisoners self-surrendered. Many of them never experienced handcuffs, much less the indignities of a strip search. Without an understanding of what higher security prisons are like, they sometimes take advantage of the less restrictive atmosphere of minimum-security camp. That is a mistake.

I recently read of a well known lawyer who supposedly offered a prison staff member use of his season tickets for an NFL team. The lawyer was a convicted felon serving time in a California minimum-security camp at the time, and he likely was lulled into believing that he and the officer shared a common humanity. The guard, however, was charged with the responsibility of keeping order in the camp. The guard may have played the incoming prisoner, engaging in conversation with the former high-flying lawyer as if the two were friends. The prisoner, enjoying the conversation, likely offered the tickets as a token of good will. Despite his being a lawyer, the prisoner did not appreciate the clear lines that are drawn between staff and inmates. Whereas the former lawyer likely saw the offer as a friendly gesture, staff members would have considered his actions as an attempt to bribe an officer. That prohibited act resulted in the former lawyer’s transfer to a higher-security prison in Arizona.

The less restrictive atmosphere of minimum-security camp makes a difference for the prisoner and those who love him. Although the prisoner may adjust to any environment, it is much easier on family members when the prisoner serves his time in a camp. With that goal in mind, prisoners ought to understand more about living in prison before they self-surrender.

Prisoners who are coming into the system should read the articles I wrote about how to avoid problems in prison. I have been incarcerated for more than 21 years, and my disciplinary record remains clean. I know how to thrive in prison, and I know to avoid problems with both staff and other prisoners.

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