August 01, 2010
When most of us think of prison life, we think of nothing but sitting in a cell, staring at blank walls, wishing that one could get out of the “joint”. But, what we don’t realize is everything that goes on behind the scenes. I believe society is negligent to realize that some of the inmates may fear for their lives or may be ready for a fight at anytime. There are many that may fear being sexually assaulted or even raped. When it comes to privileges, do we really know what types of privileges one has in prison?
In 2007, there were approximately, 7.3 million inmates in the United States according to CNN.com (CNN, 2007). That is 7.3 million who live in a prison cell day in and day out. There are 5 different types of housing within the United States Prison System. General Population within the prison is the first and most common place for an inmate to be. According to the text, this status is the “least restricted and allows the most freedom of movement” (Foster, 2006). The next four types of housing in the United States Prison system are considered to be “special management” housing. Administrative segregation is when an inmate is removed from general population as ‘a threat to security’… other inmates and staff (Foster, 2006). Disciplinary detention is a place for inmates who choose to misbehave in the general population by breaking the prison rules. The next type of housing unit is Protective Custody housing, which is when an inmate requests separation from the general population because he/she fears for his/her own safety. The last type of housing is Mental Health Housing, which is when one is removed from the population because they have serious mental disorders, which causes a major conflict with those in the general population. (Foster, 2006, p. 254). Typically, a prison cell is a place that has a single door and the walls are made from either brick or plastic. The door typically slides and has a latch, which allows officers to observe the prisoners inside the cell. The standard size of jail cells is 6 feet by 8 feet according to The Federal Bureau of Prisons (Prisons). To prevent prisoners from escaping, every cell is equipped with heavy-duty door locks, which can only be opened from the outside. Stainless steel toilets are anchored on the floors or on the walls. Within the prison cell, you will typically find bunk-beds with mattresses a toilet and sink. It seems like such a confined space for people who knew no boundaries before. It’s amazing how quickly one forgets and took for granted that small bathroom that one complains about daily and all the luxuries that one forgot they had, prior to committing a crime.
Though it may seem like a lonely place, prisoners are “far from isolated unless they choose to be” (Foster, 2006, p.249). Puzzle and word searches are something that you will often find among prisoners (Things To Do In Prison , 2003). Some like to write letters and some like to draw, but whatever it is, they do it all alone. This is unless they are in the “yard”. The yard is an area in which the inmates can play sports, talk and work out. If the yard is not where a prisoner chooses to be, he/she may go to the “dayroom”. The dayroom is a place where a television may be located, a hobby shop or a place to play cards. (Foster, 2006, p. 252).
Though every day life for prisoners significantly differs throughout the United States, when it comes to everyday activities, a good example comes from the schedule in which a prisoner encounters every day in North Carolina.
|HOUR |MINIMUM |MEDIUM |CLOSE | |Morning | |5:00 |Sleep |wake up |sleep | |6:00...