There's No Method to the Madness
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You probably assume that prison is ordered a little like Dante's hell and inmates wind up on different "levels" based on the severity of their crime. Nope! If you make it into a federal prison for a nonviolent drug charge, you might wind up cell mates with Johnny the Cop Stabber, who, despite his colorful nickname, is a serial rapist.
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And head of the Bible study group. He's a complex man.
As a private prison, we were only supposed to get inmates up to a "medium" level of severity. We had a points system, and once they got above a certain number, we had to send them to the state. My job for a while was to do that paperwork, and guess what: The state would fiddle with the numbers all the time in order to dump the inmates on us. I'd go into their records and add up their infractions and realize that these guys were much more dangerous than the state had said. Whenever we wound up with someone who was WAY too violent for our prison, the state would wait forever to take him back.
That means that prison, like America, is a great melting pot. But instead of being a place for people of all nations, faiths, and creeds to live together, it's a place where kids who made one dumb mistake hang out with career criminals. There's a reason our recidivism rate is so very high: Prison is crime college. I had a 19-year-old kid in there who went on a joyride in his grandma's car. She called the police, hoping they'd just put him in jail overnight to scare him. But the DA decided to make an example out of him and charged the kid with car theft. Now he's in prison, learning how to steal cars for real.
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At least he'll stay in shape.
Robert Evans is Cracked's head of Dick Joke Journalism and manages the Workshop Moderator team. You can contact him here.
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