The Criminal Culture

Take a glimpse inside prison and at the criminal culture.

You pay for the system to work.  Does it?
You pay for the system to work. Does it? | Source

The Criminal Culture

There are a great many sins, and lying is one of them. Criminals lie to themselves.

There is a criminal culture in America, and I suspect it is common to other countries as well.

“If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” Even career criminals recite the phrase, and laugh.

For a number of years I worked as a correctional supervisor and much of the time I supervised prisoners and their visitors in a Medium Security “visiting room.” If you had been there too, you would have seen all the imaginable emotions the visitors could possibly have had. The prisoners, by and large, had their own emotions more controlled---after all, they were being observed by other men they had to live with every day for years.

On occasion while working there I also monitored inmate phone conversations with the world outside the prison. Those were enlightening, too, in part for the outside family members and friends side of those conversations.

Prison time was considered a normal “occupational hazard” for repeat offenders, and the statistics show that most prisoners who get out (usually after serving only a portion of their maximum sentences) are back in prison within a few years. As for their families, sweethearts, children, friends, after a repeat imprisonment, a degree of “normalcy” begins to appear. They too know “the system” and how it works.

Quite often a family member or friend was a willing participant in the crime for which the prisoner was convicted. Not rarely “the game” continues in the setting of their visits to the prison during which the smuggling of contraband from liquor and money, to drugs and guns, is “the game” of the day.

The phone conversations were enlightening because it was very apparent in many of the conversations that a criminal culture exists in which the outside talker recounts criminal experiences they shared in, as well as the current criminal activities being carried on by family and mutual acquaintances. The delight and humor with which “the game” versus law enforcement and the courts is being played is evident in their eager chatter with each other, and what they choose to talk about.

Criminals get an adrenalin “rush” whether it comes from shoplifting, robberies, burglaries, and the other “get something for nothing except my smarts and guts” mentality. Consequently the criminal activity continues, even in prison. Stabbings, fights, rape, theft, drug use, and “the con” don’t stop at the prison doors. The young convicts, the convicts of small stature, the “first timers“, and minorities are all considered fair game for abuse in prison by the career criminals. Prison gangs are extensions of street gangs and larger criminal organizations. Communication between prison populations across the country is common, so that what works successfully from the convicts’ point of view in one prison, quickly spreads to other prison groups.

If this brief discussion is “news” to you, I urge you to read the following FBI report on gangs in the United States, and to then insure that your local, state, and federal law enforcement personnel and the correctional facilities in your area have the support they need to do the effective work you expect of them.

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© 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.

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Comments 2 comments

Curiad profile image

Curiad 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

I was aware of most of this but you did a great job of illuminating the situation here.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

Curiad: Thanks for the read. TV's, good meals, free medical, visitors, etc. doesn't sound like "doing the time" is all that much punishment, except for the people a prisoner has to live with "inside".

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