jPay Message #176

I was chopping it up with the guys in the adjacent cube, and the subject of locking up arose, prompted by that fucking douche last Thursday, who quietly ran up a couple hundred worth of debt over the two week span he was in our unit. Some of it was with me (I always seem to get fucked over by guys locking up). Basically, “locking up” means they go upfront and tell the COs they refuse to return to their bunk, averring that they fear for their life at this particular prison. Really, though, their life is unlikely to be in jeopardy, and any uncomfortable situation they’re in is self-inflicted 99% of the time. Especially because there haven’t been rideouts in months, the process usually requires telling on someone for the administration to go along with the request. Lately, they’re relegated to the boot camp unit, which is fenced off in the middle of the yard.

The reality of these cases is that the inmate racked up a bunch of bills he couldn’t pay for (purposefully, in this case), almost always because he’s got an uncontrollable dope habit. Locking up is the most craven thing a prisoner can do. It’s the calling card of the bitch-made, and there should be a moratorium on pussy for the perpetrator for years after his release.

A black dude I fuck with–just a straight prison dude I don’t know how else to describe em– gave me props for never locking up or even feinting in that direction, despite being in some dire situations that would have caused guys in a comparable position to. “Pete’s just like” –impersonating my voice — “fuck it dude, put the knife in me, see if I care.” This is for the most part true; Ive even said similar shit in the face of threats.

In prison the best way to handle threats of violence is with a welcome mat and an attitude of nonchalant resignation, like “oh well if that’s the way its gotta be, let’s do it….” Most of the time that’ll be enough to suck the hot air out of their bullshit, and they’ll get a stupid fucking look on their face when you call their bluff.

To be safe, take each threat on a case-by-case basis, because some will actually be serious. However, most of the time, if someone plans on fucking you up, they won’t say much beforehand. They’ll just do it, and you’ll probably have a good idea why.

The worst thing you can do is immediately respond to the threat in the way they want you to, because it shows they’ve instilled fear, and they’ll adopt that abusive, violent persona as their default position in any sort of business.

There’s nothing worse than the fudge guy you owe $3 blowing down on you right after store bags are passed out, talking crazy, threatening to smack you around if you dont have his few dollars, even though you obviously do, and he knows that. Typically, a blowhard like this talks a good game because public verbal abuse is how he demonstrates to others he’s “bout that shit” without actually earning his stripes. It’s best just not to deal with these types, but if you can’t avoid it, and they won’t begrudge you basic respect, best go for the jugular and tell him to get paid. Most will flinch and not do shit.

I know cuz I’ve been there. My first year I let a lot of shit fly because 1. I thought I was gonna go home soon and 2. I really didn’t know how to handle these situations. There was an issue with a fudge/candy guy similar to what I just described. He was covered in tattoos (btw, a face tat being the cheat code to convince people you’re hard) with pretenses to gangbanger-hood. Shit came to a head after he sent multiple people into my unit to say he was gonna slap me at dinner if I didn’t have his dollar (I couldn’t go outside because I was on sanctions and I only owed a soup). So when I came out empty-handed, basically telling him to get paid, he balked at the chance to strike, and then loudly offered “$10 to smack this kid” to anyone walking by. Off in the distance, someone yelled, “why don’t you do it?!” and he stormed off angrily. Maybe that didn’t make him a bitch but it definitely made him a clown.

There’s a lot of power in controlling the tone of any negotiation, and a lot of that rests with controlling your emotions. At first, in such a testosterone-laden environment, it’s common to lose your cool or buckle to demands, but like everything else worthwhile in life: act like you’ve been there before aka fake it til you make it. Blasé is the best attitude.

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