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YoKoolAid's avatar

Do people in prison know what each other is in for?

Asked by YoKoolAid (2424points) May 15th, 2011

I’ve heard that in prison culture, child molesters and rapists are the lowest of the low and even looked down upon by the serial killers, mob bosses and cannibals. (“Yeah I eat people, but at least I don’t touch children!”) It makes me wonder how readily available this information is. I would think that’s probably something you’d wanna keep to yourself, or is there some kind of unwritten law that demands you disclose your reason for being in prison, otherwise we’ll beat you everyday…Anyone know?

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16 Answers

Jude's avatar

GQ. Would love to hear what jellies have to say.

marinelife's avatar

There is a prison grapevine that is unrivaled. Even if a prisoner wants to keep it to himself, someone will have heard, and the word will spread.

flutherother's avatar

The prison warders will know and some of them will speak to the prisoners.

Jaxk's avatar

It’s a closed society, where people have nothing but time on their hands. And the information is public knowledge so even asking a guard would not be out of line. The odds of no one knowing would be quite slim.

Aster's avatar

I would imagine when you meet someone it would be the very first (or maybe second) question you’d ask. “What are you in for?”

jrpowell's avatar

Just asked my mom. She was in from 1995 to 2004. Paraphrasing here, “the guards know and you will eventually piss one of them off and they will tell to fuck you. It is best to not hide it since it will come out.”

Coloma's avatar

I have only heard stories of prison hierarchy and pecking order.

I can’t imagine being in prison, I wouldn’t last a day. shiver

jaytkay's avatar

Court records are mostly public records. In many places you can look up official records by name on the Internet.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Yes. I know someone who was in prison. Everyone knew what everyone else was in for. Most even know when the other person is scheduled to leave. It is public information, readily available on the internet. They can (and do) ask a family member or friend to look up another guy.
You don’t lie to other prisoners about that subject.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I’ll bet if you ask a visitor of yours the name of a prisoner, they’d tell you what they were in for, especially if it was newsworthy.

ucme's avatar

Yeah, because they got caught.

mrmijunte's avatar

Speaking from experience ( I was in Federal Prison ), there are many ways inmates find about others crimes, but to start I have to tell you there are “phases” of incarceration, pre-sentence and sentenced. Pre-sentenced as the name says it you are in jail, not prison, waiting for your date, in there it is pretty hard to know what others have done because usually people keep it to themselves, because either you have commited a crime like rape or molesting, or you are part of a conspiracy to distribute drugs and do not want to give info to anybody that could be a potential snitch. They are everywhere. Usually though, most people have no problem saying they are in jail because of drugs. But not the details. Now, in jail like I said is very hard to know who are the child molesters or rapists ( very few federal cases as well ) but for some crazy reason the ones that are for that kind of crime they will usually say they are in for white collar crimes or something to do with computers, always very vague. So if we detect that the ones that say are in for white collar and have visits from wives, kids, family etc, they are usually not lying. But the ones that do not have visits or only the mother does, usually those are the rapists, and in some places are told to check in ( go to solitary ) or will be punished, even though they might be clean, or if there are a considerably number of young inmates they will be attacked even if there is no concrete evidence to say they are guilty of rape or molestation. Some places is crazy like that.
Now in prison, it used to be that once you got there, you would be approached by one of your race, first to see if you where on a gang and second to know what you are in for. So you would have to show your papers ( PSI, pre-sentencing investigation ). In these papers there is everything people need to know about who you are and details of the crime. So if you where a snitch, or molester you would be in a world of hurt, so authorities began to lock non-desirables in the hole to prevent these attacks. But few years back ( 2002 I think ) the authorities realized ( with the help of overcrowding ) that inmates having that paper was a bad idea, and in order to liberate people in the hole for inmates that where rowdy. So now people can’t ask you for papers, but there are other ways to find out, but usually are used if there is a good reason of suspicion, and that is paying a guard to provide you with the info, or somebody in the outside investigate the case of another inmate ( if you are in a gang there are some other ways too ). Usually though rapists are asked before they put a foot in general population if they want to be there and risk it. Most don’t.

bkcunningham's avatar

@mrmijunte what were you in for?

bkcunningham's avatar

Aww, man. That sucks. I hope you are doing good now that you are out. Good luck.

Hibernate's avatar

And there are sites where one can check lawsuits and see what were the convictions.

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