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THE STUDY (part one)

"Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victim he

                       intends to eat until he eats them."


                       -Samuel Butler 1835-1902


                       [Samuel Butler's Notebooks (1951)]


When I arrived at my current FCI (that's a medium security institution for those of you who don't speak BOP-anese) one of the first things that jumped out at me was that there were a bunch of super weird looking white guys slithering around in the periphery. They stayed completely to themselves. They ate in the chow hall standing up at the wheelchair table. They wouldn't even make eye contact with anyone. Super creepy.


     "Who the fuck are those assholes?" I asked someone I knew from another institution.


     "Cho-mos." he replied.


     "What? They've got cho-mos here? This is an active gang yard! What the fuck?" I was completely scandalized and couldn't understand what was going on in this bizarro world I had landed in.


     "Correction. This is a limited gang yard. The only organizations that are allowed here are the ones that are only going to extort them, not the ones that are going to smash them or stab them on sight."


     "You've got to be kidding me."


     "Nope. You've only got Midwest street gangs here, no political prison code type gangs. They don't give a fuck about anything but turning a profit. They have no morals. They offer protection to the creeps for money. I actually think they've got it worked out with the prison administration."


     "Get the fuck out of here!" My simplistic black-and-white conditioned prison brain could not fathom any of this shit. It was like he was speaking Chinese or something.


     "Dude... the majority of the FCIs have at least some contingent of sex-offenders now. It ain't like back in the day. They're all over the place except for the most political mediums, which for real, there are hardly any left of. Even supposedly super hardcore yards like Leavenworth have them. But think about it... If you're thorough and about doing what's right by prison standards, you're not going to be at an FCI anyway. If motherfuckers are banging and about that life for real, they're at the Penitentiary, they ain't at no damn medium security joint. Ninety-nine percent of these FCI fags are totally faking their political bullshit anyway."


     "Damn."


     "Yeah. They last three mediums I've been to had Cho-mos. Shit, at FCI Greenville, the internet chos would politic on the actually touched a kid chos and created this whole weird hierarchy of sex-offenders where some were somehow superior to others. Imagine that! Sex offender politics!"


     I was speechless.


     "So the real question you have to ask yourself is this..." he said. "Are you willing to put your blinders on and just make the creeps lives miserable when you can in exchange for all the benefits we get here at a medium? Think about that... can you adapt to take advantage off all the good stuff that's here?" he continued and ticked off points on his fingers "The food here is fan-fucking-tasty-tastic. We've both been to places where you can't even live off of what they serve in the chow hall. There's a weight pile. There's a UNICOR if you feel like working. There's almost no drama or violence at all. Hell, you can sleep in past the cell door being unlocked in the morning if you wanted to. Would you trade all that to go back to a Penitentiary where you've got to tote a knife or two with you all the time, where it's super violent, where there ain't no way to make money but sling dope, where there ain't no weights or anything to do in the rec department?" he grabbed hard eye contact "That's what you have to ask yourself. And if you decide you just can't put those blinders on, make sure you take more than one of the cho-mos out when you go all kamikaze so your name is clean when you get back to the USP. Me? I know what I'm going to do... I'm staying my old ass right here where it's sweet and I don't have to worry about anything."


     He looked at me expectantly, as if waiting for me to agree with him or at least say something.


     "Hmmmm... Something to think about," was as far as I could commit.


     And think about it I did. This was no small decision. It was a seeming point of no return one way or another. Judging the situation by strict prison standards, by staying at a yard where there were sex-offenders, I was ending my ability to go to a full on active USP. I would be judged as complicit if I didn't hit one of the creeps within the first 72 hours of landing at a yard that had them living there. So it boiled down to this: I could go back to the killing fields... or I could put my moral blinders on and eat well, push weights, and do my own thing without anyone really telling me anything and essentially experiencing a weird type of relative freedom by sterner prison standards.


     After speaking to other men I knew from other institutions who I had respect for, I decided to retire and stay at this country club of a prison yard. First off because I'm a person who naturally chooses comfort and ease over active war-zone chaos. I'm just a selfish little shit that way. Secondly because there is a good chance that because I literally know ten thousand people in the federal prison system and I have a good face with most of them that as soon as I landed anywhere, even the most dangerous of high security locations, that the individuals in the entrenched political hierarchy who I know would give me an "I know him, he's good to go" nod and pass and I would be welcomed with open arms (for clarities sake, this pass would be issued because I'm just so tremendously awesome and people generally love me...this is not even mentioning my extreme way above average humbleness). In the end, much of the time prison ends up being a popularity contest sort of like high school (but with way more rape, scary medieval knives, stabbings, heroin overdoses, and murder) so I decided to go with the path of least resistance and most benefit as I would probably be covered in any outcome.


...to be continued in "The Study" (part two)

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