Top 10 Things I Learned About Prison From 'Locked Up'

10. Clothing options are limited

This is definitely not a place for What Not to Wear to shoot a show. Prison garb can vary from grey, to orange, to gray. Prison is not a beacon of fashion. At least the prisoners can’t say ‘I have nothing to wear today’.

9. They all have a lot of tattoos. I mean a lot of tattoos.

Usually a lot these tattoos symbolize gang affiliations, although usually denied by the prisoner because gang activity is illegal. But we know what is up, huh? Many of these prisoners make their own tats with ball-point pens and needles they find around the place. It is a very crude artform in prison. But I swear, prisoners LOVE tattoos.

8. All have kids, most have multiple

You may think prisoners may be the type to hold off on the idea of being a parent and wait for things to get better. You would be wrong. Not only do almost all of these people have kids, mess up (usually on drugs), and end up in prison. Most have another AFTER they are released and RETURN to the prison. Classy folks, huh. I wonder what happens to those kids…….

7. Prisons vary a lot from state to state

Not only does the prison population vary a lot from state to state, the level of privileges vary a lot from prison to prison. Some hardcore prisons dangle the carrot for prisoners to behave, some strike with the stick. Which technique is better? Neither. They all behave terribly and return to prison after they are released.

6. There is a lot of dead time

So much time is spent just sitting there, thinking about what you did, what you will do, etc, it is just such a colossal waste. I know there are work crews they assemble at times, but those are with the better prisoners. The crazy ones, the dangerous ones, the ones who have no hope, they just get to sit. I still think there is a use for them though. Maybe help dig out that sand hill that is blocking my view of the city. Maybe help walking my dog when I get home late. It would just be nice if they can help me in some way.

5. Some women really like men in prison

Women like the bad boy, and they don’t come much worse than these boys. These are women that not only like a rough and tumble guy who is definitely not going to cheat on them with another woman, these are the same women that complain they can’t find a good man. Sing it loud, sister! Dating is a tough world out there, and you deserve a better class of prisoner. Who would have thought he doesn’t treat you well when released?

4. The food is terrible

Sardi’s it ain’t Hell, it ain’t even McDonalds. Prison food is the worst food of all. Everything is packaged in ‘loaf’ form; just an amalgam of other parts of food that should really not fit together. Breads, weird meats, rotten vegetables, all mixed into a brick of subsistence. The level of rotten is obviously based on the fact that politicians rarely run on the raise taxes to help the prison diet’ platform.

3. Not as much rape as you would think

I thought that prison rape was like a daily occurrence, ‘don’t drop the soap’ was the old joke. But it turns out that rape doesn’t happen nearly as much. Maybe once or twice a year. The inmates don’t have as much opportunity to do this as you would think. Most of the time they are in a cell alone. During community time, there are guards everywhere. So rape is not on the daily menu for all. Sort of a refreshing thought.

2. Not an educated popluation at all

We all know the stats behind prisoners in terms of their education level; it is not all that high. But their lack of education goes beyond that. There is a significant element of their brain that is missing which helps with making decisions. At least for most of the inmates. I am not sure if they are mentally slow, so fried off of drugs they can’t think, or they just stopped wanting to think for years, prisoners say and do very very very stupid and impulsive things that land them in more meaningless and avoidable trouble. If you were expecting William F Buckley vs Gore Vidal type of discourses in the clink, well you are sadly mistaken.

1. Not a good place to be

Prison is an awful place to be. Do not watch Shawshank Redemption and Orange is the New Black and think that is what prison is. In those shows, prison looks like a great place to meet friends, hang out, share a few laughs, and relax. Prison is nothing like that at all. AT ALL!! Prison sucks. People are mean there. There not much to occupy your time. The food is bad. You dress like a….prisoner. Trust me, avoid going to prison at all costs. As the old saying goes ‘there are no waterslides in the big house’.