Last week, The Good Wife’s writers decided that Cary Agos needed a prison consultant (played by The Wire’s veteran actor Domenick Lombardozzi) in order to prepare for prison. As it is a TV show, a great deal of the prison consultants time was focused on getting his client laid but he did attempt to help educate Mr. Agos on the intricacies of prison culture. However, Mr. Agos was too overwhelmed by his impending fate as he was surrendering himself later that day. In most real-life situations, impending inmates will have time to consult a prison consultant so they can actually focus on what could be life-changing advice.
Prison consultants discuss not only the issue of possible violence facing a defendant, but also cover the many complexities of prison life and prison culture. It should be noted that violence is not always an issue in many prisons and facilities. You would rarely encounter any violence in a minimum security prison, federal camp, or any pre-release facility. The inmates are serving short sentences or are at the end of long terms of imprisonment and do not want to jeopardize their release. In medium security and maximum security prisons, violence is an issue.
A prison consultant can help the first time offender avoid volatile situations by explaining the different aspects of prison culture and its taboos. It is important to know that you cannot ever touch the property of another inmate, do not to discuss religion or politics, do not look into other cells as you walk your tier, do not gamble, understand the power and control of the correctional officers and prison gangs, and the list goes on. A violation of any taboo can lead to violence. I personally witnessed fights including a shanking ( shank–home made knife)that that occurred because of these listed taboos.
Consultants can help a first time offender prepare for many other aspects of prison life which can include mailing, packages, visitation, telephone access, commissary, shower and food hall etiquette, and other areas of prison life.
Every culture has its own culture and rules. Being incarcerated is no different; prison is a strange country where the slightest infraction of the local culture can result in unnecessary difficulties or even violence. A prison consultant can help the first time offender prepare for his new life in prison.
The author of this post is a prison consultant and any opinion expressed can be considered biased.
By: Bradley Schwartz
Founder of PrisonPath