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After 17 minutes of deliberation, the jury obliged and sentenced Burdine to die.

His death sentence was later overturned mostly because Burdine's public defender had slept through much of his trial , but the homophobic thinking — that prison is some kind of paradise for gay men — lingers on. The reality of life in prison for homosexuals and transgender individuals does not appear to reflect this myth.

One young man named Rodney, imprisoned for fraud and check-forging, sent me a detailed account of his life so far in prison. He described a litany of brutal rapes, assaults, beatings and, eventually, the total abandonment of his male identity as his only means of survival in the hyper-masculine and often homophobic prison environment.

His account suggests that far from being a paradise, prison for gay men can be a living hell. Within days of his first entering prison, the year-old Rodney claimed he was the victim of three separate sexual assaults, involving five different inmates.

The prison he was first sent to did actually have a separate tier for gay inmates, but according to Rodney, because he did not "appear overly effeminate" during his classification, he was placed with the general population; and because it was supposedly rare to have a gay person slip through the cracks of the system, his fellow inmates took full advantage. Physical, mental and emotional torture.

After being raped, I performed acts by request. It was understood and expected. I had no means to protect myself, being only 23 and scared for my life. I quickly learned that a snitch is a worse label than a fag. Nothing is heaven about being intimidated into performing sexual acts.

It is also rape, just like the three forcible rapes were.

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Having my mouth and anus aggressively penetrated by several strangers is anything but. Even though he was thereby essentially enslaved by his new "prison husband", he was grateful — because his days of "being the communal bitch were over". He said he tried to do whatever his prison husband wanted or needed, including cleaning his cell, washing his clothes, preparing his food, and whatever else his "husband" wanted or needed, including, of course, being available for sex — because "he did what I wanted and needed — kept other inmates off me.

As time wore on and "husbands" came and went, Rodney perfected the art of being a "prison ho", as his only means of surviving intact. So once a week we'd hook up a bunch of TVs in a classroom so all of the murderers and rapists could play Halo. There's nothing more interesting than seeing guys who have killed multiple people deathmatching each other. Teabagging seems a lot less innocent when you know it might end with one of the aforementioned riots. We had a riot in one of our facilities over a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The inmates had an issue with the amount of jelly and decided to hold a sit-in, then the sit-in got violent.

Even if most of the hundred people in the room are being reasonable, as long as a couple of them are acting crazy, they get to control the mood. Today's going to be about poo-flinging. We had some out-of-state inmates who didn't like that we didn't allow blue jeans or conjugal visits. They got together in the yard during exercise time and decided they wouldn't leave.

We locked them in the yard, so they dragged all the free weights up to the bars and brought them down on the barrel locks, popping them right open. Once free, the first target -- instead of "the guards" or "the front gate" -- was the soda machines, which we had for some reason. The inmates knocked them over, burst them open, and savored the sweet taste of free prison Pepsi. So now we had a bunch of caffeinated, riotous inmates.

They forced their way into the control room, broke out all the windows, trashed the equipment, and only then realized they had no way to open the doors again.

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So they had to go back to the free weights so they could hammer the door frames into dust and break back out of the control room. During the riot, one dude who'd switched over from the Crips to the Bloods realized that his new friends didn't really care for him. They chased him down and stabbed him five or six times, but he made it back to his cell and locked the wooden door.

Then they burned the wooden door down and stabbed him 15 or 20 more times until he crawled out of the room. He made his way out of his cell and all the way down the hall to the guards, being stabbed all the while. He survived again -- a human can survive a lot of stabbing and wound up suing the prison for a bunch of money.


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One of the great tragedies of the prison system is that so many young people only realize their talents after getting locked up. You take a bunch of guys with zero college or legal work experience, lock them in a big building, and suddenly they're master engineers. I found that if you give these guys a PlayStation controller, they'll quickly make you a quality electronic tattoo gun. Scott Campbell This looks cool, but they could get the same functionality out of a pen, some string, and a needle.

And what about ink? Sure, the stuff inside a pen works OK for a little while, but it fades real quick. Sure, it isn't exactly sterile, but you know what they say: You can't make an omelet without rampant staph infections.

You've probably heard about prisoners being pretty good at turning stuff like spoons and pencils into deadly knives, but that stuff is easy work. A skilled prisoner can make a knife out of literally any solid substance you care to give him. We had one inmate spend days wetting sheet after sheet of newspaper and compressing them together under a small stack of books. Eventually, the paper dried into a rigid cardboard brick.

The inmate sharpened this on the floor of his cell, and in about a month he had himself a fine little face-stabbing knife. But prison ingenuity is at its best when it comes to the business of getting shitfaced.

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Sexual assault in prison: If I get sent to jail will I be raped? | Metro News

Each cell contains a bunk bed with a small gray box for that bed's inmate to store his stuff in. And in most cases, "stuff" is a synonym for "personal brewery. When they open it up, suddenly the building is full of a stench like oranges and puke. Some inmates will cut it with Metamucil so it goes down easier, which does not help matters as far as our noses are concerned. That's not even getting into what happens when these guys drink the stuff. Once, a huge dreadlocked dude chugged an entire gallon of prison wine or "pruno".

He got aggressive, and the whole mess ended with two empty canisters of prison mace, three injured guards, and one passed-out prisoner who woke up very confused the next day. It seems like fear of nonstop rape is what scares people most about prison, not any of that trivial stuff like losing your freedom for years or having a criminal record. Well, I worked in prisons for seven years, and I only saw one rape. If you're wondering how all of these males can go without sex for so long, well, who says they do?

There are plenty of guys who are willing sex partners. You'd walk by cells and see one guy's head bobbing up and down and just knock on the gates and say, "Hey, you crazy kids, that's enough! That's not to say that sexual assault never happens or to trivialize the problem for the people it happens to. But the truth is that between 0. In reality, a lot of prisoners just embrace being one of the, uh, more desirable men in lockup.

The truth about rape and sexual assault in prison, from a man who has been on the inside

You probably assume that prison is ordered a little like Dante's hell and inmates wind up on different "levels" based on the severity of their crime. If you make it into a federal prison for a nonviolent drug charge, you might wind up cell mates with Johnny the Cop Stabber, who, despite his colorful nickname, is a serial rapist. He's a complex man. As a private prison, we were only supposed to get inmates up to a "medium" level of severity. We had a points system, and once they got above a certain number, we had to send them to the state. My job for a while was to do that paperwork, and guess what: The state would fiddle with the numbers all the time in order to dump the inmates on us.

I'd go into their records and add up their infractions and realize that these guys were much more dangerous than the state had said. Whenever we wound up with someone who was WAY too violent for our prison, the state would wait forever to take him back. That means that prison, like America, is a great melting pot. But instead of being a place for people of all nations, faiths, and creeds to live together, it's a place where kids who made one dumb mistake hang out with career criminals.

There's a reason our recidivism rate is so very high: Prison is crime college.

The grim truth of being gay in prison

I had a year-old kid in there who went on a joyride in his grandma's car. She called the police, hoping they'd just put him in jail overnight to scare him. But the DA decided to make an example out of him and charged the kid with car theft. Now he's in prison, learning how to steal cars for real. You can contact him here. Down for more Cracked-style reporting?

Check out our insider's look at drone warfare. And if you're shipping a package this holiday season, you should probably check out this article by a former UPS loader. After all that, why not wind down with a heartwarming look at the terrible face of modern homelessness? Some of these uber excited contestants have been waiting their entire lives to get on this show Don't make me do this again.

7 Horrifying Things You Didn't (Want to) Know About Prison

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