Clash of Cultures in Prison
I know some people look at his website while they, or a loved one, are waiting to go to prison and that's a great idea because they are already starting to look ahead to their Texas parole and will be ahead of the game. (Don't forget to take a look at our book on parole in Texas at this link)
However, this website is about prison life as well as how to get parole so there is an important topic to cover, that of the culture clashes which occur in prison.
The prison population can be easily divided in two different ways. The first is whether you belong to a Gang or not. Many people believe that you have to belong to a gang to survive prison, but that's not really true although for lifers it may make it easier in some ways. For short timers, choosing a gang affiliation increases the chances that you will be "tagged" as a gang-banger and will be more likely to get your parole denied. That's in addition to the "beat in" rule where you have to fight multiple members to be allowed to join the gang. As you move about the prison yards you can recognize a new gang member by the black eyes, swollen lips, and abrasions. The gangs include the various Aryan groups for the white guys including the Peckerwoods (a redneck white power group), the Crips and the Bloods for the Black prisoners, and for the Hispanics the Texas Syndicate, Tango Blast, and several others.
The other way the prisoners create their own divisions are by race. White, Black, and Hispanic. The line between cultures is much, much more firmly established in prison than in the outside world, and while there is some interaction, the prejudices are high inside and there is always a chance that it will bubble over into violence.
Due to sheer numbers, the white population is at the low end of the spectrum in prison, although they tend to have the better jobs, "make store", and get into less trouble. The percentage of repeat offenders is just as high, but the number of first timers seems to be a higher percentage overall than for the other races.
The Black groups tend to stick together and, now, there is another subculture amount the black inmates of offenders from New Orleans, a much higher percentage than would seem logical. The New Orleans bunch are known for being hustlers and the "rip off" a way of life much more pervasive than with any other group.
The Hispanic population is very high as well and much mire inclined to be gang related than the others. In addition, there seems to be a much higher percentage of young, Hispanic prisoners as compared to older ones.
The tendency is for the groups to stick together and a new prisoner need to realize and accept this. There can still be interaction but it needs to be done with the realization that ripping off a white guy is much more acceptable to the other two classes, than ripping off one of their own and vice versa.
We can not like it, we can want it to not be that way, but in prison, acceptance is a much safer way to live than trying to change the system since most of them are only there temporarily.
People ask us "When is the time to start preparing a Texas parole packet?" Most of you know that a parole packet or a parole presentation package is a collection of documents and pictures sent to the Texas parole board to help them get to know the potential parolee a little better. This is particularly important in Texas since there is not an interview nor does the offender ever meet with an actual member of the parole board who will be voting.
Our answer as to when to start is always the same.
There are many reasons for this, but the main thing to remember is it is better to have the information and not need it, than to need it and not have it. Many times it takes much longer to get the information together than you would think and people are forced to submit packets without all of the materials. When you are trying for parole in Texas you need every bit of help you can get.
We discuss the various parts of the packet in our eBook, How to Prepare a Texas Parole Presentation Package, available as a download which can then be used to prepare the packet or as a download and printed copy. As a bookstore, we can mail the printed copy to a prisoner at his unit or directly to you. By all means, if you can afford a parole attorney, hire one, but if you can't, our low priced eBook will help you to do the best job possible.