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Guide Piddles Goes to Jail

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View image of Prison can 'become part of you', one inmate said Credit: Getty Images. Released prisoners may be less capable of living a lawful life than they were prior to their imprisonment. In terms of the Big Five personality traits, one could characterise this as a form of extreme low neuroticism or high emotional stability or flatness , combined with low extraversion and low agreeability — in other words, not an ideal personality shift for the return to the outside world. That is certainly the concern of Hulley and her colleagues.

At a time when prison numbers are rising throughout the world, BBC Future is exploring several misconceptions about criminals and crime. If some of our ideas about criminals are wrong, this has lasting implications, both during prison and when they re-enter society. If you are enjoying this story, take a look at the other pieces in our Criminal Myths series, including: Locked up and vulnerable: When prison makes things worse.

The interview-based studies so far involved long-term prisoners incarcerated for many years. But an exploratory paper published in February used neuropsychological tests to show that even a short stay in prison had an impact on personality. The researchers led by Jesse Meijers at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam tested 37 prisoners twice, three months apart. At the second test, they showed increased impulsivity and poorer attentional control. These kinds of cognitive changes could indicate that their conscientiousness — a trait associated with self-discipline, orderliness and ambition — has deteriorated.


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View image of Prison time can result in increased impulsiveness and poorer attentional control. The researchers think the changes they observed are likely due to the impoverished environment of the prison, including the lack of cognitive challenges and lost autonomy. However, other findings offer some glimmers of hope. View image of One group of Dutch prisoners showed improvements in their spatial planning abilities. These showed that prisoners engaged in normal or even heightened levels of cooperation.

The findings have implications for debates about the reintegration of criminals into society, says. Not a single poop in the crate or the house so far! She sleeps soundly enough for me to leave and run errands when I need to.

At night? I have a cute little baby crate for her right next to my bed. The first night she whined to go out four times. In less than a week that rate dropped down to one-to-none per seven hour stint. Pups actually prefer small snug enclosures where they can curl up and feel safe. And the bonus perk to voluntary incarceration is almost instant house-training! You are commenting using your WordPress.

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Stress in public services: how do you unwind? Share your photos and stories

You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Tzuri new dog teaches old man a trick or two. Menu Home Video A Foggy Day Stick in the Grass We write about sons and daughters who don't visit, mothers who come every week, barbed wire rolling out "like a slinky" as Jason describes it , about what it feels like to be called "offender.

The Connally Unit has been my home for more than nine years now.

"Blue Bird" by Jason Gallegos

During my time here I've done all I can to better myself and to make the best of my situation. I've attended numerous programs and religious classes over the years and I've learned much from them. They were helpful and informative, but it wasn't until I started the creative writing class that I felt like I was doing something worthwhile. This class has helped me in so many ways. I've found healing, a way to live with my situation, and hope.

The class has allowed me to be heard, to leave behind proof of my existence, and has given me a way to preserve my name. I no longer feel like I'm just a number—I now have a voice. The class is not without its struggles.

Steam Community :: Mister Piddles

Just getting to class at the education department can be hard in a world where you have to pass checkpoints run by desensitized guards. I wasn't able to attend my last class for that very reason. Then there are the lockdowns, canceled classes, men being shipped to other units without warning or ceremony, cellie issues. Even paper can be hard to come by. Despite all of these obstacles and many more, we still were able to put together our first journal in December The Pen-City Writers , the name we gave ourselves.

Now in , the class is being turned into a two-year creative writing certificate program. We will each write a thesis, work through a reading list, have opportunities to complete the certificate with honors and to help other men with their writing. The next two years won't be without its struggles, but I'm looking forward to it, to all I'll learn and become. The class isn't what I expected it to be when I first signed up for it.

It isn't a place to hang out, something to do, or a way to pass the time. It's so much more than that. It has become a passion, a calling, a way of life. So read on for beautifully written, heartrending, and often funny memoir pieces from our journal—Jason Gallegos's mournful arrival at the prison, my harrowing religious testimony, and moments of quotidian prison life from Jose Garcia. These are among the first of many stories to come from Connally's Pen-City Writers , stories we wrote on hot Texas nights, under a moon we see only through cage wire. The time was drawing near for my departure.

I had 13 months built up in the county jail. I was convicted and sentenced to prison, and I was ready to leave, to start serving out my long-term sentence in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Division. Before my departure, I had the privilege to be laced up by the old-school veterans that had already been in and out of the system most of their adult lives. These convicts prided themselves as they explained in detail what I should expect once I stepped onto the "Blue Bird" that would take me to my final destination, which was prison.

I couldn't help but notice how excited and enthusiastic these convicts were, as they shared with me their personal experience riding on the Blue Bird. It was definitely therapeutic. Their stories eased my fears and they became joyful as they shared their stories. Doing 13 months in the county jail meant confinement inside of a building with no direct sunlight and very limited movement.

I was getting restless because towards the end of my stay in the county I was deemed too dangerous to be kept out in population. So at one point I was kept in isolation for 23 hours out of the day behind a double steel door. I was only given an hour to be outside of my cell and I was given three options to utilize my hour: shower, recreation, or use a phone.

Being in solitary confinement gave me a strong desire to be sent off to prison. At that point I didn't care if prison was a dangerous place, all I knew by the many stories I heard, in prison I would be able to roam freely, although it would be behind a fortified double-linked fence with barbed wire rolled out like a slinky on top, that stretched all the way around the prison compound.

I was ready to go. Towards the end of my stay in the county jail, I was let out of solitary confinement for good behavior. I was allowed to spend 12 hours outside of my cell to watch TV in the dayroom or spend my time telling war stories among the convicted brethren. It was March 28, I was 19 years old and two days shy of my 20th birthday. The day of my departure had arrived.


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The Blue Bird was finally here to take me to my new dwelling place. I was called out of my cell at about four in the morning. I had a gut-wrenching knot in my stomach. Not because I feared going to prison, but because I was leaving behind my mom, two sisters, and brother for the first time. I wasn't able to say my goodbyes. The emotional pain was intense. Inside of me was a young boy crying out in agony for the care and comfort of his mother. I wanted to be rescued out of this nightmare.

My nightmare was becoming a reality. I was feeling the powerful grip the State of Texas had on me, and nobody, not even God, could deliver me out of this situation. I was placed in a holding cell with about 30 inmates that were also catching chain.

How prison changes people

Together, we were all going to take the bus ride on the Blue Bird. I wasn't very talkative like the others but I was listening intently at the conversations they were having, paying attention to all the faces, and most of them fit the prison mold. They carried on in conversation as if we were all headed out on a field trip. Then an inmate asked me, "What are you in for and how much time did the courts give you? It wasn't the word murder that shocked them—it was the mention of 50 years that made them cringe. I realized I was the only one in the group who had the longest prison sentence.

There was light at the end of the tunnel for them, but for me prison would become my home. I kept looking out of the holding cell because I knew the prison guards would arrive at any moment to collect their bounty, which happened to be us. At a distance I heard the sound of chains being dragged on the concrete floor and the knot in my stomach grew even tighter. The appearance of three white men with cowboy hats, dark ruddy faces, wearing gray uniforms and distinct cowboy boots, stood on the other side of the cell door, looking through the plexiglass window, directly at us with disgust in their eyes.

I kept reciting this mantra in my head, Jason, pretend that you've been through this a million times. You are a veteran. Better yet you are a pro. You were born for this. These men are scared, you're not. The more I recited this mantra, the more sane I became. Courage began to replace the fear that tried to penetrate my heart. The prison guard began to call out our names in alphabetical order and pairing us up in twos.

Once all the names were called out, we were led into a dressing room to remove our orange county jumpers including what I had on underneath, such as a T-shirt, a pair of boxers, and socks that I would leave behind. We all stood naked, ready to be searched by the prison guards. I was next. The guard stood in front of me and shouted, "Don't reckless-eyeball me, boy!

Run your fingers through your hair! Flap those ears! Open your mouth and stick your tongue out!

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Lift your arms up and with your left hand lift up your nut sack! Turn around and let me see the bottom of your feet! Bend over and spread your ass cheeks! Now squat and cough! Going through this drill made me feel violated but I knew I had to get used to this because it was going to be the new norm for me, from here on out.

While I put on my white jumper suit, I felt very cold. I was nervous, and my body shook uncontrollably. We stood in pairs once again but this time in a white uniform. We looked like a flock of sheep being led to the slaughterhouse. One more item needed to be added to my prison costume, which was the shackles. My feet were shackled so close together I was only able to take very small steps forward. Then a small metal box was used to bind my wrists together. Another small chain hung heavy that kept my hands and feet chained together causing me to stoop over.

The metal door swung open and there it was, the Blue Bird.