Five Things Prison Movies Get Wrong About Prison

Anytime a person watches a prison movie it’s usually the worst aspects that stand out and make it clear that prison isn’t the place to be. Without trying to get too political with it, prisons are a place where people go to be punished for crimes they’ve committed, and unfortunately, it’s true that some folks get sent up for ridiculous reasons while others get out far too quickly after committing heinous crimes. But what a lot of bleeding hearts out there don’t realize is that the movies play up the abuse and horrible things that happen in prisons a little too often, making it feel as though inmates are being tortured day in and day out. The truth of it is that some inmates have it better than some folks on the outside do, save for the fact that they’re in prison and aren’t afforded as many rights, or so it’s said. The truth of prison is that a person is there to serve time for their crimes, and the understanding is that it shouldn’t be like going to camp, but the movies tend to make things look a little worse than they are.

Here are some of the things that the movies get wrong about prison.

5. Wardens don’t have the overreaching power that the movies show.

If you’ve watched movies such as Escape from Alcatraz and The Shawshank Redemption then you might think that the wardens are the first and last word in anything that happens in the prison and that the lot of them are about as twisted as the letter S. While some of them might actually take bribes and kickbacks, it’s hard to say, the truth is that they’re little more than another part of the administration and don’t have the level of power that people give them in the movies. It typically takes a good amount of time for the warden to even reach that level of authority, and by the time they do, there are still a lot of limitations they have to deal with.

4. Most prison riots are quelled rather quickly.

This is easy to debate since some riots in the past lasted for a while and it’s a little more difficult to silence some riots since those that instigate them are motivated by some ideal that keeps them going for a bit. But on average, riots are typically taken care of and handled in a manner that sees them start and stop in the same day since a prison administration that can’t handle its prisoners is going to garner a bad reputation for not having its house in order, so to speak. The Hull Prison riot of 1976 was a good example of what happens when things get way too out of control, but that’s one of the few incidents when the authorities really had no handle on what to do.

3. Solitary confinement isn’t as effective as it appears.

In fact, being dumped in ‘the hole’ as it’s been called for so long is even worse for inmates than originally thought since it’s been shown to lead to recidivism and aggressive and antisocial behavior since depriving the inmates of contact with other individuals tends to have a very negative effect. It might sound as though people are making excuses as to why this shouldn’t happen, but the truth of it is that the psychological damage that is incurred by inmates that have been placed in solitary confinement has been seen to be quite extensive since the fact that humans need contact with others is just one reason why this isn’t as effective and why people simply walking out of solitary aren’t bound to be as calm and docile as the movies show.

2. The showers aren’t really that dangerous.

A lot of prison movies deal with the idea of guys being hassled or raped in the showers, and there might have been an issue with this in the past. As it happens in American History X  though, it’s not really that likely, but there’s no telling what might happen if an inmate angers another inmate that’s connected to a gang. There’s a lot of debate on this issue, but on average the showers aren’t that dangerous and are absolutely necessary since the stench from so many individuals shut up in the same space is going to be pretty bad after a while, so allowing people to shower unmolested is a necessity that even the prisoners can agree to.

1. The food actually isn’t that bad.

After talking to those that were locked up in Clark County, it was amazing to find out that many of them would rather go to prison for a few reasons, one of them being that the food is actually quite a bit better. Anyone that’s ever had a purple hot dog or lump of gooey, mouth-gluing bread pudding in county might relish the idea of fried chicken or other options that are available in prison. Plus, prison kitchens have diversified their menus over the years and can and do cater to the dietary needs of some inmates.

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