I was formerly an inmate at the Federal Prison Camp (FPC) Danbury, Ct which is what the memoir “Orange is the New Black” prison is about. This actual real place is still open. There are women there right now. There were 2 prison facilities in Danbury. At the time that I was there was the camp, which is a minimum security facility and the FCI, Federal Correctional Institute, which is a medium security facility, where both women’s facilities. At the camp we were “up the hill’ and the FCI was “down the hill”.
What really happens when there is a fight at the camp? FPC, Danbury is a minimum security facility which means that most of the inmates committed non-violent crimes and had sentences that were under 10 years. As Keisha Perkins, our camp counselor would say while popping gum in her mouth, “There is no fighting at this camp”. The consequences of a fight were severe, an inmate would get at least 30 days in the SHU, she would lose her camp status, get sent down the hill, and lose thirty days of good time. Losing good time means an inmate would get 30 days added to her sentence. The descriptions of the facility down the hill were scary and it sounded like a very rough place. Who wanted to go down the hill? Some women did.
Other inmates never look on or encourage a fight. If an inmate was looking on or encouraging a fight, you would get sent to the SHU. The facility would be on lockdown. That means no one was allowed to leave her area unless to use the bathroom. The only inmates who were allowed to move were orderlies who cleaned the facility and were doing their job and inmates who worked in the kitchen and were doing their job.
While I was there, there were only 3 instances of fights. They were all one person attacking another and the other didn’t fight back. In the first two instances the hitters got went to the SHU, lost their camp status, and lost 30 days of good time. One of these women had come from down the hill and wanted to be sent back. The last was also one person attacking another without the other one fighting back but both individuals lied about what happened and never spoke again. I met a women who had a sentence of 13 years and had gotten into a fight with a woman who had a two year sentences. At the end of the day the fight hadn’t been worth because the woman with the two year sentence went home, had probably finished probation, and had long since forgotten the fight. Now her with 11 years is going home next year after all this time and now has to spend an extra 30 days in prison because of a prison fight 9 years ago. And this woman came to the realization that the fight hadn’t been worth it.
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