Friday, March 1, 2013

Prisoners and Positive Peculiarities (Psych Nerd Series)
(Upcoming Topics: Prisoners and creativity; drug use and drug abuse; child rearing abilities; gang mindset).

A sophisticated sense and artistic expertise of prisoners can be shown through tattooing. Elaborate designs are found on some inmates. Where did their ink come from?
Toner cartridges from printers and ink tubes from ballpoint pens are just some of the tools used to create ink for tattooing. How is it that some inmates entered the facility without any tattoos, yet some months later they are found to have uniquely colored designs on their backs, arms, necks, and sometimes even faces? Tattoo needles can be made of many MANY things. Primarily, sharp objects can be carved and chiseled from metal, rock, and tough plastics. Techniques may go as far back as those similar to Malaysian tribal tattooing. I refer to this method as the "nail meets hammer technique." You get the picture? tap, tap, tap... UNTIL THE TATTOO IS COMPLETE. OUCH!


Smuggling drugs can be achieved by carefully gluing 2 magazine pages perfectly together. Thin layers of ironed drugs can be mailed into prisons. Magazines can be traded and borrowed, and drugs can be shared. Dipping  and drenching notebook pages into a meth solution to soak the paper, dried pages can eventually be torn off and sold or traded for other wants and needs. Inmates can get high from the pages of a commonly perceived postal letter. This is a letter with a punch! THANKS FOR THE NICE LETTER YOU SENT ME MOM! I read it over and over.

Inmates are not allowed to chew tobacco, and depending on state regulations many prisons allow cigarettes, but some do not. Aren't cigarettes found, bartered for, and smoked within prisons? YES! Officers may be allowed to bring in their own dip. The used and chewed tobacco can be smuggled from trashcans in which officers discarded their chewed tobacco. The recycled tobacco is dried near heating vents. Wrapped in some form of papers (Bible pages, dictionary pages, etc), the cigarette is ready to be sold and smoked.

Referred to as "prune-o" and "hooch,"  fruits and potatoes from meals and the kitchen can be placed it zip-tight bags or bottles and left in hot areas or in the ceiling to ferment. BOTTOMS UP!


All of these creative techniques! So much brain power used! Technologies and tools created and mastered! 

Where does your energy go? Where do your efforts take you? Do you work daily, weekly, monthly to reach short term goals bit by bit? Us psych majors sometimes refer to wasted energy (time and effort put in to doing evil instead of good) as "The Stupid Effect." Robbing, stealing, scheming, hurting, killing. It all takes energy. Planning. But this energy can be used for good. I am not saying that it is bad to make cigarettes, tattoos, or alcohol; everyone has their own morals and values and personal stances, BUT we can see that inmates have a lot of talent. A lot of potential. A lot of skills.


But when creative energy is used to make poor decisions, laws may be broken and people can get hurt. Perhaps there are at-risk populations in need of  creative outlets. Did these inmates grow up with community centers? Were they allowed to join sports leagues? Did they paint murals legally, or did they partake in non-permit holding graffiti art? Did they live in areas where they were taught to hide any aspect of talent? Were they encouraged by family and teachers? What did their communities and loved ones provide them with? What did they see around them? How were they taught to use their skills?

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