Inmates strategically use fights to settle disputes and climb the political ladder. And if inexperienced inmates can’t adapt to their dangerous surroundings, they’ll live in constant fear of another beating.
That’s what one participant on the A&E documentary show “60 Days In” learned during his stay at Clark County Jail in Jeffersonville, Indiana. The show follows eight volunteers who go undercover as inmates to expose problems within the system.
One of the volunteers, Ryan, observed that a strict social hierarchy governed his pod of inmates. Fights broke out between members of different social groups over virtually any perceived slight — from spreading gossip or talking too loudly at night to reneging on a deal to trade hash browns.
Ryan, who did not use his last name on the show, further explained what purpose violence serves behind bars:
“One thing the public doesn’t know about is that in jail, violence is almost necessary. It’s a way that that society, if you will, keeps peace. It’s instilling fear. It’s something along the lines of a political party, and violence is almost like the campaign platform they run upon. It keeps everything in check if anyone steps out of line.”