What's new

Prison: Politics, SHU etiquette, and more.


Silver Member
Jul 9, 2016

After roleplaying in prison for over 300 hours, I've decided to write this guide in order for people to understand roleplaying in prison better. A prison sentence is not an easy thing to roleplay accurately. Many people doesn't understand how prison life works and as a result, they find prison boring. Prison isn't boring, when roleplayed accurately, prison roleplay could be as intense as roleplaying in the outside.

Prison is full of politics. It starts right when an inmate arrives to prison. Usually, he'd stick to his own car (car means a group of inmates), and give his IAF (Inmate Admission Form, containing the person's info and criminal record) to the inmate in charge of the said car. After his IAF is checked, and he's validated as a solid inmate – Means that he's not an informant nor a child molester (chomo), the said inmate would start hanging around the said group. The tables at the dayroom are usually divided racially, and every race claims one table (or more) according to how large the group is. Same goes for payphones and the prison yard – it's mostly split between the different racial groups in prison. Minorities often stick with larger groups to get by, or just organize themselves as one big group. Trespassing could cause fights to ensue.

Prison gangs are quite a common thing, it isn't unusual for a skinhead to land in prison and get himself affiliated with gangs such as PENI (Public Enemy Number I) and later on, the Aryan Brotherhood. These groups keep a very strict routine (also called program) while also supporting the criminal trade inside the prison. However, a white inmate, for example, would never pass a Sureno inmate items that could later be used as weapons, such as razors, plastic that could be shaped into shanks, etcetera. Prison gangs often conduct business together, starting from drugs, booze, and usage of phones. Usually, if one gang has beef with other groups inside the prison, friendly and neutral gangs will often be notified of the coming fight or beef, to make sure they prepare and finish their business before things go south. Despite that, if everyone follows their program (should be the regular, ideal situation) the dayroom will be incredibly peaceful.

Correctional Officers (CO's, hacks, feds) are the ones assigned to keeping the prison peaceful. They will mostly ignore things that aren't going to disturb the whole prison. If an inmate is drunk in his cell, as long as it doesn't turn into a bigger issue, most correctional officers would not bother themselves with handling the issue unless they're a part of an investigative unit (aka Goon Squad). Correctional officers will mostly try to avoid pissing off inmates, and more specifically, inmates with long-term prison sentences simply because inmates such as those will have a lot of time to plan their revenge, and the usual CO would prefer avoiding issues that aren't needed.

The more violent, heavyweight inmates are housed in the Secure Housing Unit (SHU). This unit is generally following even stricter rules. It is often very quiet, and inmates get one hour of yard time again. Yard time is often divided – Whites and Surenos on one rotation, Blacks and Nortenos on the other. New arrivals often behave according to rules just because of the other inmates housed in the unit. Communication is mostly handled through fishing lines with kites flying from cell to cell, passing written notes, commissary and more. Correctional officers working in a SHU will often be extra cautious when handling inmates, officers breaching protocol will get an inmate coming at them the first second he catches them slipping – for example, the CO uncuffed the inmate through an open cell door and not through the food port, as expected.

There's a lot more to cover regarding prison roleplay, but I think these are the absolute basics that one should know before roleplaying in prison. Enjoy!


May 9, 2018
Damn, nice guide.
After roleplaying in prison for over 300 hours,
Is it possible to roleplay in a prison in here? Has that feature been implemented? If yeah how can one volunteer to be prisoned for a big time? I'd love to join in on the prison roleplay.