I can’t speak for other states, but in Arkansas prisons, it’s important to always keep your cell clean. I consider it basic home training to clean up behind yourself.
When living in a cell with someone, I stress off the bat that we both clean up what we mess up. I was raised in a tidy house, so I always keep my room tidy. Our prisons are mostly run by women, and I tell my cellie that you never know when a woman might come and shake you down. If that happens, you don’t want a smelly room.
My other rules are: brush your teeth, shower daily, no farting and no burping.
When a person is sleeping, I take company out of the cell or away from the sleeping area. Communication is key to helping cellies or neighbors get along. If I’m doing something you don’t like, don’t be passive — voice your problem. I’ve seen fights happen when one cellie just kept quiet.
As I said before, it has been instilled in me to be clean and smell good. I will be the main person cleaning up because it’s what I do. It’s hard to find a cellie like me, so if you have one, be appreciative.
I’ve come to realize a lot of these younger guys don’t shower or clean up the cell or sleeping area, so I have to be on top of their behavior as soon as possible.
Sometimes if you bug a person about doing something like that then it rubs off on them and they clean up without being asked.
Most of all, let your cellie know if you have weapons so that you’ll have an understanding of who takes their charge. This also goes for holding drugs or smoking drugs.
Follow these rules, and everything should be good.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.