If your husband or boyfriend is in prison, it may be difficult to understand what it is truly like on the inside of prison 24/7. Maybe you do not want to know and you feel that it is just better if you are ignorant about the subject. Either way, you should understand what things are like for him. The reason why is that his surroundings and circumstances affect his moods, behavior and decisions. Men do not change, they only adapt. If he has to adapt to life in prison, very little on the outside of his walls will matter in comparison to survival and respect on the inside.
Dealing with losing freedom in the beginning will create huge amounts of stress. I once asked a prison inmate what prison smells like. His answer, “What does prison smell like. Fear, desperation, loathing, tears, sweat, anger, hate, dirty socks. A locker room. It used to smell like cigarettes but they don’t let us smoke anymore.” Losing freedom, and then accepting this fact, is a horrendous undertaking for a human being. Screaming, crying and self hatred are rampant, the environment is filthy, and if you are around a lot of talkers, the drama is high. There is noise at all hours of the day and fighting and scuffles are to be expected.
Why he made need to fight while he is in prison. Among men, insults are not just a matter of losing tempers as with women. With men in prison, if someone insults you, you have to defend yourself physically in order to retain respect. This is no small matter. Losing respect in prison will either get you killed, severely beat up, or raped. Every man must maintain a solid level of respect among the others or his ass is about to get busted…in more ways than one.
An example of this is if two men are passing each other and one accidentally bumps into the other. The other says “F*** you,” and at this point, it has become a matter of respect. To ignore the comment will demote your status, and repeated ignoring in the future will get you in serious trouble. To maintain respect, a small scuffle might ensue. This is no big thing, and will only result in your man getting sent to The Hole (short-term isolation) for a small period of time. Sometimes, this is for only a day or two. Either way, it does not affect communication with you, since he is able to write from and receive letters in The Hole. If you give him ultimatums and try to get him to not fight and not go to The Hole, it is not only counterproductive, but it may get him into serious trouble if he is afraid of losing you and refrains from defending himself. Do not put him in this position.
The loneliness can only be fixed by one person: You. Yes, if a prisoner is not in isolation or under special management, he has quite a bit of company in the other inmates. But you must understand that this is a lonely lifestyle. It is being alone in a crowd. Not everyone can be trusted, not everyone wants to talk, and commiserating with another prisoner is about as effective as drying yourself off with a wet towel. You can change things for him, make things easier, and truly comfort him with your phone calls (funding them), letters and pictures. Send him books, socks, washcloths or whatever you are allowed to send, remembering to have them sent through the vendor, and not directly through you.
Understanding the inside of a prison will come with asking your man lots of questions, talking to a couple of guards, and keeping your eyes and ears open. Yes, it is very important that you understand the surroundings of your other half. You cannot escape from it. You will have to get to know it closely. Take comfort in the fact that once you get to know it, you can significantly improve the lifestyle of your inmate.