“Snitches get stitches” is a powerful statement that implies that tattle tales or snitches deserve the consequence of being beat up various people. The outside community never favors a snitch and neither does the prison community. I spent a little time in Herlong Prison Camp and encountered snitches. Here’s a little story about why you have to be aware of snitches in prison camp and why you need to stay away from them.
One day, my friend and I were in the library. We watched a correctional officer (CO) on the baseball diamond open a garbage bag and put in some type of container, then tossed it out. He also looked through a box, pulled out clothes and something else that looked like clothes. Then he began digging with a shovel. I remember hearing that some inmates hide their phones in the dirt around the baseball diamond or the track. Seeing him with a shovel told me he was looking for phones or other contraband. My friend said, “That had to be a snitch.” He knew that the CO wouldn’t come out of his office unless he had a good reason to do so.
Snitches are the cheapest way to govern and regulate the system. Snitching provides a passive way to get revenge or power over someone else. The government officials and CO’s encourage snitching (or at least they did at Herlong) because it helps them save money on cameras and other security equipment. I’ve heard of some snitches turn in their own people for the smallest rewards. The threat of snitching makes inmates more discreet with their activities. They only disclose their activities around the people they trust. I believe this is part of the reason inmates can be antisocial or form cliques.
However, I feel snitching is a cowardly way to solve a problem. People are so quick to tell on someone else because they can’t fight. I ran into two people that told me straight up—they have no problem snitching. They felt that they were empowered by their lack of fear of snitching. If it was me, then I would try to talk it out or have another inmate that we both trust help us work it out. We couldn’t talk to a CO because they could have their own agenda that would ultimately benefit them instead of us.
However, snitching only made inmates look like bitches to other inmates and the authorities. Although snitching made a CO’s job easier, the CO didn’t respect a snitch because he saw him as someone who couldn’t fight for himself or who didn’t have problem-solving skills. They knew that the only reason they were snitching was to get someone else in trouble or to kiss the CO’s ass to get some perks that made their prison experience easier. For whatever reason, the snitch thinks it gives them power. However, a CO could change his mind, put the snitch in the hole or SHU and no one, not even the CO would remember him.
Remember, “snitches get stitches”. They aren’t respected by anyone even though the governmental system uses it to control security. Never be part of that system.