I recently read some journals from another inmate who estimates that up to 70% of inmates engage in some kind of consensual homosexuality in prison. What do you think of that estimate? How do inmates deal with the effects of long term incarceration and the fact that human beings are sexual beings and in prison there is no normal outlet for that?
I would say that 70% is way too high a number of men who have engaged in homosexual behavior in Colorado. From what female prisoners say, it may even be as high as 80% for them, but not for men. Even in states where homosexual behavior is accepted, I seriously doubt that high of a percentage of men do it.
Here in Colorado I’d put the men’s percentage at around 15% because of how much it is frowned upon. As I said earlier, it varies among the sub-cultures in here but it is abnormal behavior in Colorado, though it is on the increase.
We are sexual beings but we find outlets. That is one reason the recent ban on “penetration” porn (which is the vast majority these days) in Colorado makes little sense. It is almost as if the prison administration wants to encourage homosexual behavior and the epidemic of hepatitis C in here by taking away our outlets. Even some wardens questioned the wisdom of that move. I HATE porn and the attitude towards sexuality it creates, but it really is a necessary evil in here as long as there are no conjugal visits.
But we have found non-homosexual outlets for that yearning of emotional intimacy and closeness. The friends I have made in here have bonds closer than brotherhood. They would unquestionably go to hell and back for me and I for them. When denied romantic love, fraternal love burns brighter. That is why gangs can cause such problems in here, their bonds are so strong they think nothing of killing for one another or throwing away their lives. I know guys with just a few months left who went out and stabbed another inmate in front of everybody for their gang. Natural healthy affection is denied to us and it is easily perverted into an unhealthy one. You won’t find many people more loyal than a convict, even if that loyalty is twisted and misplaced.