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Porn In Prison: 4 Real Inmates Reveal Porn-Trading Secrets Behind Bars

By March 7, 2018 No Comments
Four prisoners give the down low on how those behind bars get porn brought in though mail, officers, guards, and other means. This shines a light on the the sheer addictive nature of porn, and how it can make misbehavior even worse. Stay in school and don’t do porn, kids.

In this digital age, it seems pornography is literally everywhere.

Being connected 24/7 with devices that fit in our pockets allows anyone instant access to the most extreme and hardcore sexual content imaginable and unimaginable. Because porn has become so mainstream, many see it as a “normal” habit, a casual part of sexuality that provides a quick and easy release. After all, when it’s so easy to get porn, how could it not be viewed as a regular everyday product to consume?

However, there is one place in society where porn is difficult to come by—but that’s not to say that it still doesn’t spread like wildfire.

Porn in Prison

In many prisons, the most valuable commodity is not tobacco or even hard drugs, but porn, according to an article originally posted on VICE. “Not everyone gets high or smokes,” writes Seth Ferranti, the former inmate who penned the article for VICE, “but every inmate needs sexual release, out of loneliness or horniness or sheer boredom.”

The most common form of porn that’s circulated in prison is photocopied porn magazines. Often, actual hardcore porn mags are smuggled in by correctional officers looking to make some extra money. If you have a magazine in its entirety, it can be sold to other inmates for upwards of $200, depending on the condition. The owners then make copies and resell them in black-and-white for $20 a piece. Copies—which quickly become copies of copies—are then sold in exchange for stamps. According to Ferranti, prisoners will often trade their porn stash for another prisoner’s copies when they get bored of “their girls.”

Related: Does Porn Really Decrease Rates Of Sexual Assault?

The other popular form of porn behind bars is porn images from the internet that friends or family on the outside print out in bundles and send through the mail. A porn DVD—extremely rare in prison—can bring several hundred dollars to the officer who smuggled it in. Phones with downloaded porn videos are sold for upward of $500.

“It’s crazy the prices we pay,” one prisoner told the author over the phone. “But then again, it’s prison. Checking out a little porn is all a guy really has to look forward to.”

Punishment for XXX Contraband

Since most prisons nationwide have banned porn, prisoners will go to great lengths to both preserve and conceal their collections. Depending on the individual institution’s rules, punishments can range from confiscation or time in solitary confinement to disciplinary transfers to even new criminal charges for the introduction or possession of sexually explicit materials.

It’s interesting that while many people view porn as a harmless habit for sexual release, it is viewed as a harmful and negative influence for inmates to have. It’s easy to assume that prison officials and government administrators are aware of the research that shows how porn can lead to increased aggression and violence, and inevitably leads to an increase in seeking more hardcore material.

To get further insight into the issue of porn in prison, Ferranti talked to several prisoners around the nation currently serving sentences to learn how they get porn in, how it’s traded among inmates, and what it’s like to hide something that free Americans spend countless hours with each day.

Prisoner One

31 Years Old
Serving Ten Years at FCI Beckley in West Virginia for Crystal Meth Distribution

“There are dudes in prison who live well on the porn trade. They have regular customers, as it’s an addiction to some people. I had this old, beat-up porn magazine from 1999 with about half the pages missing that I used to rent out. The cost to rent was five stamps—approximately $1.50—for a 30-minute rental. That gets a little costly for certain dudes who are considered creeps in here, guys who have like real addiction problems, and I try to stay away from them. I sold that issue for $100 right before I transferred to another prison.

In another jail, my homeboy had a copy of this magazine he kept in a pristine plastic protector. He sold it for $200 right before he left. Another guy in here just got shipped here for getting caught smuggling in a computer. He was renting it out for $5 an hour, and had hundreds of porn videos downloaded. When he got caught, he was taken back to court and received another six-month sentence.

Related: How Consuming Porn Can Lead To Violence

Dudes will also sell photos that are sent to jail from their families or homeboys. They’ll send a stack of pictures and the inmates will sell them for three to four stamps a piece. Some inmates get tired of the same pictures so they just rotate and trade them for a new chick. The price of a single photo depends on how big the girl’s [butt] is. Some guys will even put out special requests or orders for specific girls or porn stars. I’ve seen inmates become infatuated with them, as if they were literally their chick.”

Prisoner Two

46 Years Old
Serving a Life Sentence at Pickaway Correctional Facility in Ohio for Drug Trafficking

“On the streets, the price for a magazine is usually around $10, but in prison a recent issue can run you from $200 to $300. These magazines are contraband and will be confiscated if found. You can even get an incident report or be put under investigation or in the hole for being caught in possession of porn. To protect your stash, you have to disguise the mag with a cover of an acceptable magazine.

When I was selling magazines, I had to number the pages myself because I swear dudes are so slick at tearing pages out that you might not notice a missing page. And even when you do notice, you might not know who exactly did that. I only let a selective few rent the mags I got, and I go through every page before and after so there aren’t no misunderstandings.”

Prisoner Three

38 Years Old
Serving 18 Years at USP Big Sandy in Kentucky for Bank Robbery

“I’ve been to five different compounds over my 14 years in prison, and I’ve seen the same black-and-white porn photocopies everywhere. They just get worse and worse, copy-wise, but I still buy them. It’s the closest I’ll get to [a woman] in forever. There are different ways of getting them in, such as through special mail. But the main way is the old-fashioned way—through cops and correctional officers. They make fake covers and bring them in with other magazines.

The black-and-whites are kept wherever. The guards aren’t going to mess with them because they know you haven’t seen [a woman] since Bush was president, so they’ll leave your stash alone. If a man doing life has an obsession with [a porn star], you don’t want to be the one to come in between that.

Related: Letter From A Sex Offender: How I Went From Vanilla Porn To Child Porn

There’s no such thing as internet porn in the big house. We don’t have access to anything in here, so that’s out. I had the chance to mess around with a screen phone a few years back in another prison. It had so much porn on it, I nearly had a heart attack right there. Dudes were using the phone for nefarious activities, but all I was trying to do was watch porn. They were like, ‘You can see the security truck driving around the prison on Google Earth!’ and I was like, ‘Dude, [forget] that—look at all this porn!'”

Prisoner Four

40 Years Old
Serving 35 years at MDC Brooklyn in New York for Racketeering

“When one homie moved our unit, we had a whole DVD case of porn. We’d put a smuggled DVD player on a crate in the slop sink—like one in a janitor’s closet—with a chair, and have dudes lined up waiting to go in. We called it the ‘Boom Boom Room,’ and it was right next to where we played poker. It was the best of both worlds and you could pick your poison.

It’s definitely big business in here, and whenever someone needs to take their mind away from all that’s going on.”

Why This Matters

Even in a place where porn is outlawed and runs the risk of adding time to an inmate’s sentence, it is still a thriving and booming industry behind bars. If this doesn’t show the popularity and normalization of porn in our day and age, not to mention the ineffectiveness of placing a ban it, then nothing will. The proven negative effects of porn are too many to count, and in an environment like prison, there is no doubt that introducing porn is like pouring gasoline on a fire.

Infamous serial killer/rapist Ted Bundy even commented on prisoners’ fascination with porn in his last interview before being executed on death row.

“I’ve lived in prison for a long time now and I’ve met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence just like me and without exception, every one of them was deeply involved with pornography. Without question, without exception, deeply influenced and consumed by addiction to pornography.”

Related: Police: Florida Attorney Caught Filming Porn Videos In Jails With Female Inmates

Now, of course, people who consume porn will not automatically become serial killers or be directly driven to committing crimes. However, as research and current events have shown, there is a common behavior among people who commit heinous crimes—they often have an unusually high interest in porn and usually have a long history with it that typically extends back to their childhood.

At the end of the day, nothing positive or beneficial for society comes from porn. The fact that porn is banned behind prison walls goes to show how harmful of material it actually is. Just like weapons and drugs, porn is viewed as something that will only make misbehavior worse, and lead to serious problems for those who view it. Doesn’t that say something about regular consumption, too?

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