It’s time for another Super Bowl. And yes, just like on the street, there are bookies in prison. This article shows a little bit of how things work, but it doesn’t talk about the dangers of gambling in prison. When people ask me about how I managed to get through five years of prison without any major physical altercations I tell them that 1. God protected me and 2. that I didn’t engage in any of the behaviors that tend to attract violence. There are a number of activities that put you at risk. I tell guys to avoid things like sexual activity, controlling the television, loaning and borrowing money and especially gambling. Next to television, the most violence I saw in prison was related to gambling. Whether it was playing cards for mackerals, or betting on sports via the ubiquitous weekly tickets put about many different bookies, inevitably there would be altercations around each week’s results.
So if you’re entering prison and thinking it may be fun to bet on a few games, I encourage you to think twice. It is definitely not worth it. Not only is it dangerous, but if you’re caught it could also result in an infraction, time in the hole, loss of privileges and worse.
The Superbowl attracted more that 111 million viewers in 2014. A few million of those 111 million people watching the big game were incarcerated in jail or prisons around the country. I watched 5 Super Bowls while serving my sentence and it was a welcome respite from the daily routine, but also a reminder of the separation from my family and friends.
Both at FCI Elkton and FCC Petersburg I was able to watch the Super Bowl without much incident. There is a lot of gambling that goes on around the game, but I avoided that kind of behavior along with the resulting conflicts and potential violence that go along with it. It is amazing how invested the guys would be in their selected team.
Super Bowl day usually brought a special meal of pizza and wings that we could take back to the unit to eat while we watch the game. We would also often make something special like a nacho bowl with which to celebrate.
I’m grateful we were able to watch the Super Bowl despite our imprisonment. It is the small things that provide some sense of connection with the outside world. It is definitely something to look forward to.