Even if Pinal County inmates didn’t agree with the racial segregation that took place, they adhered to it for fear of consequences down the line.
If an inmate is convicted and sent to prison, they’ll be expected to share developments from their time at Pinal County. (Jails are run by local law enforcement agencies, and hold inmates who are awaiting trial or are serving short-term sentences, while prisons are run by state or federal entities and house those who have been convicted of serious and are serving longer sentences.)
Word will quickly spread throughout the system if someone at the jail isn’t obeying the racial code, and they could face violent retribution if they go to prison.
“When you start seeing intermingling like other races eating with other races, that’s one telltale sign that something bad is going to happen to them,” a Pinal County inmate named Willie said in one episode.
“We all get along, but when it comes to these rules, they need to be abided by,” he said. “Because when you get to prison, or what we call the yard, you’re going to have to answer for everything you did in jail.”
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