With the new LSP interior here on LSRP, I thought I would make a little guide to those who are do not know a lot about prison, and/or do not know how to roleplay realistically in one.
Whether you are a gang member who is spending some time in prison (inevitable for most gangsters), or you are just a regular man or woman who went down the wrong path in life, being in prison for the first time should be a frightening experience. Unless your character has been to prison before (and even if he has in the past), it is unlikely he will walk through the tiers shouting "FUCK NIGGERS! "FUCK SPICS!". Roleplaying fear is absolutely necessary to create the proper prison atmosphere for others to enjoy. Even if you may not piss your pants at the sight of a prison gang, if you have no backup then I am pretty sure your character would hand over his muffin to Lamont Armstrong and his gang of ten. On the other hand, this does not mean that Lamont Armstrong and his gang should go around and beat up everybody in the prison who is not of their race. Prison is generally a place where people of different race are seperated, and they do not fight unless there is a good reason to, as they could easily be put into lockdown. However, individual fights are quite common in prison as a way to show strength and earn respect, particularly with newly arrived prisoners. The control of a certain trade in prison is something that two gangs/race groups might fight over. I will talk about prison economy later in this thread. As a prisoner there is so many different things you can roleplay. You can find a way to relay messages across the prison, you can find a way to make a weapon, or to make alcohol. That does not mean you can powergame those things, and you should roleplay as realistically as possible when doing this (I highly doubt you can rip the metal from your bed with your barehands, whether a /coin says it or not). As a prisoner, you should also be aware that there are guards around the prison, and they will put you in lockdown. If you plan to shank somebody, or beat somebody down, don't do it infront of a guard. Plan your attack, and execute it realistically as possible, as stabbing somebody right infront of the eyes of a prison guard is the equivalent to shooting somebody infront of a cop. That does not mean there cannot be a guard in the room when you attack, but at least attempt to do the attack discretely. The prison guards are the ones who serve your meals, allow you to make calls, and allow visitors to come and see you. Keep that in mind before you go and attack them for refusing you to go outside. Next, I will briefly discuss roleplaying as a prison guard, as it is a little less complex in my opinion.
Roleplaying as a prison guard is similar to prisoner roleplay. If you are the new man on the job, I doubt you would walk around the prison hitting well known gang members with your baton. Roleplaying fear of the prisoners is very important, and it's a two-way street. If you don't want them attacking you, give them their space when it's realistic to do so. I've seen a lot of guards spray mace around like it's Febreze, and before you do so you should realize that pepper spray inside a cell will mess everybody up that is inside. Pepper spray in a closed space is not good for the user and the victim. But my main advice to the prison guards, is to get involved with the prisoners lives. As a prison guard, you are not just there to break up fights, and let people out of their cells. There is an endless list of interactions a prisoner and a guard can have, and there should always be interactions between the two, otherwise the prison will go back to being inactive and boring. As well as that, guards should create a set list of rules for the prisoners to follow, and rulebreakers should be fined or sent to the boot.
The economy in prison is very different to the economy on the outside. It is a mixture of both currency, and bartering, where a carton of smokes or prison alcohol can be used as money, along with actual US currency. The main idea with a prison economy, is that there are certain cravings that a prisoner has, but cannot get from the prison. This can be cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, ETC. You have to find creative ways to get these to the prisoners. This can be from something as small as creating prison alcohol, to a massive drug smuggling operation into the prison. It requires a bit of creativity, and once again, it has to be done right. No more dealing guns and drugs through the gates of prison. That is complete non-RP, and it is completely ignoring the security of the prison, making drugs as worthless as they are outside the prison. The prison economy does not necessarily have to be drugs or alcohol, it could be tattoos, haircuts, anything of that sort. A little bit of creativity, and you might have a new market in the prison.
Prison gangs are one of the most interesting things about a new prison, and with the new interior we can finally have enough room for them. Prison gangs are generally groups of a certain race, who join together to protect eachother, and make prison life a lot easier. As they start to gain members, they may become more money motivated, and can go as far as to tax gangs on the outside to do their work. A good example of this is La eMe, a group of prison gangs in Southern California who control both the prisons, and the streets. When a young man joins a gang, he will almost always end up either dead, or in prison. It is almost a certain path to prison for gangbangers, therefore they need protection when they get inside. Some prison gangs take advantage of this, and force them to do their dirty work with the threat that they or their family members will get killed if they ever turn up in prison. Prison gangs do not always have to operate like this, but that is just one example. There is a lot of opportunities for gangs to do business in prison, as shown in the above paragraph. The control of these drug/sex/weapon markets, as well as turf may be a reason for a gang to start a war with another in prison. A prison gang does not walk around prison taking peoples food for the fun of it usually, that's not to say it doesn't happen, but a prison gang usually controls the people inside their own race group. Prison riots usually start from the conflicts between prison gangs, not between regular convicts who decide to fight another prisoner for the hell of it. As well as that, prison riots should not happen that often unless there is a good reason to do so. Fighting another prison gang for the hell of it isn't very realistic, unless they are stealing business from your gang, and/or causing other problems with your members. Prison gangs also set their own laws for their members to follow, ranging from obvious ones (no snitching, always pay taxes), to less obvious ones (don't share your food with other races, don't disrespect a certain religion). Although that is what most prisons in the United States are like, this is Los Santos. As long as realistic roleplay is kept in the prison, there is no limits on your creativity, and I look forward to seeing the various prison factions that will pop up in the future.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rOwzwnXGXg -Prison Weapons
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxQK3tmpj4Y -Shank Creation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lL9nYbS1jBg -San Quentin Documentary
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rZh1Kdz07w -Prison Guard Training
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcf1J-P7tZw -Prison Alcohol Creation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVNgW6U0hJg -Prison Mealtimes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khaCA4EowEQ -Prison Gangs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LovwKli8RB4 -Prison Fight
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jMdeHspC1s -Interview with Mexican Mafia dropout
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtHBR-ssUIg -Prison techniques and Mexican Mafia
One of the most important things about prison RP, is the improvisation. Figure out new methods to live in prison, and don't use this guide like a textbook. It should just give you a few ideas on what to do in prison, and from there you should figure out all kinds of cool stuff to roleplay inside the new LSP. Props to David_Burger, he really made one hell of a prison.