(Jim Carrey in prison)
Prison culture is commonly warped by media coverage and movie/television. Outside society can only guess what is actually going on inside an institution and unfortunately, most peoples’ ideas are false. When prison culture becomes the subject of debate, it is hard to steer around inmate sexuality. One of the most intriguing types of inmates is often described as a queen. In CJS 310 with Jessie Krienert, we spent some time covering this special population. After learning more about them, I was surprised about their role within a prison.
The term surrounding all queens is tagged, “Queendom.” This is in reference to the lifestyle queens live. Queens are treated like a woman and treated well, as any male inmate or staff would treat an actual woman. These inmates are used for sex by both inmates and staff. Sex with queens is generally always consensual. This reveals how seriously the inmates regard queens and their role inside the institution. Queens are known for wearing make-up, dying their hair, and being called by their female name.
Interestingly enough, female officer are allowed to pat-down and transfer queens by themselves because they are considered to be women. This causes an extreme security threat for the officer but is consistently overlooked. Queens have an extensive history of violence inside prison and are known not to be messed with. Obviously, this special population should be treated with a little more caution.
Queens are well known for receiving special treatment from management, staff, and their prison peers. The most extreme case of this concerns queens and their networking abilities. Queens have a very wide social network and are capable of moving from group-to-group and do not hold alliances with any particular, territory, race, or gang. This makes them a valuable source for inside knowledge. Queens do not hide the fact they are snitches. Both staff and inmates know queens snitch but neither group has any issue with this. It is my understanding that they are the only group who hold this privilege. Snitches are one of the lowest forms of inmates and snitching generally will result in harsh physical violence. Queens tend to have information they can hold over other inmates which means they are safe when snitching. They can also withhold sex from other inmates which keeps them protected from physical or verbal punishment.
No other population of inmates receives favoritism quite like queens. As earlier stated, I first learned of Queendom this semester in class and was shocked by their role in prison. I have yet to see a movie portraying a group or an individual that fits this description of queens. With that said, I will leave you with a video of perhaps my favorite prisoner of all, Fleece “Booty Warrior” Johnson.