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Why would anyone claim to have been in prison, when in fact they never were?

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Joined: 12 years ago
Ironically, this came up recently when someone in a comment accused me of “not knowing what I was talking about” and “clearly having never been to prison” because the experience I shared was different than their experience.
FYI, I did a 6 1/2 year federal sentence.
I thought at the time “lol I wish that was true!” Because, honestly, who would make that up? Who would want to put such a stigma upon themselves if they don’t have that record?
But here’s the sad answer: Because to a lot of people, it’s not a stigma, it’s a positive. They think it makes them look like badasses. That it makes them look “cool” even. That it gives them street creed.
And, the thing is, because of elements in our society there’s truth to this.
In some communities it’s worse than others. People might disagree with me here, but this has been my experience taken both from growing up poor in a racially diverse area and my prison time:
In white, Asian and Indian-American communities you are looked down upon for having gone to prison. Worse, you are shunned and cast out even.
In Hispanic and black communities, it’s the opposite. The part I think is positive is that you aren’t shunned or judged for having gone to prison. You are accepted it. As a white guy, my experience has been that the people who look at me like I have 4 heads the most when they find out are other white people, but I’ve never felt judged by a black or Hispanic person when they found out. It’s like no big deal.
The problem is it goes too far to that extreme and having gone to prison gives you some kind of street creed and makes you “cool”. As Chris Rock said in one of his stand up specials “you graduate from college, no ones cares, but if you come out of prison and you’re the f**king man!”
And people want that kinda of street creed and respect, so that is a reason they might lie about having gone to prison.