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Other prisoners

Most people in detention do not choose to be arrested, and that incarceration is a tool of the powerful most frequently used against those who are poor, non-white, or illiterate.

If we choose to be arrested as a direct action strategy we also must acknowledge this in our relations with other people who are in detention.

In a prison or lock-up, quickly contact other prisoners. They can help you much more than prison officers.

Open up your channels of communication and learn about your new environment. Be sensitive to the subculture don't immediately ask people: What are you in for? You'll probably find out in time.

Remember that in jail you do have something in common with all other prisoners you're on the same side of the wall and any complaint about police is likely to get a sympathetic hearing.

Having said all this, also be aware that there are many informers in the prisons, including those who fabricate statements for the police. However these are rarely used against people charged with petty offences.

Mass arrests can also cause crowding in cells and this can make experiences of detention even harder for other inmates. This happened in Darwin at the height of the Jabiluka Blockade. Some Aboriginal women were transferred to prisons outside Darwin, which made it impossible for their families to visit. The women asked the Jabiluka arrestees to accept bail and thereby enable their return to Darwin prison. Also see Prisons & lock-up