The Truth Behind Snitching | Noah Bergland

the truth about snitching | Noah Bergland

It’s said there are only two types of people in the Bureau of Prison system, those who snitched and those who wish they would have.

A snitch is defined as someone who cooperated on their case. Also known as a rat, nark, bank teller, or simply defined as “No Good.” 

In the penitentiary and mediums, two higher security levels in federal prison, this isn’t a laughing matter. If it’s found out that you’re a snitch, your life is in danger.

The Truth Behind Snitching | Noah Bergland

But once you get to the lows and camps, which are the two lowest security levels in federal prison, it’s just a reality that you have to accept. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has a high rate of cooperation and the majority of those individuals are present at the lows and camps. It’s one of those unspoken things by most but you have your groups that like to joke about it.

I had a friend in Milan that got six or seven years for a marijuana conspiracy, he chose not to cooperate, and if he did he could have easily got a sentence worth half that. He said he didn’t cooperate for one reason only because he thought it could put him at risk once he got to prison, but then he got to Milan and he was pissed. This is because he quickly learned that nobody checks paperwork and he would eventually go to a camp where it is even more acceptable.

These are a couple of phrases that I’ve heard people finishing up long prison sentences say,

I may not have told on this one, but I sure as hell am going to tell on the next one.

If anyone wants my number I will give it to them, but just know if we end up doing an illegal activity and we get caught I’m going to tell, so you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

One thing about snitching is, if you do it, make sure you are done with the drug game or whatever activity you were involved in. Because even though your first sentence will be reduced and your place of designation will be a low or camp, that might not always be the case with your second or third prison sentence.

I have heard of inmates who snitched but had such a lengthy criminal history that they still received 15 plus years in prison and found themselves bouncing from one penitentiary to the next until they finally got to a medium where they could walk the yard. “Walking the yard” means you can simply stay on the compound. When someone can’t walk the yard, they are forced to check into the special housing unit (SHU) also known as “The Hole.”

Checking in is when you tell an officer that you can’t be on the compound because you are scared for your safety. At certain institutions, other inmates will tell you to check-in, if they don’t want you on the compound, and this can be for a variety of reasons such as your charge, cooperation, or something unacceptable that you did while incarcerated.

If you are one that snitched and you are at a low or camp and people find out you cooperated there is a very small chance you are in any danger.  In most cases, it’s simply embarrassing, and you may lose some friends.

Most times you are just labeled and after a while, people forget it ever happened. Chances are most of the people that shunned you probably snitched as well, so don’t take it too personally.

That is another thing about prison: many times the person most vocal about hating rats or sex offenders ends up being one. This has happened multiple times during my stay at both Milan and Yankton. So, if you’re a snitch, it’s best to not bring any attention to yourself.


Other Stories By Noah:

Prison Jobs, Prison Cash, Prison Phones | By Noah Bergland

The Process | Noah Bergland and Dennis Cockerham

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