In the social hierarchy of prison inmates, mob kingpins, accomplished bank robbers, and cop killers tend to get the most respect. Convicts who have committed crimes against children, especially sexual abuse, are hated, harassed, and abused. Many inmates refer to molesters as “dirty” prisoners, and some insist that assaulting or killing them represents a service to society. But a convict’s crime plays only a small role in his social status and safety. Most jailhouse assaults happen because the victim violated prison norms, not because of the crime he committed on the outside. Those who steal tobacco, disrespect the members of an opposing gang, or snitch are in for a much rougher ride than the average molester.
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