This chapter expands out from the maras to map the symbiotic relationships between prisoners, the state, and the free in order to show how deeply the world and the underworld upon which it rests interpenetrate and produce one another. These relationships and this exchange undermine the ideals of isolation and certainty the prison is meant to provide, and they reveal how struggles for control over prison life feed into the making of meaning and power far beyond prison walls. The chapter moves in three parts. “Flow” illustrates the crucial role played by female prison visitors in caring for male prisoners and how they entwine licit and illicit economic activities without which the prison system could not survive. “Friction” maps the state official–prisoner networks that control and profit from illicit businesses within and across prison walls. Finally, “Fire” explores spectacular mara-led riots against incarcerated military men who dominate prison life, and shows how these riots have reworked and exposed the state-criminal networks that shape life in prison and beyond.
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