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Playing With / Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All

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Basic Trope: An incarcerated criminal is able to continue conducting criminal activities from Prison.

  • Straight: Bob, a notorious drug lord, is imprisoned. He has various Mooks and Elite Mooks on the outside continuing to sell drugs and conduct "business" on the outside, and place a percentage of the earnings into his commissary account, as well as taking care of his wife and keeping her in the lifestyle that she's accustomed to.
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  • Exaggerated: Not only that, but Bob is selling his "products" to his fellow prisoners as well. Sometimes in exchange for commissary money, sometimes in exchange for sex or material goods. His crappy prison cell is now a Luxury Prison Suite. Oh, and did we mention that this is in a maximum security prison?
  • Downplayed: Bob is is kept current on the news, and the business runs on, but it would be fine without him.
  • Justified:
    • Bob was so influential that he is able to get people to do his dirty work for him, both inside and outside the prison walls. He may have even planned this ahead of time.
    • Bob is in prison for a White-Collar Crime, and was sent to a minimum security prison, which has a lot of luxuries and resources available, and less supervision from guards/staff.
    • Bob is placed under "house arrest," rather than being sent to prison.
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  • Inverted: After Bob is arrested and sent to prison, his gang undergoes a Succession Crisis, stops making the sales on the drugs, and eventually falls apart.
  • Subverted:
    • Bob is heavily supervised, and is losing his connections.
    • Bob is placed in a "supermax" prison. He is alone in his cell for 23 hours a day, and is not allowed to receive or send mail or have visitors.
  • Double Subverted:
    • His wife, Alice, is able to continue his drug business until he gets out.
    • He has someone funneling ill-gotten money into his account.
    • He prepared ahead of time, and has someone on the outside taking care of things for him. Also, he makes good use of the one hour he does have outside of his cell, and communicates secretly with other inmates while in his cell.
  • Parodied: Bob is in a Cardboard Prison.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob is able to continue some activities, but not others.
    • Bob is always allowed to continue operating - however he is being monitored and used as the perfect mole - one who doesn't know that he is being monitored. He keeps on organizing more operations though - but that is because Bob is being used as a Judas Goat for organized crime.
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  • Averted: Bob is not in prison.
  • Enforced: The author thinks their country's prison system is too lax.
  • Lampshaded: "While I'm in prison, I want you to keep my business afloat."
  • Invoked: Bob bribes the prison guards to turn a blind eye to his activities while he's serving in prison, so that he could continue to run his crimes via phone call or other means.
  • Exploited: The Starscream uses the opportunity to take over Bob's position.
  • Defied:
    • The police, knowing that Bob's gang is still on the loose, cuts off Bob's communications with the outside world to prevent him from operating from behind bars. They also put his wife, Alice, on their watchlist, just in case she is involved in Bob's criminal activities and would take over for him.
    • The courts decides to sentence Bob to death in order to cut off Bob's criminal activities for good.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: "Are the guards stupid? How can they not notice Bob contacting his gang?"
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