17 Ways To Survive Prison
Let’s be honest, prison camp or any kind of prison is stressful. You’re already tired from the drawn out court process of being convicted and now you’ll be separated from all your friends, family and other loved ones. Those same people will also now have to get by without you. This is extremely stressful if you are the person who fixed the car, paid the bills, or touched her the right way. On top of all of that, you’re wondering how you’re going to survive your sentence. Even a short sentence can seem like a long time. Well, I’ve been to prison, survived and even wrote the book called Subprime Felon about it. I can tell you the ups and the downs you’ll experience, the type of people you’ll meet and advice on how to deal with the CO’s. So how do you survive federal prison camp? There is honestly no easy answer, but here are a few suggestions.
The only true way to keep your mind from going crazy is to fill it with other things and distract yourself from your negative surrounding. Read books, write a journal, and find every way you can to educate yourself. In prison they have inmate classes, attend as many as you can. As long as your mind is busy you’ll keep from losing it.
2. Focus on the Positive
I understand this is easier said than done, but negative thinking isn’t going to help. In fact, it stresses you out. Even worse, it will stress others out and cause unnecessary drama. If you begin to think about how long it’s going to take you to get home, shift your mindset and focus on how great things are going to be when you go home. Looking forward to your next visit will be extremely helpful.
3. Create a Daily Routine
What was once considered dull in life will become one of your biggest stress relievers. Having a schedule will help you focus on positive things and give you better sleep at night. It’s also proven to aid in reducing stress. This daily structure helps the camp life become a little more predictable.
4. Learn to be ALONE
This is really important. You must learn to have fun and enjoy yourself, by yourself. There is nothing more annoying than someone continuously bugs everyone. The same is true for someone who wants to hang around all the time. If you’re going to be around someone, look for like minded individuals. Staying busy without company will attract those types of people. Having people with a positive mindset makes your sentence more enjoyable.
5. Find a Low Stress Job
You definitely don’t want anything else to cause you stress. If you’re going to get a job to stay busy, find something that doesn’t add stress to your sentence. Everyone is different when it comes to stress. You may like cooking while others would be stressed in the kitchen. When searching for a job, don’t look for something you think will make time go by fast. I promise, whatever you do will make time go by quickly as long as you are buy and positive. If you notice the majority of the people who work in laundry are stressed, then it’s a sure sign that you don’t want to work there.
6. Relay Positivity
Although you are having a rough time, know that your family will be more stressed than you are. You’re in a world they only see on television and they think it’s like the prison show OZ or whatever prison tv show they watch. Tell your family positive things about prison. This will help them relax as well as help you relax knowing they won’t be worried. Prove to your family, with a smile on your face, that you’re getting a license or you’re reading that book you always wanted to read. Try to make prison camp look as fruitful as possible.
7. Stay Away From Negative People
Anyone who is extremely negative or anyone who is continuously complaining about being in prison camp will bring you down. I cannot stress this enough, negativity will make things worse for you and everyone else around you.
8. Accept the Things You Can’t Change
There is a lot of responsibility and privileges you lose while being locked up. You won’t be able to help your wife fix the TV, help Junior with the model car or help your daughter with her boy problems. Accept it and move on. Truth be told, you’re no longer obligated because you no longer have the freedom to do so. I’m not saying that you should stop caring. However if you overwhelm yourself with the former responsibility of caring for your family and couple it with the heartbreaking truth that you physically can’t accomplish any of it will only further drive you crazy. The inmates who accepted the fact that they couldn’t do those things seemed to be a lot happier than those who stressed over it.
9. Don’t Rush Your Sentence
Many new arrivals concern themselves with their release date as soon as they are locked up. The truth is, you’ll leave when you leave. Don’t get caught up with early releases or rumors about early releases. Most of those things will change several times throughout your stay and most rumors end up being false.
10. Keep Your Mouth Shut
This isn’t the place to be a saint or completely honest. You’ll see someone steal—you didn’t see it. You hear about something illegal—you didn’t hear it. In prison, there’s nothing worse than a snitch. In fact, you’re not a better person because you told on someone. It’s a bad idea because you’re not helping the person you snitched on and to make matters worse, the CO won’t even like you anymore. On top of that, everyone is watching you closely; they’re careful about what they say and block you out of conversations because they think you’re going to snitch again. The CO’s will also have less respect for you. The entire community will see you as a sellout and an ass kisser.
11. Keep Low Funds
Never put more than $50 on your books a month. This will prevent you from having to pay so much in restitution fees. Also, you really don’t need that much money in prison. I was able to get by with $50 every two months.
12. Don’t Be in a Hurry to Make Friends.
If you’re a first-time felon like I was, then NOTHING HAS PREPARED YOU FOR PRISON. My advice is to learn the prison camp system. Observe the people inside and find out who is cool, who isn’t, who runs things and who’s full of shit. Keep in mind that the first people you find to hang out with in prison are going to be the first people you dislike. Usually, people who rush to be your friend in prison don’t have any friends and are desperate to make some.
13. Don’t Brag About Anything
I would think this is something that doesn’t need to be discussed, however you wouldn’t believe that people still make this mistake. No one likes an all knowing nobody. You couldn’t have been that smart if you ended up in prison with the rest of them. Even if you are brilliantly intelligent, don’t make yourself sound smarter than anyone. Actually, I find that if you try to learn as much as you can from others, you’ll get a lot more friends.
14. Stay Away from Cell Phones and Smoking
Cell phones and smoking are violations in prison. You’ll end up going to the SHU (the hole) as punishment. If you’re a first-time inmate, going to the SHU would be like “real prison” from what I was told. You know, the horrible stuff you see on television. Also, these crimes will increase your sentencing time.
15. Respect Everyone
This is simple. You don’t have to be overly polite, but use wisdom and don’t have an attitude or try to act hard. When you respect people, the people will in return respect you.
16. Avoid Sarcasm
Sarcasm in its nature, is very difficult to understand even to the wittiest of people. To avoid terrible misunderstandings avoid sarcasm even in joking. Wait until people better understand who you are. Hopefully by that time your friends will be quicker to ask what you meant, then to harm you.
17. Don’t Take ANYTHING Personal
You will experience things that just aren’t fair, but remember, nothing is about you. No one cared about what you did before jail and no one will care about you after you leave. Just worry about staying positive and making it to your release date.
Remember, it’s an unfortunate situation to be going to a prison camp. However, you can make it a positive and fruitful experience by desiring to stay positive.