Let’s be honest, prison camp or otherwise, any kind of prison is stressful. You’ll be separated by all your loved ones. Those same loved ones will have to get by without you. This is super stressful because you are the main person who fixed the car, paid the bills, or touched her the right way. So how do you survive federal prison camp?
There is honestly no easy answer. But here are a few suggestions:
- Stay busy. Read books, write a journal, and find every way to educate yourself. As long as your mind is busy you’ll keep from going crazy. Attend as many inmate classes as you can find.
- Only focus on the positive. I understand this is easier said than done. But negative thinking isn’t going to help you move forward. In fact, it could stress you out, and (even worst) stress someone else out and that brings unnecessary drama. So focus on how great things are going to be when you go home. Look forward to that next visit. Or that inmate-ran the class.
- Create a daily schedule. This creates a structure and helps the camp life become a little more predictable.
- Learn to have fun, or enjoyment ALONE. Nothing more annoying than someone continuously all over someone and bugging you. Or just someone who was to be around and offer nothing at all. Sometimes if you can be alone, and be busy alone, you’ll attract like-minded inmates, which will make it more enjoyable.
- Find a low-stress job. Don’t focus on trying to get a job that will make time fly. As long as you’re busy and staying positive, time will move quickly. Don’t, however, get a job where everyone is stressed out because that will make your life stressful—which leads to negativity.
- Only tell your family the positive things about prison camp. Your family is more stressed than you are. You’re in a world they only see on television and they think it’s like OZ or whatever prison television show they watch. 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.
- 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. Stay alone or hang with positive people.
- Don’t concern yourself with matter outside of prison. You can’t help your wife fix the TV. You can’t help Junior with the model car. You’re not going to help your daughter with her boy problems. So don’t feel obligated to do so. I’m not saying don’t care, but thinking you should be there PLUS knowing you cant be there will only drive you crazy. The inmates who accepted the fact they can’t do those things seemed a lot happier than those who stressed over them.
- Don’t concern yourself about hurrying up to leave prison camp. 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 through your stay in prison. And most rumors are false.
- Keep your mouth shut. You’ll see someone steal—you didn’t see it. You hear something illegal—you didn’t hear it. Nothing worse than a snitch. And you’re not a better person because you told on someone. You will not help that person and the CO will not like you anymore. In fact, now everyone is watching their back because you might snitch. And the COs will have less respect for you because some see you as a sellout and some see you kissing ass.
- Never put more than $50 on your books a month. This will prevent having to pay too much in restitution. Also, you really don’t need much money in prison. I got by with $50 every two months when I cut my hours.
- Don’t be in a hurry to make friends. Understand how the prison camp works. If you’re a first-time felon, like me NOTHING PREPARED YOU FOR PRISON. So try to see who cool, who’s not. Find out who runs things and who’s full of shit. Keep in mind though, the first people you hang out with in prison, are going to be the first people you dislike. Usually, people who rush to be your friend in prison have no friends and are begging to make some.
- Don’t brag about anything. Don’t make yourself sound smarter than anyone. Actually, I find that if you trying to learn as much as you can from the people you around you’ll get a lot more.
- Stay away from cell phones and smoking. You’ll go to the SHU over that. If you’re a first-time inmate, going to the SHU (the hole) would be like “real prison” from what I was told. Plus, last time I checked, these crimes will increase your time.
- Respect everyone. The more you respect people, the more respect you’ll get.
- Avoid sarcasm. Sarcasm is very difficult to understand and will lead to misunderstanding. Wait until people better understand you.
- Don’t take ANYTHING personal. Nothing is about you. No one will care about what you do before or after you leave. Just worry about staying positive.
Remember this is an unfortunate situation to be going to a prison camp. However, you can make it a positive, fruitful experience. You just need to want to make it positive.