When a person receives a prison sentence from a judge, the first thought that comes to mind is, “How am I going to make it in prison?” When the gavel drops and the individual is taken into custody to await transfer to prison, they are frequently scared and nervous. How am I going to make it in prison? Most of us learn about the prison system from television shows that depict the worst-case scenarios.
Being incarcerated can elicit a variety of emotions, including anxiety, frustration, anger, and fear. Walking into your prison dorm for the first time is an extremely overwhelming experience. Your first day in prison will stay with you for the rest of your life. Is it secure? Who should I speak with? What am I supposed to do? All of your thoughts are filled with questions.
Keeping your mind sharp and understanding basic prison etiquette are essential for surviving a prison sentence. There are things you can do to make the time less taxing on your mind, emotions, and body.
How to treat other inmates?
When entering prison, having an attitude is not the best impression to make. Other inmates, like you, are human beings. These are people who, like you, made the wrong decision. You must not display extreme toughness or fear. It is best to maintain a sense of balance and to remain optimistic regardless of the circumstances.
It is best to recall behaviors that appear to be normal on the outside. Respecting others and remembering your manners will allow you to face your prison sentence with confidence. In the prison system, respect goes a long way. Stealing is considered one of the most serious forms of disrespect and is not tolerated. It is not proper prison etiquette to inquire as to why someone is incarcerated or how long their sentence is. When an inmate has faith in you, they may open up about their personal circumstances.
It never hurts to get to know your cellie. This does not imply that you reveal all of your personal information, but having someone to play cards with or simply talk to is a welcome distraction from the monotony of prison life. Being friendly with your cellie can also assist you in determining what is in your cell. It’s reassuring to know that your cellmate will not and does not have contraband that could be mistaken for yours.
Staying to yourself
It is important to remember that you are accountable for your actions, both verbal and physical. Although having friends in prison will help the time pass faster, it is best to consider follow inmates to be acquaintances.
Discussing your business, such as a conviction and jail sentence, can be detrimental. Some inmates will purposefully cause mayhem in order to jeopardize their chances of parole. When it comes to your finances in prison, the same principle applies.
When you are in prison, you are judged by what you do and what other inmates see. If you are frequently observed conversing with correction officers and prison trustees, you may be labeled a snitch. Being labeled as a snitch can be perilous. It is preferable to mind your own business and refrain from interfering in the business or conversations of others.
The best way to protect yourself is to keep to yourself. There are numerous prisons in the United States that range in security from minimum to maximum. There is always a physical risk to you, primarily because you are now being housed with people from all walks of life. It is impossible to get along with everyone all of the time. If you suspect a personality clash, it is best to avoid a negative situation by keeping your distance from the individual.
Don’t Get Involved
During your stay, avoid getting involved with gangs or entering into intimate relationships. Forget about the stereotypical images you’ve seen in films. Inmates are under the impression that joining a gang is the only way to get protection. This could not be further from the truth. Respect for others is what will get you protection when you need it.
Within the walls of the prison, various gangs form. You may encounter more prominent areas depending on your location. Although you may believe that prisons do not exist in some prisons, it is still in your best interest to remember that race does play a significant role in your successful completion of your prison sentence.
Inmates have their own set of rules that they follow instead of the prison rules. These are the prison’s written and unwritten rules. It is critical to understand and follow these rules. Get to know your new neighborhood. Race segregation may not be a part of your life in the free world, but it is required in prison. Races remain with those of the same race. Just remember to keep to yourself, and you’ll get through your sentence.
It is not uncommon to see relationships taking place around you in women’s prisons. Because of the loneliness, inmates who are not gay and who may be married in the outside world end up having relationships with other women. Staying single in prison is advantageous to your survival. Concentrate on yourself and what motivates you to be a better person. In prison, having an intimate relationship with another inmate can lead to problems you don’t want, especially if the other person’s former partner is also an inmate. Jealousy can arise and make your life unbearably difficult.
Staying busy in prison
While in prison, the only person you need to be concerned about is yourself. Keep yourself busy by participating in the activities and programs provided by the prison. Engage in positive activities such as exercise, education, or learning a new skill. The majority of these programs are geared toward self-improvement. The more you learn about yourself, the better you will be able to determine what changes should be made to avoid returning to prison.
Most prisons require you to work or attend classes. These classes teach you a new skill that you can use in the real world. While finishing your sentence, keep your mind, body, and spirit in mind. This can include things like exercise, going to church, and reading books to keep your mind sharp.
Many inmates devote themselves to God and take the time to study the Bible’s teachings. The interaction you have during Bible study can provide you with some like-minded individuals who encourage you to make the right decisions and stay out of trouble.
It is a good idea to start planning your release as soon as possible. What kind of work will you do? Where will you be residing? Fantasizing about your life after release is a great way to keep positive thoughts in your mind and keep you from returning to prison.
Having a lifeline on the outside
It is critical to maintain contact with the outside world. It provides a sense of belonging and support in both practical and emotional ways for the majority of people. You can stay in touch with your family and friends by writing letters or making phone calls. Although it can be difficult to hear about the things they can do that you cannot, having their support is critical to your survival.
Having the support of friends and family can help inmates improve their mood. Having people in the free world who can support you during your incarceration has been shown to reduce recidivism.
Recognize that some of your previous friends will no longer be available to you. This is not unusual. Friends aren’t usually the ones who stick by your side while you’re in jail. It is critical to recognize this and be cautious when making new friends in the future. You can usually count on your family for support.
After the initial shock wears off, an inmate is left with a plethora of unanswered questions. When you think about it, the key to surviving prison is simple. The most important aspect of surviving prison is staying focused on your own business and not getting involved in the business of others.
“Treat others as you would like to be treated,” as the Golden Rule states, is essential in prison. You want to be recognized as a human being and respected as one, so why shouldn’t others? Just because you are incarcerated does not imply that you are a bad person. Everyone desires compassion, empathy, and respect in their lives. It is the same for inmates.
Take advantage of the time you have available to learn about yourself and your situation. This is an excellent time to learn new skills and improve one’s self-esteem. It will not only keep you busy, but it will also allow you to interact with the free world in a positive way, reducing your chances of returning.