Before I went to prison, I never imagined what it would be like to be inside. I had a normal life, graduated from college, and had a great job. I am 33 years old and have two speeding tickets when arrested for possession and cultivation of marijuana, so my experience in prison is limited to what I see on TV and movies.
The only time I ever thought about how I’m going to survive prison or be an inmate is when I watch prison Break or electric wire, But even then, I didn’t really think about it because I never thought I’d be a prisoner.
Of course, that all changed in 2013, as Missouri had yet to legalize medical marijuana. So my politics and my willingness to do what I fervently believe in (even if it’s illegal) ended up getting me four years in prison and I had to find a way to survive. This leads to today’s topic ㅡSurvival Secrets in Prison.
In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:
- Treat other prisoners with respect and kindness
- Don’t Join a Gang or Find a Girlfriend
- keep busy when you’re in jail
Treat other prisoners with respect and kindness
Just like in the free world, when you are in prison, you must treat other prisoners with respect and kindness. Prisoners are people, not animals. If you go looking for a fight, you will find one. Attitude is the key to your survival.
- Always say “please” and “thank you”. And, never forget to say “sorry” if you need to grab something or walk past someone. The better you are with people, the longer you will be in jail.
- Don’t swear, especially names like “punk” or “b****”.
- Never ask someone why they were locked up. If they want you to know, they will tell you. The same goes for sentence length.
- Don’t ask and don’t tell how much time you did it. The closer it gets to the release date, the more trouble it creates. People could be jealous, and someone could snatch your date away.
- Mind your business. Don’t try to walk into a conversation or get involved in a situation that doesn’t concern you.
- Keep how much money you have a secret and don’t borrow anything from anyone.
- If you need something, find a hustle. Don’t borrow or steal, it will only get you in big trouble. Instead, offer to do the laundry or do the dishes for someone else.
- Do not try to change the channel on the lounge TV without asking.
- Stay away from card games.
- Stay away from guards and prison staff. If other prisoners see you talking too much to non-prisoners, they will think you are an informer. And, that’s the worst reputation you can have in prison. When it comes to surviving prisons, hearing “didn’t see or hear anything” is a common response if someone on staff tries to talk to an inmate about something. And, that means saying nothing.
For me, the number one secret to surviving prison is to listen more and talk less.
Don’t Join a Gang or Find a Girlfriend
One of the things that strikes me the most about prisons is the race relationship among prisoners. Everyone is divided by race, and you have to be aware of that if you want to survive in prison.That doesn’t mean you can’t mingle with people of different races, but race seems to matter in prison
Joining a gang will make it worse because gangs are all about race. You’ll have a much better day if you just keep a low profile and keep to yourself instead of joining a gang or clique.
When it comes to women’s prisons, don’t get involved. It’s a big deal in prison, “stay gay” and then “straight at the door”. I don’t know if it’s because I’m lonely or I want a commissary, but women in prison just love to hook up. However, all it does is cause serious drama.
Be very careful about who you talk to and who you befriend. Staying away from relationships, cliques and gangs will greatly help you survive prison. Instead of worrying about other people, focus on yourself.
This experience is scary for your mind, body, and spirit, and you have to focus on those things. If you don’t, there could be some serious consequences.
keep busy when you’re in jail
Focusing on yourself can help you stay busy and survive your prison sentence. It’s important to hit the gym as often as possible, or you could join a basketball or softball team. Participate in different programming. Most prisons have some kind of sport, exercise or fitness program that you should be involved in.
Sitting in a cell for 23 hours a day has the potential to destroy you mentally. You have to be active when you get the chance. It is recommended to take classes or find a job. Keeping yourself occupied helps the day go by, and earning money to spend at the kiosk or learning a new skill is a great way to pass the time.
Stay in touch with family and friends as much as possible. If you have money, write and call regularly. Talking to someone outside can be difficult, but this kind of support is important. I couldn’t have gotten through this time if it wasn’t for my family and friends.
Take your time to understand how things work inside because there are two sets of rulesㅡprison rules and prisoner rules. You have to navigate that world, so pay attention to the details. Again, listen more and talk less.
Remember to be patient, because things don’t happen quickly in prison. Everything will take infinitely longer than it should, so expect that to happen. Finally, even if your release date is years away, start planning your release as soon as you hit the yard.
When you’re bored sitting on your bunk, think about what you want to do when you get out. where are you going to live What kind of job are you looking for? If you pay too much attention to life in prison, you are more likely to go back to prison again.
I’m sure there are many more things that help people survive prison, but these things really helped me get through my four years behind bars. I’ve never had a fight, never been in a hole, and never received a violation.
For the most part, the other inmates seemed to like me, or at least have no problem with me. And, that’s all I could ask for.
Do you think you can survive the prison? Or, if you survived prison, how did you do it? Let us know in the comments below.