Just like any other correctional institution, following the rules, policies and regulations set by the department is the best way on how to survive in a Texas Department of Correction. In Texas prison, there is a great emphasis on keeping the standard acceptable behavior. Not doing so is considered as an offense.
Below are some of Texas Department of Correction’s guidelines:
1. Personal Hygiene
The Texas Department of Correction firmly implements standards in grooming for both male and female offenders. Male offenders are not allowed to have beards and mustaches unless they are a member of a certain religious groups that require them. They should always be clean-shaven.
Haircut is also specified in their inmate’s handbook. The Tennessee Department of Criminal Justice does not allow any trendy hairstyles for both men and women. Male offenders should have a clean-cut style with sideburns no longer than the mid-level of the ear. As for female offenders, they are not allowed to shave their heads.
Is it okay not to follow this rule? No. Failure to comply with the standard grooming will earn a disciplinary offense under code 24.1.
2. Use of recreation yards
If you don’t want the staff to always have their eyes on you, you need to follow the rules even in the recreation yards. This means that offenders should be properly dressed. Shorts and t-shirts are acceptable in the yards. However, spending time outside while not fully dressed is considered an offense. Food and beverages are prohibited in this area.
3. Dining etiquette
If you want to know how to survive in a Texas Department of Correction, you need to learn proper dining hall manners set by the administration. This includes the following:
•No loud talking
•No cutting in line
•Follow the designated seating arrangement
•No sharing of food
•Meals should be finished within the allotted time of 20 minutes
4. No use of contraband items
Possession of any contraband item is extremely against the rules. It is important to remember that the term “possession” does not only mean physically carrying the item. Any item within your living quarters or personal storage spaces is considered as your possession, no matter who truly owns the item.
Here are some of the contraband items that you should avoid:
Gambling can cause you a lot of trouble. It makes you susceptible to prison violence. Prison betting and gambling usually involves gangs so avoid keeping betting slips in your cell at all costs.
Many people believe that prison is where you get good tattoos. But the truth is, tattoo equipment are some of the most prohibited items. To avoid penalties and finish your term on time, do not smuggle tattoo equipment into your prison cell.
You should not carry permitted items in excess. For example, the facility only allows six bottles of soy sauce so you should not carry more than what’s allowed. Certain rules also apply to toiletries and food items.
Smuggling of narcotic items such as heroin is relatively easy. It can be smuggled through mail and property. The stakes are high when you smuggle these items, as drug lords will fight to the death to preserve their drug empire inside prison.
Candies are dangerous items because they’re used as a medium of exchange inside the prison. Don’t keep candies inside your cell.
Gums are also prohibited as it can be used as a prison cell lock.
Finger rings are dangerous because they are often used as weapons during fistfights. To avoid trouble, do not keep rings or any type of jewelry in your quarters.
• Prohibited Medicines
Many prisoners use medicines to intoxicate themselves to achieve the same high created by marijuana or heroin.
Blades are forbidden for obvious reasons. Many inmates use blades to harm other prisoners and even themselves. To avoid getting into trouble, do not smuggle any type of bladed material. Avoiding blades will not only keep you safe but it will also keep your prison record clean.
Prisoners are not allowed to carry cash, but they can purchase items from a cafeteria through an account. But prison is filled with people who are experts in breaking laws so you can find a number of people carrying cash inside prison. To survive in a Texas prison facility, you should avoid smuggling or using cash.
Another most important thing to recognize on how to survive in a Texas Department of Correction is safety. Although proper caution should be exercised by the inmate himself, it does not mean that the institution does not have any rules set to protect the inmate’s safety inside the prison.
•Safety at work. It is important to report all potential hazards within your working area to your immediate supervisor. This is to make sure that the well-being of both the staff and inmates are given attention.
•Safety against sexual abuse. Even if you keep your nose clean, you can also be the target of sexual misconducts. It is highly encouraged for victims to report sexual harassment cases or sexual abuse. You can directly report the case to any staff member or the ombudsman for Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) agency.
Also, it’s important not to get involved in gangs. Stay away from them as far as you can. Also, observe the golden rule. Learn to respect other prisoners. Do not walk on mopped floors and do not engage in gossip. Be on your best behavior and learn to manage your anger. Do not try to impose your rules to other prisoners.
Also one important tip on how to survive in a Texas Department of Corrections is to keep yourself busy. This will keep you sane while you’re serving your time. Take time to read newspapers, books, and magazines. This will improve your knowledge. Reading also helps you enter into an amazing fantasy world and escape prison even just for a while.
Take care of yourself. You need to take care of your health by eating healthy foods and exercising. Also, look for signs of depression. Prisons usually have an in-house mental health professional. Lastly, do not trust anyone. Remember that you are living with the liars, thieves, swindlers, and murderers. Life in prison is difficult but small positive habits can make it bearable.