My name is William Smith, 32 years old. I will tell you the story of how I survived in Illinois’ Cook County Jail as a first timer. I was caught in possession of 120 grams of Marijuana. In Illinois, USA, it is considered as a Class A misdemeanor offense. I was sentenced to serve for a year in the county jail. Of course I know the word “jail”, but I only knew the depth of that word when I was convicted.
I became prisoner #98863. Only then was I able to accept that as far as the society is concerned, I am not one of them anymore. I am a number, and that’s it. Prison life is very different from those you see in the movies and TV shows. I can feel the stares of the other inmates. I always try to look down but their shouting and laughter terrified me.
I was really scared for my life, especially during lights out. As much as possible I want to sleep but fear took over my body. Fred, my cellmate, told me that it is normal for first-timers not to be able to sleep on their first night. I told him that I believed my case was different, that Fred cannot understand the pain I am experiencing right now.
I am alone and I have to deal with it. He shrugged it off and told me that no one cares about my story and it is best if I learn some respect. The hardest part for first-timers in jail is the first week. Time seems to move slowly. No one wants to talk to me, and I don’t know who I could trust from the sea of people surrounding me.
The first week is when I feel the gravity of my prison life. I repeatedly told myself, “I don’t belong here, I’m a good citizen, I’m not a bad person.” But the other inmates told me that they do not care where I came from, or what was my standing in life is. What they care about is to gain influence and money and control over the likes of us, inside the county jail.
The second and third months inside, I already miss my family. I miss eating good food, and I miss not being afraid for my life. Fist fights became normal for me after four months. It’s the way of the inmates to blow off steam, and usually to pass the time. At first I thought that the jail guards are on my side. But as my time in prison continues, I see them to do more harm than good.
They have their “favorites” among us, but we are always on the lookout for “snitches” who may be spying on us. There is literally no one that you can fully trust while you are in jail. You can have friends, but never reveal everything to them, as it may be used against you in the future.
The last few months before my release were very blurry and stagnant. I already have my morning routine of breakfast and workout. At lunchtime, I have to do errands for my bosses, and before I knew it, its dinner time already.
When it was time for my release, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw my face. I was able to survive the Cook County Jail, I did it. Still, I know that I am not that same person who came inside that jailhouse a year ago.
How I Survived In The Cook County Jail And What Can You Expect If You Are Sentenced There!
It is one thing to go to jail, and an entirely different thing to go to Cook County Jail. Located in Chicago, Illinois, it is the largest county jail in the United States. Well-known criminals such as Al Capone and Richard Speck have gone through its processes. However, the jail’s reputation need no boosting from famous people. Its own horrors can stand on their own. Stories have surfaced and warnings are raised, but what if one does found himself inside of this loathsome place? Is there any way to survive the system?
Going to Cook County, it is probably best to assume the worst because the worst is what’s coming. It is better to be prepared for whatever physical and emotional strain being in jail will bring. Unlike most common cells, the cells of Cook County are literally over cramped and some, infested with rats. There will be a dirty sink and toilet to be shared among 50 or so men, depending on the size of the cell. Some have experienced being with 300 people, with not much room to sit in. However, majority of the time entering the jail is consumed by being placed in different cells. One will be called, some processes are done, and will be placed in a different cell. By the first night, the thin plastic mattresses and cold walls would not matter in exhaustion.
Fifty-three percent of the population, more or less, are black. Most of them are members of a gang. Despite the media’s popular propaganda, there is minimal actual mistreatment among inmates. Some have a ‘test’ to see whether the newcomer is a racist or thinks he’s superior in some way, but enough respect and humility will buy a ticket to some peace. Most of these people are awaiting depositions or trials so there is no real violence happening, forget rape or other sex offenses. There are actual decent people who will try and talk things but any sense of privacy might just as well be forgotten due to overcrowding.
One of the highest rules in Cook County, or any other jail, is to not be a snitch. A snitch is a term that describes telling on somebody. It may sound horrible but there are just some things one would have to walk away from. Trying to tell the guards will cause you to become target number one, so it would be best to just avert eyes.
Food will be horrible and sometimes non-existent. It may be a violation to the inmate’s rights, but there will be no complaining here. Due to the large number of people who need to be fed, you will face either horrible food or no food at all.
Arrangements are quite difficult and the officers are demeaning, but most of the time, inmates will face boredom. Reading materials are permitted but are somehow guarded by their owners. There is television, but it will most likely be about basketball shows. So your main concern would be figuring out what to do with your time. Oversleeping and not being able to exercise will result to slow deterioration of the body, what with the food and all, but if there’s an opportunity to go to the gym, you might as well grab it.
Cook County Jail is harsher and more horrible than usual jails, but it is still guarded by the same principles for survival. Respect other people and one will be left alone. Do not complain, be a snitch or start fights. Try being productive by reading or playing cards or watching television. Waiting for it to be over will probably be tedious, but as much as possible, have a more positive attitude during the stay. Cook County matches the same, dirty deeds of those sent there, but even so, everyone still have rights. It would be best to remember your rights.
So you may be asking how did I knew what to do and how to behave as a first timer hence ensured my survival. Prior to my sentencing I browsed the internet for info and stumbled on a guide by Peter Maxwell (the skinny white guy). After reading it, I was amazed at the amount of life saving rules and valuable information it contains hence here’s a review.
Review of Peter Maxwell’s How to Survive In Prison or Jail
This is a review of How To Survive In Prison Or Jail by Peter Maxwell. The book is definitely a must read for people who are in danger of being put behind bars. It is also an eye opener to those who are just curious as to how prison life may be. The book gives the reader a glimpse of the norms, culture, and what to expect while you’re inside a prison.
His method of writing is simple and concise, everyone can easily understand it. You can use the book as a refrence to most situations that may happen in prison. “How to Survive Prison or Jail” can also give an assurance or a pat-on-the-back to people who are losing hope or is really afraid of what may happen to him when he start to serve his sentence.
The author’s explanations are organized in such a way that you can read it casually and still be able to get useful information. This is so because Maxwell provided a careful examination of the common feelings a prisoner may experience while he is in jail.
The book is based on the personal account of the author. The stories and situations that the author explained in his book are realities that prisoners face everyday. In order to survive the harshness of a jail cell, you must be able to face dangers not only from the people around you but also from yourself. You have to understand that prison life will affect you both physically and psychologically. There is no one who can confidently say that he or she survived prison alone.
Support from your fellow inmates, sometimes even with the jail guards, can help you control the pain and loneliness you feel. Maxwell’s book can give comfort to those people knowing that someone has been on the same situation that they are in. Maxwell’s book is proof that someone like you can get over prison life.
The book also provided insights about the advantages and disadvantages of obtaining the service of a public attorney from a private attorney. The author also explained that the accused must always be vigilant around attorneys, as the errors of the attorneys will reflect the future of the accused.
Maxwell’s book will also tell you the first things you should do after you’ve served your sentence. After life in prison, you will need to get re-accepted to society. The book will give you a few ideas which will help you feel that you belong to the society again.
The book is the whole package, from the moment you start your trial until you get out of prison and return to your home. You can relate with it. It is very important that you retain your character when you get out of prison. Not everyone survives prison, some literally dies and others lose themselves.
It must be stated that Maxwell’s book is not a guide for each and every situation that you may encounter once you are inside. But you will definitely have an advantage among other prisoners. With that you can make your time in jail more productive instead of mindlessly staring at the wall everyday. No one will tell you that prison life is good, but you can do a lot of things to make your life better even in prison.
I would love to share with you all the advices from this guide, but that is against the author’s copyright clause. So if you want to know how to survive your prison or jail sentencing I advise you to give this guide a chance. If you are still hesitating please know you have a 60 day money back guarantee. So I urge that you do not waste your time elsewhere like I did in the beginning and click the image below to visit the official site and download the ebook How to Survive Prison or Jail by Peter Maxwell. Good luck!
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