There are an estimated 2.4 million people being incarcerated in the US federal, local and state prisons. Collectively, the number of inmates in the country constitutes the fourth biggest city in the USA, knocking down the state of Houston down a notch. When you include people under correctional control, including those in parole and probation, the number climbs up to 7 million.
According to the report conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2013, there have been 3,281 prisoners who were given life sentences without any parole for non-violent crimes such as shoplifting, stealing and selling small amounts of marijuana. There has also been a dramatic increase in fatalities inside US prisons. How do prisoners (inmates) survive in prison? This article will tackle some of the things an inmate can do in order to survive in jail.
Tips on How to Survive in Prison
A prison is a dangerous place and anything can happen inside the facility as criminals from diverse backgrounds come together. To survive the place, you need to gain a new instinct for danger. If you feel that something wrong is about to happen, stay out of trouble as much as possible. Most inmates survived the ordeal by trusting their first instinct.
Do not associate yourself with any gangs. It has been a common misconception by many that getting into a gang inside prison can provide a sense of security. However, you will need to carry out unspeakable things before the gang renders you the protection that you need. Instead of getting yourself protected, you end up getting into trouble. Gang-related fatalities have increased in the past decade and the authorities are cracking down gangs who cause troubles.
Also, do not do drugs or gamble while inside the prison. Getting caught doing drugs can affect your case and you may end up adding more time to your sentence. Gambling is also one of the main culprits if fighting inside prison as inmates fight over incurred debts. Getting in trouble over these things will also affect your prison record. These may get in the way of your chances of getting parole or getting out of prison before your sentence is over. There are some federal courts that can give some prisoners reduced prison time for good behavior. This also depends on a lot of other factors but good behavior while in prison counts a lot. Aim for that instead of getting into more trouble, especially regarding drugs. Just because you are already in prison and serving a sentence does not mean they can’t charge you with other crimes. Be smart.
Respect Begets Respect
How do prisoners (inmates) survive in prison? You need to respect the authority and your fellow inmates in order to survive in prison. If you learn how to respect others, they will also do the same way to you. As much as possible, do not get into confrontational situations either with your fellow inmates or any of the jail staff. Be respectful in your words and avoid using any foul language when conversing.
If others disrespect you, try to be calm and do not fight back with hostility. Getting away from a fight is not considered cowardice. You need to simply walk away and avoid any eye contact. Actually, it takes more of a person’s willpower to resist the urge to fight than to throw a sucker punch. You need to remember that getting into trouble is not worth wasting your time and life. You may be in prison but that does not mean you will live the rest of your life on a downward spiral. Your prison sentence is just a period of your life, not the entirety of it. Expect that inmates will try to get you in trouble. They will mock you and prod you to do something you will later on regret. Maintain a good attitude and stick to your goal of serving your sentence and getting on with your life once you regain your freedom.
Mind your Attitude
Your attitude will greatly affect how you will spend your prison time. Be too tough and there will be more than a few inmates who will happily adjust that attitude for you. You will be a moving target for most of the inmates. Worse, your tough attitude will get you in trouble with the jail staff as well. If you come off too weak, you will also be a target for bullies. Inmates will surely seize the opportunity to take advantage of you. The prison is not the place to be meek and mild. You need to walk a fine line in adjusting your attitude. Granted, you won’t please everybody and you have to look out for yourself, but take care not to be too aggressive. Maintain the right balance between tough and mild-mannered. Choose your battles wisely and continually adapt to every situation.
Maintain Outside Communication
Getting imprisoned is not the end of life. No matter how grave your offense may be, there is still hope for you. Expect that there will be people who will dump you once you get into prison, but there will also be some who will still try to maintain a relationship with you. It may be your family or some of your friends. During your time in prison, you may also get a chance to meet people from the outside. Keep your communication lines open and do not shut the door to anyone who wants to be there for you.
A support system is very important. You can get encouragement from these people to make life inside prison more bearable. It is more heartening and easier to survive in prison knowing that outside, there are those who still think and care about you. Be grateful, even if they’re just a handful. You are less likely to feel alone, abandoned, or forgotten. Prison life can be less burdensome if you allow people to still be a part of your life.
As soon as you have entered prison, you are already serving your sentence for the crimes you have committed. The only thing you need to do is to serve your sentence and change your life once you gained your freedom. However, before you can go back to the outside world, you need to endure the ordeals inside the jail. If you are asking how do prisoners (inmates) survive in prison, simply follow the tips mentioned above. Being in prison is actually not that hard if you know what to do.