So, after committing some kind of petty crime, you found yourself in prison. You’re lucky because you only have a two-month sentence compared to others who have to stay in prison for decades. Nevertheless, life in prison is not an easy ride. You will have to deal with people who have committed murder, rape, and many more. So, how do you survive life behind prison walls and keep your sanity?
Staying in prison may be tough, and could depress you. It is not enough reason for you not to try, though. Like what mostly happens to you, being in jail is just a stage; it’s a trial, and there will always be a way to get through this. Here’s how to survive 2 months (60 days) in jail:
1) Keep a low profile.
You don’t want to become an easy target for prison dwellers. Thus, maintaining a low profile would keep you out of trouble. Try your best not to get noticed and blend in. Any kind of distinct behavior may attraction attention from people and having that kind of stance may put you in danger because you will be prone to insults or attacks from other prison dwellers.
Also, try as much as possible to hide your emotions. That is because showing emotions can be perceived as a sign of weakness in prison culture. If you are perceived as weak, you can become a toy by bored prisoners, and you don’t want that to happen. Try your best to also stay out of groups. Gangs in prison are prone to fights and riots. Don’t be deceived by the notion that groups in jail will give you protection.
Keeping a low profile may also mean that you have to keep the number of your “friends” to a minimum. In prison, there is a strong desire for you to prove yourself and to have your own “support group.” While this would help you survive in jail, you might likewise attract enemies. It is sometimes better to be alone than to have a complicated life in jail.
2) Get emotional support.
No matter how bad you’ve become, your family will always be there for you. They are your primary source of support and care. Also, they are the only people who could help you keep your sanity in prison. If you are alone, try your best to stay in touch with someone you love in the outside world.
This would help you keep going and stay motivated to get out of prison. Knowing that somebody cares will enhance your will to survive in life outside society. Your family and loved ones can also supply you with the things that you need in jail. Of course, keep it modest because other prison dwellers may envy you and attack you to get your supplies. Remember, you do not know those people surrounding you.
While you cannot use a phone often in prison, there are other ways of communicating with your family. Write letters to them every day, if necessary. Keep a journal in your cell so that you could record what you experience, and make catching up a lot easier when you see your family again. Tell your family how much you miss them, and that it would help to see them often. You could also get emotional support from people in the correction facility. You can talk to the resident pastor or counselor if you need any help. At the very least, you can talk to a fellow prisoner, provided that you trust this person a lot.
If having a sounding board isn’t possible, it’s best to put things in writing. Keep a journal and chronicle all the things that are happening to you in prison. Pour your heart out in this journal on bad days, when you feel angry, frustrated, or disappointed. You could use this to vent out your emotions when you don’t have anyone to talk to.
3) Never trust anyone completely.
Keep in mind that the people around you have a history of crime. Hence, it is reasonable not to put your complete trust on anyone. It’s not being judgmental, but of course, you want to keep yourself safe in a life of isolation. Don’t treat any act of kindness as a gesture of goodwill because they may use this against you when the need arises.
Even officers in prison are not to be trusted because not all of them have good intentions. Always think, “What’s in it for them?” if they offer you any favor or act of kindness. Trusting anyone in prison may put you in danger and your trust in anyone can be taken for a ride. Of course, do not become too stubborn because this may also be used against you. Just trust your instincts, and if you feel danger, make ways to stay out of it.
Keep your secrets to yourself. As much as possible, stay away from gang leaders in prison. It doesn’t mean that you have to be judgmental; some of them may actually be good people, but getting in touch with these “bosses” might put you in trouble. Prison fights are frequent and if enemies see that you are siding with a certain group, they could pick a fight with you as well.
4) Strive to be healthy.
This goes with everything about you — mind, body, and spirit. The activities in prison may be grueling, but with constant exercise and frequent physical work, your body could adjust to the tasks in the correction facility. You could also keep a healthy mind by reading often. It sharpens the mind and keeps you distracted so that you won’t feel troubled about your case. If there are board games for you to play, then you could invite a trusted inmate to play chess with you. In terms of healthy food, you can relax at the thought that food in prison is better than before. Lastly, keep a healthy perspective in life. Prison is not your final destination. There will always be hope for your release.