You find yourself behind prison bars. Without any experience in any crime, you see yourself surrounded by people who have committed heinous crimes like murder, rape, arson, and so on. Whatever the reason is for you getting jailed, you definitely need to find ways on how to survive the life of isolation.
Here’s how to survive 6 months (half a year) in jail.
1) Adapt to prison life.
There is a common notion that appearing strong will make you free from harm. Although this is true to some extent, coming off as too strong can make you an annoyance to people who find you arrogant. Hence, never insult anyone nor get into anybody’s personal space or you’re dead. In prison, it is better to stay modest so that you will not get attention from prison bullies and power trippers. Also, avoid joining gangs as you will be prone to more trouble like fights, stabbings, and all that jazz. Try as much as possible not to get attention.
Furthermore, respect is the unspoken rule in jail. Never disrespect anyone unless you want to be badly injured or become a piece of dead meat. Follow the rules and refuse to fight at all costs. Your life is more valuable than your ego. There are so-called gangs and leaders in jail. These inmates have been jailed for a long time, and have earned the infamous title either of two things: They are respected for their wisdom and experience, or they are strong and won in gang fights. Think of the prison as your typical fight club — you could get killed if you’re unlucky, but you could gain followers and friends if you survived.
Know whom to talk to. Never trust anyone completely but trust your instincts. You can spot an honest person in prison from the first time you met him. But once you see an inmate who tries to pry so much information from you, or tries to get you into doing his bidding, take that cue to start looking for different company. Once you feel that you are in danger, find ways on how to stay away from it. At times, it is better to be alone in jail than to have a group to validate your position there. Just do your thing and avoid trouble if you can.
2) Maintain your health.
Don’t let depression get in the way for you to keep your health. Remember that you still have life outside prison walls, so don’t do anything in prison that you will regret once you are free. Try to live a normal life by eating and working out regularly.
Exercise will help you feel good, stay healthy, and make time fly. Do aerobics, strength training, and some stretching. Not only can it help you get by in prison, but it would also make you look and feel good once you are out of jail.
Contrary to what most people think, the food in jail is actually good and healthy. It’s probably not the best fare compared to what you had at home, but the staff in the correction facility make sure that you eat right, too. After all, prison is not just about retribution and making amends, but it is also about “reshaping” you so that you become a better individual.
Health does not just mean physical health, but it also includes a holistic well-being. Maintain a healthy mind by playing and solving puzzles, playing board games like chess, and reading. These things are provided by the staff, and they would be more than relieved to see you getting distracted in a good way. Don’t forget about your spirituality, too. You can read the Bible, or think of daily affirmations to help you get through your days in prison. Hone your skills and talents in jail. You never know what you might discover about yourself there.
3) Stay productive.
Aside from exercising, there are many other ways that you can do to make time fly. Staying productive would help you get rid of idleness and stay sane. Read! There are many reading materials like magazines and books that you can use for you to expand your knowledge. You can thank yourself for doing this once you are free because who knows, you can use some of the knowledge that you have gained for your own good.
Furthermore, you can join classes being offered in prison. This will definitely help you outside the prison walls. Such classes aren’t limited to the academic kind, but there are practical ones that help you gain a livelihood when you have earned your parole. You could learn handicrafts and you could use your newfound skills to earn money upon your release. You could also study how to play an instrument to keep you busy while you’re in prison.
4) Communicate with your loved ones.
There’s no other best way to keep your sanity but to be with loved ones. Hence, it is important that you stay connected to at least your family. They are your biggest support group and could be your biggest reason to keep moving forward. They will help you stay motivated and give you something to look forward to during your stay in prison. Sometimes it might be painful to see them, especially when the news about your release is cloudy. It is even more difficult if you have learned that you’ll spend forever in prison. But this is no reason for you to stop seeing your family. Above anything, they will help you get through this trial in your life.
If seeing them is impossible under certain circumstances, find other means of communicating with them. Letters may be considered old-school, but that is still an effective way to let your family know how you are doing. The warden may not allow you to use cellphones, but in some correction facilities, it’s allowed. Nevertheless, any method of communication will do, as this will lessen your worries and will give you hope.