Going to jail is not a joke. It is never fun for anybody – to the person sentenced to jail, and to the family and friends who would be left behind. In this case, it is vital for people sentenced to stay in county jails to know how they can survive behind bars. With that, here are tips that respond to the people’s query that is “How to survive county jail in the United States of America (USA)?”
First, you need to know the difference between jail and prison; most people do not know that there is a big difference between these two. Jail is the first place where offenders are brought. This is also the place where people who committed minor crimes spend their short-term incarceration, while prison is the place where people who are convicted of major crimes spend their long-term sentence. People still awaiting the disposition of their case are incarcerated in jails. Some of these people may yet be found not guilty of the crimes they were accused of. An accused person may only be held in jails for up to one year. When an accused is convicted of a crime, he is then transferred to a prison. Knowing where you will stay would actually give you a hint of what kind of environment you would deal with, how you would survive, and what kind of preparations you would make before going in.
Second, you need to memorize important phone numbers, especially if you would stay in jail for a couple of months. List them down if possible as this might come in handy when you get inside. It would also be good advice to inform your family and friends that you are incarcerated. You need all the moral support that you can get while staying in jail. Staying in jail is hard, especially for first timers. Writing or communicating with your friends and family is one way of keeping grounded or getting in touch with the life you have lived, before you were imprisoned.
Third, you need to be familiar with the county jail’s rules, regulations, and system. This is one of the best answers to the question, “How to survive county jail in the United States of America (USA)?” Knowing the rules will keep you from being in hot water – again. Even if you won’t stay long in the jail, it is still in your best interest to ascertain the rules and abide by them, at all times. There are certain rules which are not explicitly discussed by jail management but nonetheless exist. As a new prisoner, you need to determine what these rules are and you should do everything not to disobey them, to avoid trouble.
Fourth, you need to know what you shouldn’t say or do like asking and talking about other inmates’ offenses and cases and calling them “bitch” or “punk.” Doing so will only insinuate fights among other inmates. You should not ask or talk about issues in the jail that could get you into trouble. It is better to keep quiet and mind your own business when you are in jail. Avoid fraternizing with people who love to fight or meddling with the business of other people. These will only drag you into trouble.
Fifth, do not “snitch” on anyone. This means you need to avoid telling on somebody else. To do so, you need to avoid random conversations with jail guards for this might be misinterpreted as being a snitch. Keeping your mouth shut while keeping your ears open is a good advice to follow, when you are in jail.
Sixth, you need to take advantage of the education programs offered by the county jail where you are staying; each county jail offers varied education programs. Although you might only be spending a couple of months in jail, it is still vital that you continue learning new things and honing your skills through these education programs.
Seventh, you should treat your inmates and jail guards with respect, at all times. Do not give anyone a reason to hate you and make trouble for you. On the other hand, respecting fellow inmates also means that you don’t steal anything from them or get any of their possession without their permission. Stealing is regarded as an ultimate insult that is dealt with by prisoners in their own, often harsh, way.
Eight, you should learn to spend your jail time on productive activities such as reading extensively, writing, or registering with the various educational, value-transformation seminars sponsored by jail management. Avoid spending your time gossiping or staring at other inmates for it would only bring you trouble.
Ninth, you should be cordial to everyone but friendly with just a few. Do not try to befriend or trust just anyone. Choose whom you trust. Better still, do not trust anyone inside the jail, even the guards. When you let down your guard and pour your heart out to these “trusted” people, you might end up telling things that they can use against you. It is better to keep your own company and live quietly.
Tenth, try to live under everyone’s radar. Do not draw unnecessary attention to yourself. People who stand out always draw flak from just about anyone. Since you have no intention to stay longer in jail, you should not tarnish your record with any wrongdoings that might serve to aggravate your existing case.
Last, you need to get a good defense lawyer who would help you get out of jail. You need to remember to get a defense lawyer based on the years of their experience and their familiarity of cases similar to yours.
Being in jail, even for only a short period of time, entails a big adjustment. It will definitely be an arduous time. Surviving and coping with the new environment—one that’s so different from the outside world—is indeed a predicament for most sentenced to jail. How about you? What are your thoughts to this question – “How to survive county jail in the United States of America (USA)?”