Going to jail is the worst thing that could ever happen to a person. It’s ironic how society strives to reform criminals through the penal system, when jail itself is not an environment conducive to reform. Nevertheless, until the government can come up with a better way to help reform criminals, jail is the only place where a person would end up in when he gets convicted with a crime.
One of the most common crimes people get convicted with is drug possession. Of course, if a person has drugs, it’s either he has an intent to distribute or use it himself. If you are the latter and you get caught by law enforcement, say your goodbyes to the outside world and say hello to jail.
If you’re a drug addict who’s going to jail for the first time, you must be asking yourself how to survive in jail as a drug addict? Jail life for a junkie is never easy. The first thing the jail administration does to a drug addict before he is integrated into the jail’s general population is to let him go into withdrawal. He will be put inside a medical cell and will be monitored by medical staff until the symptoms of withdrawal subside.
Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the drug that was taken. Drug addicts can manifest both physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms at the same time. Emotional withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, poor concentration, anxiety, social isolation, headaches, depression, and irritability. Physical withdrawal symptoms, on the other hand, can manifest itself as tremors, profuse sweating, chest tightness, palpitations, vomiting, racing heart, diarrhea, muscle tension, vomiting, and shortness of breath.
Once the drug addict gets over the withdrawal symptoms, he would then be integrated in the general population of the jail. If this is your situation, make sure that you never discuss your case with anybody else to minimize your chances of getting into trouble with other inmates. Never ever tell on another inmate or be friendly with problem inmates. It is best to keep to yourself, but be fully alert on what’s going on around you.
Another thing that you need to remember on how to survive jail as a drug addict is not to let yourself get hooked on drugs again while in jail. Obviously, drugs are not allowed behind bars. If you do obtain them while serving your sentence, you surely did so through illegal means. You will face more serious charges before you even complete your current sentence.
Try your best to stay away from inmates who sell drugs. Hanging out with the “pushers” will most likely increase your urge to revert back to drug abuse. While most of these inmates will never proactively sell you drugs for fear of being caught by the security officers, they’ll most likely still try to peddle them while you’re inside your respective cells. It’ll be tough for you if your cell mate happens to be one of them.
If they come at you selling drugs, try to decline in the friendliest way possible. Some of them will be persistent and will try to make you take them on credit. Don’t give in. Under no circumstances should you take anything in jail on credit. Being indebted to another inmate automatically makes you that inmate’s “girlfriend.”
It would be tempting to accept drugs and the protection that comes with being an inmate’s jail “girlfriend.” What you might not think of is that you are not protected from the inmate who considers you as his girlfriend. More often than not, jail girlfriends are on the receiving end of sexual abuse. They are treated as a form of currency or something that can be used as payment for a favor or just for a pack of cigarettes.
You do not, under any circumstances, want to be someone’s girlfriend in jail. You want to be regarded as someone who is strong but not in a threatening way. You just want them to think twice about messing with you. Don’t take anything from anyone and learn to survive on your own.
Another thing about drugs in jail is that the gangs pretty much run the whole drug trade inside the jail. Up to this day, law enforcement is still baffled on how inmates still manage to sneak drugs inside the jail walls. Keep in mind that when you buy drugs from these people, the drug prices are double or even triple the street value. Money is hard to come by in jail and having unpaid drug debts will almost always result into a full blown jail riot.
As a recovering drug addict in jail, it would be in your best interest to spend your time inside jail productively. If there’s something that anyone has an abundance of in jail, its time. Time is so abundant that it seems to move slower compared to time in the outside world. Keep your mind off drugs and do something productive like taking up a prison job.
The jail system offers many jobs to model inmates that give them the opportunity the earn money on the side. The cash that you earn allows you to buy things from the jail commissary that you wouldn’t normally get inside jail. Things such as chocolate bars, potato chips, flavored soda, better cigarettes, etc. will be available to you in limited types and quantities.
In addition to getting a job in jail, you can also get an education during your incarceration. Jail management offers degree courses that you can take so that it wouldn’t be difficult for you to secure a job once you get out of jail. The courses offered vary from jail to jail. You should inquire with your local jail administration about what courses they are offering for inmates. Once they give you the list of courses that they are offering, choose the one that you think matches your capabilities and start studying.
Studying in jail not only takes your mind off of drugs and keeps you out of trouble, but also shows jail management that you are trying to reform yourself. You are demonstrating that you want to become a better person than when you first entered jail. This increases your chances of getting an early release.
As you learn how to survive in jail as a drug addict, keep in mind that it is actually a chance for you to start anew. It’s a chance for you to get past your addiction and prepare yourself for a new life when you get out after you have served your sentence.