New inmates may have a hard time adjusting to the entirely different world in the correction facility. They may have new friends or new enemies. They may feel distressed because of the drastic changes in the schedule or in the new rules. While there are several articles and websites that inform you about prison cells in New Jersey, this article will specifically help you on how to survive in New Jersey Department of Correction.
1. First, be humble, especially when it is your first time to be incarcerated. New inmates also make easy targets for old timers, who always want to prove themselves and emphasize their “position” in the correction facility. However, should you feel harassed, don’t worry because wardens will be there to help out. However, be wary of wardens who seem to have favorites. In cases when you have unfortunately earned the ire of a certain inmate, these wardens may side with them. You don’t have to be friends with all the inmates, but you can be acquainted with them. As much as possible, work quietly and stay away from trouble.
2. Ask permission before you enter another person’s cell. Never enter without knocking, either. Former manager consultant, Steve Scholl, says inmates usually fight – and get killed – over lack of respect for one another. Also, try to get to know your inmates. For instance, know how long the inmates have been there. This is one way to gauge if they are considered “big bosses” in prison. These big bosses are inmates who have been in prison for years, and they have sort of become gang leaders in the cell.
3. Presume your fellow inmates are innocent. That’s also one way of showing respect. Instead of asking them why they’re IN jail, ask them what they were ACCUSED OF. Some of these inmates are sensitive and could take such comments too seriously. You also have to be sensitive to your inmates. If they were accused wrongly, they may take it badly if you ask them questions about their case. It would be better if you wait for them to open up to you.
4. Steer clear of inmates who want to be left alone. It’s okay to make friends, but others will make it clear they don’t want and need any company. These inmates want to be left alone for so many reasons: they feel bad that they were in jail, they think they don’t need any friends and that is simply their personality. It would be impossible to think that you wouldn’t have friends in jail, but choose the ones whom you think can be trusted.
5. Be careful with labels and political incorrectness. Prisoners who belong to the same race or ethnic group usually stay together. They have an unwritten code of loyalty. Hurt one of them and you earn the ire of the whole group. Some of these sensitive issues are “being black”, Christianity versus Jews or Muslims and gender. As much as possible, call inmates by their names (or by what they are known in jail for). Avoid ascribing inappropriate names for them.
6. Ask your inmate friends how to survive in New Jersey Department of Correction, but not those whom you’re not close with. The latter may ask you to do something you’ll regret later. Bullying happens even in prison. The
“senior” inmates may take advantage of newbies or underdogs.
7. New Jersey inmates work when told. They follow a schedule in the morning, afternoon and in the evening. You can have a better and easier life in jail if you do what your wardens and police officers say (as long as it’s right and not against your principles). There are early morning roll calls and you have to roll off your bed earlier than 6 a.m. It is important for you to follow the schedule in the correctional. The inmates also follow a certain time for sleeping and doing other activities. The schedule helps in instilling discipline among inmates.
8. Eat what’s on the table. Contrary to popular belief, food in the New Jersey correction facilities has improved over the years. Even though you will be eating basic meals that are incomparable to what you probably eat at home, they are mostly healthy fare. Some of these are bread, pasta and milk. You cannot be too picky on food. One, you can be the target of malicious statements. Two, it would be discourtesy on your part.
9. Join activities for inmates. There can be an early morning exercise, a task given at a certain time of the day, a class for juvenile delinquents, or a time for prayer or religious service. Regardless of what you think or feel towards these activities, you are expected to join and be cooperative. You can also go your way to be polite and helpful to inmates who need it.
10. How to survive in New Jersey Department of Correction depends on your willingness to gain the approval of police officers and eventually be granted parole. All you have to do is to obey orders, stay away from trouble, and choose your company wisely. It also helps to know how to get the lay of the land. That is, you know the written and unwritten rules in prison. Maintain communication with the outside world – seeing your family regularly helps you feel at home.
11. Be patient as you wait for the developments in your case. Not all inmates have had the same case as you did, but the more you feel impatient about getting released, the more you’d feel restless. It would be cliché to say that you have to enjoy the journey until before you make the detour. While in prison, try to unlearn some of the things that led you to trouble in the past, while trying to relearn positive stuff at the same time.
Lastly, look for the gold in prison. For everything that you do, there will always be that thing that will help you get released. Whether it’s virtue or a job well done as an inmate, your attitude can take you outside the bars.