Majority of newly incarcerated individuals may survive a prison sentence for even 10 years in a reasonably large correctional facility. However, would these same individuals know how to survive in Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison in the Cape Town suburb of Tokai in South Africa?
For those who are unfamiliar with Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison, it is the infamous high security prison in Cape Town, South Africa. What made this prison popular amongst lawbreakers and lawmakers alike is the fact that the most notorious and vicious criminals are sent to this facility. The prison is literally overcrowded with convicts that it can already be considered a town, by itself.
As awful as it may seem, the prison is already accommodating more than half of the population it is supposed to billet. Moreover, it only has a thousand personnel who are expected to run the place with a population of 7,000 (more or less). The place is teeming with criminals serving sentences for the most heinous crimes imaginable. Undoubtedly, it is not a place for the fainthearted.
Pollsmoor is a maximum security prison where escape is practically not viable. Violence is inherent in the place due to the active presence of numerous gangs in the place. Sexual abuse and drugs are also pervasive in the place that it’s quite common to see rape, assault, and drug trafficking inside the prison walls.
If there are individuals who knowhow to survive in Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison in the Cape Town suburb of Tokai in South Africa then that would be the people who had spent some time in the facility and came out unscathed from the ordeal. Here are some of the things they did that enabled them to survive their ordeal.
Having the right attitude means you have to accept responsibility for your actions and accept its consequences. Many convicts encounter trouble with prison staff and fellow inmates due to their “attitude.” It seems as if they expect their sentence to be some kind of a holiday and all the inmates and staff as their minions. Having the right attitude will make you get along well with inmates and staff alike. You also need to strike a balance between being too much of a toughie and a weakling.
Regular physical and mental exercise
A person who lacks mental and physical exercise will easily get tired and will probably surrender when confronted with seemingly unsurmountable challenges. Being confined in a place like Pollsmoor and living amongst hardcore convicts can take a toll on your body and mind. On top of that, you get to witness various forms of brutality around you or be the butt-end of such violence. Thus, you need to engage in various physical as well as mental exercises to keep you healthy and strong. Others would likely mess with you if they see you as a weak person.
Choose your friends wisely
It is wise to choose the inmates you wish to associate with in Pollsmoor if you want to survive the prison. The wrong choice could lead you to gangs, riots, and all forms of violence. Choose older inmates who keep to themselves and adhere to rules. Stay away from the younger inmates for they tend to join gangs in the prison.
Talk to your cellmates
Trust no one and do not be friendly to anyone. However, you may still get valuable information from your cellmates. They may have been in Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison longer than you. Their experiences and knowledge about the place can be of use to you. But do not take every word as truth. Just listen and then go over what they said, discarding what seems highly preposterous and committing to memory those that may possibly be true. After a few days in prison, try talking to other inmates to verify some of the information you got.
When asking, do so discreetly. Do not act like a reporter or a snoop asking everyone. This will make the other inmates uncomfortable and suspicious of your intentions.
During your first few days, maintain your silence and observe discreetly. Then start asking general questions. Do not fire your questions all at once. Be patient. Ask a question a day and do not prod the other inmate to elaborate. Take whatever answer they give and do not try to argue or challenge their responses to your query.
Keep a poker face
Do not make your face and your behavior easily readable as your emotions can be used against you. If you show you are happy with a particular activity or item in jail, other inmates will destroy it. If they see you angry at someone or something, they can use this to rile you up and get you in even more trouble. Keep a poker face and do not let anyone to see what you are feeling.
Do not trust anyone
The prison is not a place to expect friendships. In fact, it is extremely rare to find a friend while you are in there. Instead of spending time and effort in building friendships, spend time in planning how you can stay out of trouble and how to rebuild your life once you get out.
Do not trust anyone because in this prison, the inmates are among the most notorious of criminals anywhere in the world. Do not expect criminals to keep their word or be helpful. Take everything with a grain of salt.
Keep a low profile
Do not be a fool and make a spectacle of yourself. It’s best to keep a low profile and keep to yourself. Do not meddle in other’s affairs. Do not step in when a fight breaks out. Do not try standing up for someone else because this is highly frowned upon inside the prison no matter how noble. By keeping a low profile, you will not be attracting attention and you will have a higher chance of serving your sentence in relative obscurity. This will greatly help you avoid trouble.