Even for someone who’s been incarcerated before, getting sentenced to serve in a prison or in a county jail is undeniable hard. How much more for a first-time offender? With that, here are various tips on how to survive in prison or county jail as a first timer (first time offender).
First on our how to survive in prison or county jail as a first timer (first time offender list of tips is you need to be emotionally, mentally, and physically prepared before your jail or prison time. If you still have time, spend it getting in shape like hitting the gym. You need to be strong and healthy as the situation behind bars is immensely different from the outside world.
You also need to stock up a bucketful of positivity. Being in a prison or in a county jail is depressing, so it is best to bring that positive attitude with you. Most of the time, experiencing life in prison or jail makes one feel worthless. Thus, counselling may also help in building a positive view of becoming an inmate. Though there is nothing positive about serving in a county jail or prison, talking to your psychological therapist about your fears and uncertainties will certainly uplift your spirits.
You also need to detach yourself from your possessions because gadgets like your mobile phone are not allowed in prisons and jails. When you get inside, you will completely be naked – even if you are in your clothes – as you are stripped off of your possessions. However, this does not mean you cannot have money. You can have money but not in the form of actual cash. Your money goes to your inmate account which is called “the books”.
With “the books”, you can purchase commissary, the currency inside the jail. Have a close relative or a sibling place money in your books. However, remember to use your books wisely. Use them to buy call cards that you can use to contact your lawyer or your family. As much as possible, save your books. You can reclaim whatever money is left in your books once you leave jail or prison. Just remember not to brag about having someone who’s placing money in your books. You are inviting trouble if you brag.
Second, you need to maintain the relationships you have outside prison or jail. Knowing that you have family and friends who are waiting for the day you’re set free will give you hope. You need to jot down their numbers and addresses. Most prisons and jails allow phone calls. Phone cards are, at times, available at the commissary desks in some prisons and jails. By doing this, you will still feel connected to the outside world, which will help you stay sane during your sentence.
Third, you need to learn to socialize with your inmates. However, you need to avoid being associated with them or worse, trusting them. Some inmates tell you information or ask you to do things to simply manipulate you, which will put you in hot water. Avoid joining any prison or jail gangs; this will only cause you to get involved in violence.
Fourth, you need to avoid being a snitch. A snitch is someone who tells on somebody. Avoid casual conversations with guards and employees as your inmates may misinterpret this. Being branded as a snitch will only give your inmates the urge you harm you.
Fifth, attend a Church while serving your sentence. Even if you are not a religious person, listening to inspirational stories about inmates who’ve succeeded after leaving a prison or jail is a great way to maintain positivity. Besides, it is a good way to spend idle hours. Attending a worship service is a great diversion to keep your sanity. If you are a religious person, attending masses keeps your faith intact.
Sixth, learn something new while serving your sentence. Many jails offer educational programs. If you are staying in jail for more than a couple of months, take advantage of whatever educational program the jail offers. Some county jails or prison collaborate with community colleges. There is one thing you should remember though, some jails do not grant educational assistance to an inmate who’s merely staying for a short period.
Seventh, maintain hygiene during your stay. When inside the prison or county jail, forgetting your hygiene is rather easy. Jails, though not all of them, are a place of germs and bacteria. Infections are common occurrences. Use sandals wherever you go. Yes, that includes inside the shower. Keep yourself and your clothes clean at all times. The last thing you would want is to contract a deadly disease.
Eighth, become a trustee. A trustee enjoys a few privileges during the serving of sentence. However, it is not easy. You have to establish a credible reputation to be eligible for a trustee position. Normally, inmates with less than two months of service seldom qualify for the position. Most of the times, inmates who have longer sentences become trustees. It is a volunteer act. So if you want to become a trustee while in jail, mingle with other jail trustees. Learn how they manage the cellblock. Know the responsibilities and ask yourself if you can do it. In some jails, trustees are the leaders of their respective cell blocks while in others, they are helpers and no one respects them.
Last, you need to constantly communicate with your lawyer. You need to tell your lawyer all necessary information for him/her to help you with your case. Being cooperative and honest is vital. Talking to your lawyer will also help you get updates about your case and at times, will give you that much needed boost of optimism.
Thinking of how to survive in prison or county jail as a first timer (first time offender) may be a little difficult for you, but it’s vital that you do the right things once you’re inside. So, feel free to gather more info and learn other tips – the more you know about increasing your chances of survival (both physically and mentally), the more likely you’ll succeed in keeping yourself unscathed throughout the ordeal.