There is a huge difference between jail and prison. Offenders spending time in jail have sentences not exceeding a year whereas felony offenders in prison have sentences that span years to a lifetime. It is important to remember that LA County is not a state penitentiary but only a county jail. Nevertheless, Los Angeles County Jail is one with the most records of gang activity and is considered to be one of the most overcrowded jails in the country.
If you want to know how to survive Los Angeles County jail, you need to remember the following things:
•Be careful of the things you say.
It may seem harmless to call an inmate a bitch or punk but if you are unlucky, you may just set someone off. Remember that some inmates may have spent time in prison. Hence, some derogatory words can easily offend them. It does not scare them to add another offense on top of their charges just so they can get back at you.
•Stay away from trouble.
One of the easiest ways to pick enemies in jail is by being a snitch. If you want a clean record inside the jail and learn how to survive Los Angeles County jail, stay away from anything that does not concern you. In the outside world, you are given the right to speak. However, in a world mainly composed of four corners of the jail where everyone knows everyone, your right to speak may cost you an enemy.
•Improve your health through workout.
Life in jail can be repetitive and stagnant so most inmates try to get in shape inside by doing workouts. Los Angeles County jail allows inmates right of entry to the yard where they can jog or walk. Even inside the cell, inmates can still do simple workouts such as sit-ups, crunches, pushups and jogging in place.
•Gain knowledge by reading.
Make the most of the time you are inside the jail by improving yourself instead of dwelling on your mistakes. Gain knowledge while passing time by reading lots of book. You can ask family members to send you brand new books from Amazon or Barnes. Self-help and motivational books may reawaken your hope.
There are two ways to be productive while spending time inside the bars. One way is by working. Depending on the opportunity, you may be given a chance to work inside the jail like a normal job or through work programs. The second way is by attending courses that will prepare you for the life outside. Los Angeles County offers educational programs called Back on Track to decrease the rate of re-offenders.
•Maintain good behavior all throughout your sentence.
Los Angeles County houses several inmates leading to overcrowding. To mitigate this problem, LA County offers penalty reduction to up to 20%. If the offense is considered to be lower-level crime, they reduce the sentence by 20% for male and 10% for female. This means that a 10-year sentence will only be served for 9 years by women and 8 years by men. Inmates with a good record inside the jail may also be given a chance for time-off.
•Take care of your health.
If you have enough time before getting locked up, get a medical and dental check-up. You would have access to medical care in prison, but you won’t get the same level of care that you are used to. If there is a medical or dental procedure that you urgently need, it would be better to have it done before you go to jail.
In the same vein, you should also stock up on prescription glasses or contact lenses prior to incarceration. The selection outside prison is simply more satisfactory than anything you might find on the inside.
•Familiarize yourself with the area.
Even prisons are communities in themselves. Observe your environment carefully and figure out who’s who among your fellow prisoners and wardens. Figure out where everything is, and abide by all of the rules, be they stated or implicit.
Listen carefully and always be observant. This is especially important during your first few days in prison when you aren’t familiar with your environment. Until you know what is really going on in a certain scenario, keep your mouth shut and rely on your eyes and ears instead.
•Make friends, but do so very carefully.
Spending time in prison can be a lot more bearable if you get along with your fellow inmates. You don’t have to be friends with everyone, but do try to befriend those who can clue you in on the secret benefits or training programs that you can avail of in prison. Inmates who are about to leave the facility and who have a solid plan about how they will proceed with their new lives would also be great allies.
Conversely, avoid the company of the wrong people. You shouldn’t be rude to them, but you would do well to be no more than perfunctorily polite either. The wrong sort of friends in prison could hurt you in more ways than one. They may involve you in a brawl (which could get you segregated) or something far worse than that. The latter is particularly dangerous and inconvenient as it can increase your sentence.
•Keep in touch with those important to you in the outside world.
Be in constant communication with your family, friends, and anyone else whom you’d like to keep in your life after you’ve served your sentence. Not only will the constant updates from them keep you sane inside the prison, but they will also serve as your lifeline once you get out. After all, who better to facilitate your re-entry into society than your loved ones in the outside world?
•Plan for your release from the very beginning.
Do research on employment and lodging opportunities for ex-inmates. Ask your fellow prisoners about their own plans. Take into consideration essentials like what sort of job you can do, where you can settle down peacefully, and how much you would need to budget for life outside prison. If you don’t, you just might find yourself resorting to drastic measures to survive once you are out. When that happens, you may very well go back inside.