If the worst of the worse comes, one day you might find yourself in prison regardless of whether you are guilty of a crime or not. No sane person would ever want to be locked up in jail but it can never hurt to prepare for it. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Here are the absolute essentials to know how to survive prison life day by day:
1. Suck it up. It does not matter if you truly did the crime or not. In the eyes of society, you are guilty and they will treat you accordingly. Don’t expect sympathy from anyone inside prison. The best course of action is to accept what happened. Only then will you have the mind and spirit to overcome the situation. Whining, raging, and feeling sorry for yourself in jail won’t get you anywhere. It might guarantee you a longer stay instead.
It may help, though, if you have an outlet. Sometimes it is hard to accept what has happened to you, especially if you did not do the crime. Instead, find an outlet to release all those pent-up emotions and frustrations. You want to express your anger over your case, or your disappointment toward the government and the judiciary system? Write down your thoughts. Writing is good therapy. Soon, you will notice that whatever emotions are bottled up inside you have disappeared.
2. Watch your attitude. Prison life is harsh and leaves no room for weaknesses. Having a vulnerable personality such as gullibility, emotional dependence, and the like inside prison would only end with you being taken advantage of. However, acting too high and mighty would get you into a land of enormous pain. Someone would always be willing to drag you from whatever throne you sit upon inside prison and they are willing to kill you for it. It would be best to keep a constant check of your attitude. Be as inconspicuous and forgettable as possible. Don’t do anything that would attract attention on you.
On the other hand, try to help inmates who are in need. Figuring in brawls is one thing; being the proverbial Good Samaritan to your fellow inmates is another. Know when to lend a hand and when to steer clear. The safest course is to wait until your fellow inmates ask for aid. This way, you won’t look presumptuous and too eager to gain friends. Inmates are tough people. Men especially want to look independent and some inmates may not appreciate being helped all the time. The key is to be sensitive to your fellow inmates.
3. Give respect where respect is due. Respect is the currency inside the prison. Give enough of it since it is one of the ways on how to survive prison life day by day. Respect the guards and they will give you an easier time. Should you attract any attention from other inmates, whether good or bad, do your best to be inoffensive. Speak calmly and respectfully to exude strength and deference. You would most likely be left alone in peace after that. In times when you get into trouble without meaning to, always play on the safe side. Being too honest may not bring you any good. However, if you respect your inmates and jail guards, they will also return the favor.
4. Stick with the smart ones. If you want friends within prison, choose carefully. It is best to befriend the mature inmates — the smart ones who always keep out of trouble and have productive hobbies inside prison. If someone asks for your help, be wary. You might end up fighting battles you have no business with in the first place. Quality over quantity is a rule that definitely applies in friendship behind bars. Being friends with wise people also helps you survive the daily hurdles in prison. You can get emotional and spiritual support from them, too. Avoid inmates who act like kings in prison. They will only bring trouble to you. On the other hand, the meek ones may also be kings in disguise. You never really know whom to trust until you have talked to them. Let your instinct and common sense guide you.
Choosing your friends requires certain standards. For example, you could choose to be friends with someone who likes to read a lot. If you are not much of a reader, this inmate may influence you. The same thing goes for a person who prays a lot. He may encourage you to charge up your spiritual life. Basically, it’s about finding common denominators with your inmates. You don’t have to avoid everyone entirely, but be wary and know whom to trust. A person who says he would be your best friend could also be an enemy just spying on you.
5. Silence is gold. Fights inside prison always happen because of gossip. Keep your mouth shut and stay away from the rumor mill. Never snitch to the guards as well. No inmate likes a tattletale. They would kill you in a heartbeat for it. Sometimes you have to hide the truth even if it breaks you; this is the life in prison. You have to use your street smarts and not be all virtuous. Staying quiet will help you go through the days in jail much easier than when you are known for spreading rumors.
If a friend of yours gets involved in a conflict, think twice before making any moves. Never get even at the other party. At the same time, don’t leave your friend behind. Agree with a truce instead.
6. Remember: Strong Body, Strong Mind, Strong Spirit. Living behind bars would be frustrating. Use exercise as an outlet for your negative emotions. Being buff inside jail would deter attackers. The workout would also keep you away from negative thoughts, thus helping you maintain a healthy mind and spirit.
A healthy mind and spirit are needed to keep up your hope. As long as you have hope, answering the question, “How to survive prison life day by day?” will not be that hard at all. You would see better days inside prison until you would be free again. Having a strong body, a strong mind, and a strong spirit will help you go through the ordeals in prison easily. You become hopeful of the days prior to your release, even if such days will take years. You become more of your old self than when you were when you first entered the cell. A strong body will keep you safe from harm and disease, while a strong mind will battle all the negative emotions and pessimism in you. Once you start feeling down about yourself, try to overcome it and change your thinking quickly. Instead of moping about your situation, think of various ways to spend your time productively in jail. Try to know God again through the Bible. Usually, there are Bible classes in jail sponsored by Christian groups. Take such sessions as opportunities for being close to God again, because ultimately He alone would be your source of comfort.
7. Live as if there is no tomorrow. This is not apocalyptic in any sense, but you never know what will happen. There are inmates who die in jail, but they die knowing that they have fulfilled their purpose. This is not to say that you should anticipate dying, but at least ingrain in yourself the reality that sickness or accidents may happen in prison. Look at life with positivity and strive to be a good person all the time, even if your chances of release are nil. This way, you will see that life in prison is not so hard at all.