Going to prison is a tough pill to swallow. If you have never been, you may be scared and not know what to expect. Even if you are just there for a short stay, you may be worried about what you are going to experience. By following some simple rules and preparing ahead, you can serve your sentence with as few problems as possible.
Understand Your Rights
Your rights will vary depending on your location and your current stage in the criminal process. However, the Constitution does give you and every other inmate legal protection against any cruel or unusual punishment, but you will still need to protect yourself and avoid confrontation with other inmates. You are also still protected from assault. If you are hit or assaulted in any way, get the attention of the corrections officer instead of retaliating. You should also contact a lawyer with experience in prison violence who can help you present your case.
You will most likely end up in general population with a variety of people. You don’t know why everyone is there, so make sure you show respect. Don’t let people walk all over you, but don’t be arrogant. Do what you can to float under the radar. Do a self-check now and ask yourself questions. Am I confrontational? Do I always have to be right? Do I provoke people?
Additionally, make sure that you show respect to the corrections officers. Don’t give them a reason to see you as a problem. Good behavior while in prison is important. You can actually get your sentence reduced for good behavior, and the corrections officers are the ones who report on that.
Avoid Illegal Activity
You ended up in prison because of illegal activity, so stay away from that in the prison. Not only are you supposed to be cleaning up your life, you really don’t want to end up owing someone for drugs or covering your back. Fighting, drugs, stealing, and anything else that stirs up trouble will just make your life more miserable. Once again, just do what you can to keep your head down and stay out of trouble. The goal is to get out as fast as you can, not get your sentence extended because of a stupid mistake.
Participating in positive activities will fill up time and make your sentence go by at a faster pace. You can exercise, work on gaining some knowledge or get a job in the prison. Good behavior usually leads to increased privileges, so make sure you are obedient to all the rules. Some prisons will provide inmates with the opportunity to earn college credits. Learning more about a subject is a positive move towards a better life after serving your sentence. If you are religious, you can attend church services.
Prison can be an unsafe place if you choose the wrong path. Following these rules will help make the time you spend in prison a whole lot easier.
Jenn Montgomery is a freelance writer, editor, and blogger based in San Diego. She writes on a variety of topics and enjoys learning new things. She graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Rhetoric and Writing Studies. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, baking, and knitting.