"The culprit is found guilty and sentenced…." You just heard the most dreadful words of your life. Now you are behind bars and living a tough life. How can you survive it? We may help you out in your worst times. Here we have a prison survival guide on how you can survive your prison life.
We will guide you to maintain your health and get a routine. We also tell you how to stay out of trouble, as the prison world could be too harsh. The criminals there alone can hunt you down. You may be afraid of the anticipation of pathetic living. So, without waiting, let's take the light of hope and find out how you can survive it!
Table Of Contents
How to Physically Survive the Prison?
Despite the Bad Taste, Eat Properly
The first rule to get out of the front prison door alive is to keep yourself healthy. You need to maintain a healthy diet and eat properly. But the problem here is that prison is not a five-star hotel. You will not get chef's prepared food. Primarily in prison, they feed you carbohydrates and fats.
You can't complain about the free food as the state is paying, and they want to keep it economical. So, it usually tastes average. You need to eat plenty, but not overdo it. As the US prisoners typically gain weight during their sentence time.
The best practice is to drink a full glass of water (or maybe two) before the meal. It will keep your diet within limits as you will get full early. You will occasionally taste the meat or treat. They offer good food on special occasions so take advantage of it.
Make a Routine of Regular Exercise
The one thing you will observe among inmates is that they are fit. The rule of basic survival in prison is to be prepared for any physical challenge. So it would help if you had an exercise routine. After proper eating, burn those carbs and fats while working out. If you have a gym or weights there (which is less likely to happen), use them regularly. Otherwise, perform bodyweight exercises every day.
Also, a healthy body is vital to reducing the chances of injury or disease. You won't find an excellent hygienic environment in prison. So, if your body is irresistible to invading microbes and your immune system isn't strong enough, you may need to call the doc more often.
The best time for freehand exercises is in your cell, where no one interrupts. You will have plenty of time to train your muscles. Complete a set of push-ups, crunches, and squats. It will also help in restricting weight gain. Because maintaining your weight in one position is challenging, and even reducing it requires hard work.
Get Through the First Few Weeks
The world inside prison is a whole new life. You can easily understand it as soon as you step inside. The question is, how can you get through initially? Because later on, you will get a routine, and other things will settle down. You need to understand its culture in the first few days.
Learning the rules and tasks of the day will be crucial. It would help if you decided who you want to be. Decide on with whom you want to make connections and from whom you want to distance yourself.
Once you get through the initial days of this harsh life, you will adjust to the environment. And adjusting is crucial since more than 50% of suicide attempts occur in the first few weeks of incarceration. The earlier you get into this new system, the higher your chances of getting out of it.
How to Get Over the Mental Challenges of Prison?
Find An Engaging Activity
What is the best and worst present the prisons can give you? It's time. If you have labor, it helps a lot in spending time till it ends (or worse if you don't have any labor). Boredom can quickly kill you. Your brain needs activity to keep working in a healthy condition. Otherwise, it will leave you depressed and anxious.
So, what can you do to avoid them and be busy yourself? Find an activity that may turn out to be your hobby. For instance, above mentioned working out could be one. You can get your hands on a decent book to read. You can learn a skill that may engage you. If you look around, numerous activities will be waiting. You only need to avail them and get busy.
Keep a Control of Your Temper
A prison is a place of numerous hotheads, and the fact can imply to you too. The logical question is how many times and how intensely it can trigger you? In only a week, you will feel various things infuriating you. If not, at least you will witness many live actions between other inmates. You don't want to be part of it. Try to avoid involvement in any trouble like that.
When you feel rage, take a deep breath and count to 10 (20 may work even better). Then think about the outcomes if you still express your anger rudely. Look at the pros and cons. Controlling it will be the key, as it may cause you more harm if you burst out for the troublesome situations where the opponent is any heavyweight champ and provoking you; Better to leave the place. It will be the best for your safety.
Don't become anxious in prison
One of the worst things prison can give you is depression. Its loneliness, inmates rude behavior, your guilt, and the treatment all can sum up to build anxiety and low self-esteem. Please don't give it any chance to let yourself down. Almost 80% of people have recognized depression during their sentenced life and intend to suicide.
Suicidal thoughts are more likely to come into your mind when everything is disgracing you. But before you make any attempt, think about your family and your loved ones first. Give it some time and consider what difference will it could make. As mentioned earlier, you will have the best prison gift, time. Analyze the outcomes deeply, and you will find suicide is not a solution. It never was. You can survive it and will get out alive.
How To Manage Outside World From Prison
Regain Your Married Life Values
Incarceration affects marriage the most. More than two-thirds of marriages fail when one goes to prison. You may leave your spouse with feelings of anger, betrayal, guilt, or shame. Maintaining your marriage can be challenging, even when you get out of that hell. It leaves its scars on your relations. So, what can you do to save it?
First, accept what you did (if you are guilty and your spouse condemns it). Be humble and apologize. You have to reassure them that it won't happen again. Even if you are innocent and they know it, a crack appears. You need to comfort them and give them safe vibes. The process is challenging, but it is doable if your spouse loves you. Their regular visits can make it easy. Otherwise, you must get into this work as soon as you see them after getting out.
Reassure Trust of Your Children
Another thing that sentencing affects is your children's behavior towards you. Either they feel anger, fear, loneliness, guilt, and shame. They suffer the fact their parents committed a crime and start keeping their distance. Or they break up if they still love them. In both cases, they are emotionally abandoned as they can't get one part of their love.
Like your spouse, you need to reassure them of safety and build your trust back. Sometimes the kids blame themselves and suppose you don't like them anymore. They've hurt you, and it's all because of them. Here reassuring becomes vital as you need to ensure how much you love them.
It's somewhat easy for small children but gets complicated with teenagers or adults. Never discuss any gruesome fact of prison with them or anything that can impact them. Forget the worries and depression when you meet them and be lively. Your behavior can help in re-establishing the trust.
Keep In Contact With Your Loved Ones
Your only way to keep in touch with the outer world will be the phone calls you can perform. However, you need to remember the numbers first. The prison doesn't keep your phone directory. So, you should know whom you are calling. Moreover, you can't just call anyone. Only those numbers are allowed that the Department of Corrections (DOC) approves.
Remember, the management will record and track all the calls. So, try to avoid any illegal or provoking conversation. You will get a limited time to call someone. Hence, make vital discussion points before the call. But don't miss it as family talks can drive you to get out of this tormented life.
Get Out of prison, Lively!
Prison life is tormenting if you are not prepared. It still is a torture even if you are prepared, but knowledge of what's upcoming can save you a lot from many troubles. As we've mentioned in our prison survival guide, eat well and stay healthy. Control your anger and keep yourself out of trouble. Instead, busy yourself with any fun or challenging activity that will keep your brain in sound condition.
Try to keep in contact with the outside world, your friends, and your family. Also, reassure your spouse and children (if married) that everything will be alright. They don't need to lose hope, and neither should you. If you understand the inside world within a few days, your whole time can cover up. And eventually, you will see the beautiful sunrise freely one day when you step out of the front gate.