Reviewed on: March 17,2023

I'm facing jail time, how can i prepare?

Asked: March 17,2023
Ask the inmate answer

Before you go in, many people seek out a "prison consultant". If you have the money, it's thousands and thousands of dollars for the same advice you can get here, reading actual former inmate's answers... for free.

You want to make sure you have support, lots of support, from family and friends. It would help immensely if you can set up an inmate account in advance and put money into it. You will need the money to buy things from the commissary, use the phone, send email and snail mail.

Are you going to jail or prison? Jail is for 365 days or less; prison is for more. The two are wildly different worlds. The jail can be much worse even if the time is shorter.

It’s going to be like going to another planet, nothing you know on the outside will apply on the inside.

  • Do not tell anyone about your case, and don't tell why you’re there or for how long.
  • Do not EVER tell anyone where you are from. When the inmates get out before you they will approach your relatives for money or threaten them.
  • Do not look anywhere for more than a few seconds. If someone thinks you are staring at them it could be an issue. Don’t laugh out loud. If someone thinks you are laughing at could be trouble. Respect is everything in jail
  • Do not come off as being too smart, a high percentage of inmates are not highly educated, and being a smart ass could get you in a real jackpot. 
  • Do not butt in line
  • Do not interrupt someone's conversation, do not comment on another conversation
  • Do not change the TV channel without the unanimous approval of others.
  • Do not cross over another's food tray
  • Do not sit on another inmate's bed
  • Do not allow another inmate to hide their contraband in your locker, take good measures to make sure it's always locked. 

Read. Read. Read. Time well spent. Learn something. It’s the only real escape

Get a job, get into a routine, and stay out of others' business.

Keep your visitation and phone privileges 100% private. Don't ever share your phone PIN with another inmate.

Don’t try to be funny. No one has a sense of humor in prison.

Do not get involved in cell phones, gambling, or drugs... you will get caught (breaking the rules is how you ended up there). If you don't get caught, one of these illegal things will get you either beat up or extorted.

The food sucks. Get used to it. If you can afford commissary, it'll help you supplement your food (and snack) choices.

Don’t ever go into a bathroom where there is no guard watching.

You see nothing. You say nothing. If you see something ignore it and pretend like you didn’t.

Lights out are early; so are lights on. You won’t be allowed to lay in bed.

Hot showers are the only worthwhile thing in prison. 

Be prepared to be a different person when you get out. 

ASK THE INMATE... if you have further, more probing questions!

Accepted Answer Date Created: March 17,2023

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