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.
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!
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