How to Prepare for Prison | Going to Prison
In Hollywood, prison is all the rage. We’ve all seen OZ, the Shawshank Redemption, Orange is the New Black, and ConAir. Their creators got some of the facts right, but what they don’t tell you about is how to prepare for prison if you are going to prison. Our goal here is to help you brainstorm quality ways to prepare for prison.
If you are interested in learning more about prison life and how to prepare, pick up a copy of our Federal Prison Handbook, browse the link to more information at the bottom of this page, or consider hiring the Zoukis Consulting Group to assist you in preparing for going to prison. Whether you are going to serve six months or six years, the tips discussed below will help you prepare for your time in prison. Email [email protected] to speak with a prison preparation coach today.
How to Prepare for Prison if You Are Going to Prison
For those with little experience with the criminal justice system, the notion of time behind bars can feel overwhelming. It can feel as though there is nowhere to turn and any information you read online seems to contradict other information you’ve seen. In an effort to cut through all of the misinformation and help you prepare, below we’ve included useful basic information below.
- Educate yourself beforehand: This means reading quality prison preparation books and speaking with a knowledgeable advisor who has ideally done substantial prison time in the system where you will be incarcerated and at the same security level. The best books for this is the Federal Prison Handbook: The Definitive Guide to Surviving the Federal Bureau of Prisons. We tell it like it is and do not offer false promises or scare you into opening up your checkbooks. Take this step seriously. It is vital that you build an informational foundation from which to make good decisions in prison.
- Get your finances in order: Appoint someone you trust to act as a business or financial manager – your spouse, an attorney, or a close friend. You may want to give this person power of attorney and arrange for the bank to allow them to make withdrawals from your account. Arrange to have them send money monthly or quarterly – if you can afford it, ask for between $500 and $750 a month. This will give you a $360 commissary spending limit, the maximum 300 minutes of phone calls each month, purchase of MP3 player music files, and use of the BOP’s inmate email system. This investment will make your prison time go by faster. It’s worth the expense if you and your family can afford it.
- Resolve any medical and dental problems: This means a full physical, any required surgeries, resolving any dental issues, obtaining a new glasses prescription and eyewear, etc. While the Federal Bureau of Prisons does provide medical, dental, and eye care, it is substandard, slow, and often not forthcoming. You will do yourself a big favor by dealing with this now, and not waiting until you are in prison.
- Get yourself in good physical shape: If you are being housed at a camp (i.e., minimum security) or low-security federal prison, there probably isn’t any pressing need to learn how to fight. But if you’re headed to a higher security level, you may want to hire a personal trainer to help you become as fit as possible (even if that just means looking tough). While we don’t advocate employing violence — conflict avoidance is almost always the best answer, even in prison — consider hiring a boxing or other hand-to-hand combat trainer to learn how to protect yourself. This is an important piece of how to prepare for prison. Violence in prison is a real issue, and people do get hurt. A fight is never a good idea, but you do need to be prepared in the event of everything going wrong and escalating conflict.
- Research your prison: If you have been ordered to self-surrender, go to our federal prison profiles section and locate the specific page for the prison in question. Once there you can read about the specific prison and life therein, as well as download the Admission & Orientation Handbook and commissary forms for the facility. These will provide an overview of opportunities available at the prison and protocols for things such as education, recreation, housing, health and psychology services, etc. This is valuable prison-specific information and can be very helpful in your journey to learning how to prepare for prison.
- Find purpose behind bars: A period of incarceration equals a lot of open time on your hands, which can be a positive or a negative – it’s your choice. There are many positive activities in prison which can help you find purpose in your life, even helping you improve your circumstances upon release. College correspondence courses, writing, exercising, and teaching in the prison’s Education Department are just some examples of the many activities you can become involved in which will give you purpose. This purpose will help carry you through your sentence. How you find purpose is up to you: one of our clients, who was a doctor prior to his incarceration, spent his time helping those who needed physical therapy. Find something that works for you. It’s a good idea to put a plan in place so that from the time you enter prison, you can focus on the day of release.
If you are interested in hiring our firm to assist you with your prison preparation needs, please email [email protected]. Our team is standing by ready to teach you how to prepare for prison. You can also learn more about our prison consulting services and fees on those respective pages.