Surviving a term of incarceration is no cakewalk. For all first-time prisoners, the transition from free-world living to prison culture is abrupt, extreme, and caustic. It’s like nothing else, and there are very real consequences to violating the unspoken codes of decorum and the concept of “respect,” a term which takes on a whole new meaning in the prison context.
This article presents seven secrets to surviving a term of incarceration. By internalizing and abiding by these principles, anyone new to prison culture will save themselves a lot of strife and possibly violent encounters.
In short, they can transform potential hard time to easy time.
Secret One: Don’t Snitch
The number one rule in prison is to not snitch. There is no worse crime in prison culture than to inform on a fellow prisoner. When serving time in prison, inmates often see others engaging in unsavory, unethical, or even illegal conduct. This is simply the way it is in prison. When such conduct is observed, the inmate should simply look away, continue on with whatever they were doing, and keep the knowledge of what transpired to themselves. When someone is found to have informed on fellow prisoners, they are usually either assaulted or “checked in” (forced to go into protective custody). By refusing to provide the prison administration with information, this very dangerous trap can be avoided in its entirety.
While there may be instances when it appears that keeping one’s mouth shut can result in disfavor from the powers that be, those consequences pale next to what can happen to a prisoner who is identified as a snitch by his fellows.