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9 tips for surviving Prison

March 8, 2007

 (you know, should you ever find yourself in the clink)

one thing people who know i was locked up often say is :: i don’t know how you survived prison. well, in all honesty it’s not that hard if you use a little common sense and keep your wits about you. of course, if prison taught me anything it is that sense is not all that common and wits are often on the endangered species list.

tip #1 ::

don’t start stressing until after the sentencing. across most of america, county lock up is nothing. it sucks, because you don’t have access to as much stuff as you do once you go up state, but for the most part your fellow travellers are behaving in hopes of hitting the streets again

(nothing makes you feel so stupid as being cleared of all charges and still having to do 3 years for assaulting your cell mate)

caveat :: there are counties (LA would be a good example) that are definitely an exception to this rule.

tip #2 ::

shower shoes are a must. unless you WANT to stand barefoot upon the athletes foot of a hundred men . . .

tip #3 ::

to be aware is to be alive. prison is one place where you learn to *see everything without looking at anything* or you don’t learn very much more

tip #4 ::

take your pants off when you take a dump. no, it’s not a gay thing. it’s so you have half a chance not to get your @ss kicked. nearly every fight in prison is quick and dirty and i’d say roughly 7 in 10 start and end with some guy attacking another guy while he is taking a dump. if your pants are wrapped up round your ankles when you go to stand up for yourself it ain’t gonna go well for you.

tip #5 ::

wash your feet @ the sink. shuffle on over there dressed. jeans at least. and flip flops. and a bar of soap. wash one foot and then the other. dry. go take a shower.

this might seem as silly as the pants thing, but the shower is another common place for one inmate to attack another and you definitely don’t want slippery feet for that dance.

tip #6 ::

stay out of it. i didn’t survive by channeling the spirit of bruce lee. i prayed ALOT. and i minded my own business.

tip #7 ::

when in doubt :: fight

i decided very quickly that mincing words was always a bad idea. lots of guys talk trash. lots of guys are loud to draw a crowd (and hopefully a guard or two). and some are just working themselves towards a good @ss whupin.

fights are short in prison. they generally have to be. now and then a knock down drag out will escape the guard’s notice, but not usually. a couple punches and it’s over.

most inmates who play the intimidation game are counting on the intimidation to do their fighting for them. you might not win. but a good swift fist to the throat will generally end the trash talking and will certainly ensure your intimidator looks for an easier target the next time.

tip #8 ::

scared white boy in a black neighborhood

you are alone. never forget that. so is he. big bubba with the fists like shovels and the permanent tan.

one of the first things i noticed in prison was an utter lack of racial solidarity like they show you in the movies. black guy owed a white guy money. white guy walked right up to the guy (who had 4-5 friends gathered round him) and slammed him up against the wall, threatening dire consequences if the guy didn’t pay him on friday (our pay day).

none of his buddies stepped in.

because in prison everyone expects you to handle your own business.

tip #9 ::

stay the f*ck out of prison! it f*cking sucks!

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