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How to Survive in Prison

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How to Survive in Prison

Postby HC5CA » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:12 pm

I've never been in prison, myself, but I've always been interested in knowing what people go through while there. This is an article on the subject that I found interesting, and think y'all might, too.


The above link has pictures, videos, etc. along with the article, below.

Remember the film The Shawshank Redemption, where bank executive Andy Dufresne is sentenced to life in prison for a crime he did not commit? The prospect is terrifying. Have you ever imagined what you would do if you were in Andy’s shoes? How would you cope when the world deals you one of the crappiest hands in the deck? Would you be able to survive in prison? Surely you’ve imagined this scenario many, many times. We would never consciously wish to be locked up with society’s most hardened and dangerous criminals, but after watching countless shows and movies about prisons we can’t help but wonder if we’d stand up for ourselves, earning respect while maintaining our manhood and our dignity, or if we’d submit and cower in the face of stronger predators, ending up as someone’s “punk” trading sexual favors for cigarettes, and ultimately getting a shiv to the kidneys in line at the prison cafeteria.

The following is a prison survival guide, with tips compiled from many a criminal who’ve done hard time and lived to tell the tale. Of course the goal in life is to never end up in prison, but mistakes can be made, crazy things do happen, and people often end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or who knows, maybe you’re reading this minutes before committing a highly organized armed robbery. In any case, these proven strategies will not only supply confidence to the imagined you in your prison survival fantasy, but they could also save your life should you God-forbiddingly end up behind bars.

Fight vs Flight
Paranoia is a quality of the living. You can count on someone getting in your face in the first few days. Don’t wander around naïvely believing that it won’t happen to you; you must assume that it will. Whether it’s stealing your food in the cafeteria or threatening you sexually in the showers, it’s always best to fight - as hard as you can. Do whatever it takes to protect yourself, even if that means killing them before they kill you. Once the other prisoners realize you are not afraid to smash someone’s face in, predators will move on to weaker more submissive targets, and you will have earned some respect.

Or, if you prefer the more pre-emptive approach, follow the advice of the Russian mob boss Nikolai from Spike Lee’s film 25th Hour, as he offers it to Monty before entering prison.

“When you get there, figure out who’s who. Find the man nobody’s protecting, a man without friends, and beat him until his eyes bleed. Let them think you are a little bit crazy, but respectful too. Respectful of the right men.”

If you don’t stand up for yourself in prison you will be victimized for your entire prison life!

How to avoid being attacked:
- Be on extra alert in areas where surveillance is minimal ie. corridors, showers, etc…
- Beware approaching inmates with hands behind their backs or in their pockets, they could be concealing a weapon.
- Never let yourself get backed into a corner with no escape route.
- When going to the bathroom, take your pants off completely. Attacking someone on the throne occurs often and it’s much harder to defend yourself with your pants around your ankles!

Keep a Squeaky Clean Credit Record
Unpaid debts are one of the surefire ways to end up with an uncoiled bed spring in your chest. The best way to avoid this is to NEVER take ANYTHING on CREDIT EVER. You will surely receive hundreds of offers for cigarettes, coffee, drugs, etc…and what most newcomers don’t realize is that once they accept an item on credit, they will often have to pay it back double! And how can you possibly comply when you didn’t have one in the first place? Stab, stab stab. If you smoked or did drugs before prison, quit. Simple as that. Never gamble, and never put yourself in anyone’s debt. Inmates have cruel and creative ways of making you pay.

Mind Your Associations
No matter how much of a “I don’t see races, I only see people” type of person you are, a crucial tip for your survival in prison is to immediately show your allegiance to your own race. This does not mean that you must join a gang, and, eventually, you can make friends with anyone you want. But racial tension is high in prisons and you should seek out your own first. You need all the protection you can get, and if a gang of Mexicans are beating down a black man you can be sure no skinheads will step in to help out.
Even if you were a member of a gang on the outside, avoid joining a gang on the inside. Gang leaders control the drugs, gambling, extortion, and they demand absolute loyalty from their members. If you join you may be ordered to do something that will keep you locked up a lot longer. Disobey your orders and you get killed. Quit the gang, and you get killed. So do yourself a favor and remain a free agent.

Prison staff
The golden rule to remember about associating with anyone working in the prison where you are held captive is simple: DON’T. No matter how friendly they appear to be, you must maintain the frame of mind that every prison official or staff member is your enemy. As one convicted felon noted “Every inmate whom I’ve seen develop any type of friendship with any prison employee was, in the end, betrayed and shunned by other prisoners.” It is infinitely more important to your survival to befriend your fellow inmates rather than a prison guard. Off the record, it’s not a bad idea to stay friends later.

Never trust prison officials

Never become someone’s punk (girlfriend), no matter how much protection you are offered in exchange. Anyone offering to “take you under their wing” is generally a booty bandit or a jailhouse pimp. You will be sexually used, abused, traded, sold, and possibly murdered if you sleep with the wrong inmate. Punks are often used to make someone jealous, and just like anyone wearing the red uniform on Star Trek, they get killed first.

As alien as the prison world may seem there are universal methods of dealing with people which will help to keep the social waters calm. Always be respectful and polite to other prisoners, regardless of how weird they may act or dress. First, because you don’t know who or what they are, and second, because respect and personal dignity are the most valued possessions left to a prisoner.
Never tell another prisoner what to do or give anyone orders. Don’t tell the noisy ones in the law library to be quiet. Prisoners deeply resent being bossed around by another prisoner. Their likely response — even to a polite request — is, “What are you, a fuckin’ cop?”

Never stare at another prisoner for more than a second or two. He may be a walking powder keg, set off by an intrusive stare. He may either assault you on the spot or wait until darkness. Even if he doesn’t kill you outright, your face will never look the same again.

As you should in life, seek out those who maximize their time by dedicating themselves to self-improvement. They are few and are therefore easy to notice. Make positive associations with people who are taking full advantage of the prison’s educational and vocational opportunities. They are the best associates to have as they can teach you how to use the prison’s resources to better prepare you for life in the free world.

Keep Your Head
Survival is more than simply “staying alive”. If you walk out of prison with your vital organs intact but your spirit is crushed and your mental health destroyed, you should not consider yourself a “survivor”. Prison can ruin you mentally if you allow it. It is a degrading experience designed to humiliate you, break you down, leaving you in a soggy psychological heap of despair. Stay positive and never think of yourself as a loser - the entire system will try to convince you otherwise. Believe in yourself, trust that you will one day be free, that you can one day become a good father or mother or husband or wife, and that you will be a productive part of your community. Read positive books, hang out with positive people, take care of your most important survival tool: your mind!

And no matter how depressed or lonely you might feel never see the prison psychologist (remember the association rule #3). A prison shrink enjoys nothing more than transforming an inmate into a submissive zombie with tranquilizers and medication.

Physical Strength
Stay Clean

The first step towards maintaining your physical health is personal hygiene. Keep your bed, your cell, and yourself clean. Prisons can be very dirty places where insects, rodents, and even fellow inmates carry filth and disease. Watch what you touch and never drink or smoke after anyone.

Take advantage of the prison’s gym and sport teams. Daily exercise will keep you in good condition and will help to relieve stress and depression. Study a martial art if possible and become as strong as you need to defend yourself from attackers. Stretch every day. Medical services in prison are notoriously bad so the healthier you stay the better.

Prison food is terrible. The only tip here is to try and eat less of it.

Your only true ally in prison is time. This is ironic because time is your punishment, but it can be your best friend because it will always be there. Whether you are sentenced to two months or twenty-five years, provided you follow these few simple survival tips, the time will pass and you will be that much older when you are released. The type of person you will be depends on how you spend your time. Will you waste away the years watching television or playing cards with your buddies? Or will you get yourself a college education? Will you let your negative surroundings dictate your mental and physical state or will you set goals and spend every day towards bettering yourself as a person? Prison is a terrible place which claims the lives of many who enter, even if they manage to “live” through the experience. But if you follow these tips, keeping your head up and your eyes open, being polite and respectful without ever becoming a snitch, remaining mindful of who you role with, staying out of dept, educating yourself while nourishing your body and spirit, you will survive.


"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish." :-)
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