Prison thoughts from a novice

Things to know about Prison:

(from someone who has been in prison for five months)

If you have less than a five year sentence people will actually laugh and tell you how quick the time will go by – you will not find humor in this.

That chair in the TV room – it probably ‘belongs’ to someone and it’s not worth getting bothered about.  Don’t change the channel either.  That ‘right’ comes with a long sentence and hundreds of hours logged in front of the TV.

Your skin is going to benefit from the lack of sunlight.  But when you do go outside and put on sunscreen people will look at you like you’re crazy.

You will learn to fall asleep with the lights on, music coming out of someone’s headphones so loud it sounds like there is a speaker on, and people having conversations over one another.

Far more is going to be out of your control than you imagine.  Giving in is hard, not giving in is harder.

On any night there will be guys playing cards, watching TV, watching movies, working out or reading in the study room.  Make time to relax, but take count of what is going to help you the most in the long run.

Only about 15% of the inmate population goes to breakfast – start your day early and with a meal.

You have time to floss every single day, don’t skip it.

All the lights are bright, so bright.

Being on a schedule where you get up and go to bed at the same time every single day is actually kind of enjoyable.

Let every one do their own time.  Some want to work in the kitchen 7 days a week to make the time pass, others seem able to sleep for 12 hours a day.  There are those who want to watch TV non-stop, others who want to take classes or study for their GED.  No one likes anyone’s unsolicited advice.

Everyone in there will have hidden talents that impress you.  Judge no one immediately.

Everyone has been through more than you could imagine, and will deal with more than you’d think upon their release.

People call people ‘bud’. Hey bud, no can do bud, what’s up bud, watch out bud, you’re hit bud.  You will tire of this word yet also grow to like it.  You will even be impressed with how many times it can be used in one conversation.

Every prison is different and people will talk about how great x, y or z prison is.  You’re not there, you’re not at those places, you are where you are.

Join a car and ride with them if you want to lift weights.

Oatmeal.  You will eat so much oatmeal.  No toppings, no brown sugar, no fruit, no nuts.  Just plain, luke warm oatmeal.

Everything is reserved at a certain time.  Card tables, musical instruments, weight benches…all of it.  There’s no formal reservation system, people just know it.  Find a routine and stick to it if you want to stake your claim.

Saying less is never a bad idea.  You can always say less.

Everything smells like mackerel.  It’s like that scene from “The Beach” where the guy is scrubbing his hands relentlessly, complaining of the smell of fish.  Going to brush your teeth at night?  The bathroom will smell of fish.  Like all of this, you get used to it.

Notice your shoes are untied? Bend at the knees, not the waist or you will get called out by at least three people within seconds.

Floor buffers.  Everywhere.  Wax on, wax off.  People cannot get enough of buffing the floors.

You will clean toilets, mop floors and perform a lot of work you don’t want to do.  It’s better to do a good job and do it with pride than it is to complain.

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