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How To Survive Jail Time

Updated on July 16, 2017

If you are reading this you have an interest in Jail or are facing time yourself. Jail is the first step before prison, many things are similar between them and many things are different. Jails are always smaller and more tightly packed together. They are for shorter stays of less than a year, but some people do many years there waiting to go to court and get sentenced.

After sentencing it is about two weeks to two months before you get shipped out. The first timers will be fearing the trip while the ones that been to prison before will be happy to get out of the jail.


Entering the reception facility the entire shipment, 37 men, and 2 shipments from other counties were stripped and given a lice bath. This consisted of a special shampoo, a waiting period, and then a rinse off of the coldest water I ever felt in a shower. We were then paraded through the nursing staff to be weighed and checked for rashes,soars, and tattoos. After that we were given a jumpsuit and housed in a dorm setting until we were classified to a specific prison.

You can be here anywhere from a week to months before you are shipped to you assigned prison. This feels like you are standing still but you know your life is about to start again. When you are transferred to your prison this should be your last time in handcuffs unless you get into trouble. At the prison you will be assigned a housing unit and then a job, everyone works in jail and it is a small paycheck that lets you get cosmetics and some canteen. If you are a tradesmen I suggest you try to get into a shop, they usually pay better then other jobs. Two other good choices are the kitchen and barber shop. You may not be assigned to one of theser at first but after a period of time you can switch.

The Fence

First Impression

When the prison first comes into sight you will experience feelings you never felt before. It could be doom or parallizing fear, it could be you thinking "what did I get myself into". For the really sick individuals it could be the feeling of being home again. For me, it was a feeling of the beginning of the end. After a long addiction and a lengthy court battle, I knew this was my last obsticle to freedom. It was sort of a bitter sweet feeling, I was happy to be getting it over with, but I hoped for the strength to get through 4 years of this place and the things I would face.

I have always been confident in myself and was only a little worried I could do it, you have to remember you have no choice. I seen different kinds of people from the meek to the toughest survive. It was justa plan for me to fit in and blend in at first, then my outspoken and leadership abilities started to show.

The Towers

The towers add to the overall frightfulness of the place, there is always somebody watching you. My first experience with a tower guard was in the big yard playing football, the ball went near the fence and I was running to get it. I heard a whistle and looking in the direction it came from, only the tower was there. A window was open and a m-16 was pointed at me, I motioned the football and pointed at it. He lowered the weapon and waved me over to get it, another motion he made that was unmistakable was to go slow. I picked up the ball and turned to see the weapon pointed at me again. I remember thinking how easily he could shoot me and go home to his family.

How to Survive in Jail Time

Jail has the look of prison with the barbed wire, the larger ones even have a guard tower. Jail can be harder then prison in many ways. You have people coming and going daily, many of them never been there and do not know how to act. They are going home in a week or waiting 10 hours to be bailed out and stressing over it. You are there knowing you are not going home any time soon and it makes you want to smack them.

In jail you have these people that play way too much and you can tell they never been to prison. In prison if you play with someone that takes offense to it you will get caught in the shower or another secluded place, then you will learn quickly. This can happen in jail but not nearly as much, the people in jail waiting to go to prison do not want to get hung up in the jail ad-seg when they could be getting shipped out.

Some Tips to help you in Jail

  1. Do not play with people
  2. Do not gamble
  3. Do not steal
  4. Give respect, and expect to get it
  5. Fight if you have to
  6. Save food for night time

Stay to yourself and watch who you hang with. You can end up in trouble by being with someone that gets in trouble. When the guards get to know you as serious and not a knuckle head they will not be looking at you as hard.

Don't get known as a complainer or crier, There is also a lot of jealousy so do not brag or show off what you have, just stay humble.

This book has everything you need for a good start in jail. You can read about the day to day life and what you should know that will not be taught to you.

If you are going to jail you may have been hanging with the wrong people, if you are lucky and one of them is in their with you maybe they can school you on jail life, This is not something you can count on so learn what you can before going in.

Bar Containment


If you are unfortunate to get a really old prison this is what you may experience. Today's newer and modern prisons have few bars, they use steel doors with shatter proof glass. It is about containment. You can throw liquid or urine threw bars but the windows stop this. Bars have also been known to be used to hang yourself or another person. There are not many of the older bar prisons left, some states may still have them as an reception or holding facility.

The Streets are Coming

When you start getting close to going home it is best not to tell anyone or act different. Things can happen when someone that is not going home is jealous of you.


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    • savvydating profile image


      8 months ago

      Fascinating. I've always wondered how anyone can survive jail or prison, not that I have any plans to go there. Lol.

      I'm sure what you have written here is just the tip of the iceburg.

      I didn't know about the glass walls. Makes sense, but not having any privacy must be hellish. Guess all of prison is pretty much like living through hell.

    • Evane profile image

      The Filipina Digital Entrepreneur 

      23 months ago

      Oh I wonder what made you decide to write about this.


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