You’ve been convicted of a crime and have been handed an extreme sentence. Now, you’re about to spend time in prison. The type of environment you will face depends on whether you’ve been sent to a maximum security one or a minimum security one. If it’s the second one, you may have an easier time of it, since a lot of white-collar criminals are sent there. But you need to do things to survive and pass the time. Some of these things can benefit your brain and others can help your body. Here are some ways to do that:
Learn New Skills
Prison can be a grind. You need to keep yourself sharp, otherwise, it can just feel like the days are blending into each other. If you have something that you’re working on, then that can break up the dullness of the days. There are a lot of opportunities that you can take to improve yourself. Often, all you’ll have to do is log into a computer. Fortunately, there are a lot of different free lessons out that you can find just by doing a quick Google search. Make sure that you find ones that are up-to-date. The last thing you want is to master something that’s no longer used in a widespread way.
How will you do this? In between meals and any necessary prison activities, like showering, you will have a lot of downtime. No matter your age, you can learn new skills while you’re there. If you’re on the creative side, you could do things like website design. You could write. You could paint or draw. You could learn a new language. Look online to see what kind of skills are in demand and see if you can master any of them. That will help you keep on top of what’s happening in the world while you complete your extreme sentence. But you can work on picking up things that will make you marketable when you are released.
Focus on What Matters
When you’re in prison with an extreme sentence, it can be very stressful. You don’t want to worry yourself to the point that you’re balding, though. You need to recognize that you’re in the situation that you’re in and just focus on the important things — like keeping both your body and mind intact as you serve out your time. There are going to be a lot of things that you can’t control, like the behavior of the other people there. Be alert at all times, but there will be times when you have to take things as they unfold in front of you. Worrying about what could happen will just make you feel miserable.
Look Toward the Future
There’s got to be a light at the end of the tunnel for you, even if you have an extreme sentence. You might have someone waiting for you when you get out. You can imagine them in a bridal gown. Think about things like that and hold on to that hope. While there is a day-to-day part of prison life, and you need to pay attention to that, you can also be planning ahead and envisioning what the future holds for you. By combining staying in the present and thinking ahead, you can make sure that you are able to weather whatever happens to you while you are incarcerated. Even if things look bleak at times, you can still see that glimmer of light.
Get Outside Support
Hopefully, you will have friends and family that can visit you while you are serving your extreme sentence. They can offer both emotional support and financial support too, if you need to get items from the prison canteen. They may be able to take things of yours to the pawn store and get the cash that you need. Having support from the outside can be very important. Knowing that someone will be there come see you regularly will make your time inside a bit more bearable. You can even count down how many visits you have left until you are able to join them on the outside again. This could be one way for you to focus on the future.
Appeal Your Case
There might be circumstances that were missed during your original trial, the one that that ended with you being handed an extreme sentence. If so, you might be able to appeal your verdict. See about a possible bail bond so that you could get some freedom while the appeal is heard. Also, you could always see when you are up for possible parole. It could be a lot sooner than you think. Have people on the outside look over your circumstances — they might be able to notice things that even your original lawyer didn’t. Then you might be free a lot earlier that you anticipated.
Stay Out of Trouble
You don’t want to have your name on a cemetery headstone before your time. Especially if you pass during your extreme sentence. Of course, this depends on what type of prison you’re in. There are people who are going to be in a maximum security one for the rest of their lives without the chance of even getting out, which means that they have very little to lose by doing violent things. If you find yourself around them, do everything you can to not attract their attention.
It’s not just the other inmates that you have to worry about, There are a lot of corrupt prison officials, just like on the television shows and movies. While a lot of the correction officers are there just to do a job, which is to make sure that the prison is run as smoothly as possible, there are others who will take advantage of the power that they are given. They will then take the opportunity to make your life as miserable as possible if you happen to get on their bad side. While sometimes that’s just due to unfortunate circumstances, like being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it’s usually to just put your head down and stay off of their radar.
Maintain Your Health
This can be a big problem in the prisons that are overcrowded. People are around each other all the time, which means that it’s really easy to pass along contagious diseases. That includes COVID-19. This can also mean a shortage of nurse staffing, which is something you don’t want during an extreme sentence. Do as much as you can to keep yourself healthy in these situations. Wash your hands as often as you can. Try not to be around a large group of people. If you’re in a prison yard, you should try to maintain your distance away from others, especially if you know that an outbreak is possible.
Of course, this may not entirely be possible given the circumstances. Still, do your best. Try to stay on the good side of both the guards and the medical staff. That way, they might look out for your so that if you do get sick, they can make sure that you get quick medical attention, which can help keep you from getting worse and recovering faster. But do all you can to keep from getting sick in the first place.
Besides looking online for skills to learn, you can also get a lot of things from books. See if you can get things about basic household skills. You never know when you might have to be your own plumber for the toilet in your cell while you are serving your extreme sentence. There can be a lot of informative books that you might be able to find in the prison library. Of course, you also need to make sure that the books are up-to-date. There’s not a lot of use for coding on MS-DOS anymore, for example.
You don’t have to necessarily read to learn things, either. You can use the books as a form of escape. There are a lot of books about different adventures. Imagine yourself as the hero in one of the novels. It’s a great way to forget for a while that you’re in prison. You can use that time of letting your imagination soar to get through some of the tough times while you’re there. Then you can see about getting more books once you’re outside of prison, too. Reading is a great way to keep your mind sharp throughout your incarceration, too.
Stay in Shape
One of the things that people who are in prison like to do while they server their extreme sentence is work out. There is usually a makeshift gym with some weights in the yard, or there may even be a dedicated one. You might even be able to get some workouts in if you have a warehouse job at the prison. Just work on your form as you put boxes onto a pallet rack. You can target several areas of your body here, including your legs, arms, and back. The more that you do, the stronger you will be. Also, you can walk around a lot during your free time.
Staying in shape can be more than just a defense mechanism, too. It’s just a great way to boost your endorphins. When you finish your workout, you’ll feel good. Also, the more you work out, the more stamina you’ll have. That way, you’ll be able to focus on the other aspects of prison life and learning new skills. You’ll get more restful sleep, too, since you’ll be tired from all the working out. This one depends on how safe you are in your cell, though, since you might not have the most trustworthy cellmate.
People are social creatures, even in prison. While some of them are bonded by the fact that they are serving an extreme sentence, there are other things that can bring them together. Some of them might like hair, so they could do things like talk about hair schools. Others might like things like baseball. They can do things like talk about baseball or even play it. Forming these connections can be important, since prison life can be lonely otherwise. Look around to see what people are doing or discussing. You might even find something new to keep yourself occupied.
There are times that people make lifelong friends while they are in prison. You could find friends like that. Perhaps they are good people who just found themselves in bad circumstances. Whatever the case, you could bond over your shared likes. Then you could become one of those outside connections or also meet up after prison. It’s important to know the rules about that, though, since some prisons frown at outside communication before a certain time limit has expired.
There’s no denying that prison life will be a lot different from what you’re used to on the outside. It can take a strong mind to get through it. If you focus on the above things, you will improve your chances of being a much better person than you were when you first went in. Once you have become a free person again, you can devote your time to making the most of what you have learned.
When you get to prison, you need to quickly figure out if this is the type of place that is designed just to hold you while you’re there, like a minimum security place that will have more for you to do, or if it’s supposed to truly test your will. In either case, you’re going to have to adapt. If you don’t, it could be a permanently short stay there. We’re not saying this to scare you, though it would be in your best interest to not even tempt fate and break the law. Then you won’t have to worry about this. But if someone you know is going to prison, you could pass this along to them before they go. It could be one of the most important things that they read.