You're probably just reading this blog because the title caught your eye.
Unfortunately, you may also be reading this article because you are on your way straight to the gulag. Yep, you've either been framed or finally snapped and cut off your ex-wife's head, earning a one way ticket straight to the clink. Either way, this is going to be no box social my friend, and hopefully you will take the following advice to heart and endure your time—nay, flourish—in your horrible, horrible new home. Or you'll get shanked in a prison riot. But buck up! We have done extensive research on optimal prison strategies because being prepared, smart, and having a plan is critical to not getting stabbed in the shower. (Always wear flip flops, by the way. Probably the least of your worries in the shower, but, it needs to be said.) We will also use prison slang for authenticity—please study this carefully, you will need it.
Needless to say, we have spent alot of time considering prison life and optimal survival strategies; not because we're ever worried about being in prison, but because we heard the term "prison bride" once, and it made us exceedingly curious. Plus, it's always good to be prepared, because you never know.
Our qualifications, you ask? None to be spoken of. Andi has actually been near real, live prisoners before in her work at a forensic clinic, and I have watched a lot of Shawshank Redemption. But you don't have to work in the system to know what works—it just takes a little common sense and a badass plan.
Also, this plan does not refer to time in the "bucket", or county jail. Chances are you're not going to be there a horribly long time, and most of your jail mates will be merely crazy meth heads and hot check writers. So quit whining, you could be in Attica. And the meth heads are, at times, quite entertaining.
First day—Welcome! You're officially "fish", or a new inmate. You may be horrified and appalled at intake and at your new environment in general, but take heart. You can make any small space a home—think bright colors to open up a small space, pictures from home, perhaps a nice small knitted rug to liven things up.
Ok, fun time's over. You're in the hoosegow now and need to think like a con. You have 2 first day strategies: attack or align.
Attack: Ballsy! But good for you! You may not have had time to whittle a shiv ("shank" is a verb, and "shiv" is the weapon itself, i.e., "to shank") yet, and you don't necessarily want to kill someone on your first day—you don't want to kill the wrong person. Stabbing the prison's "lugger" (someone who brings in drugs) could put you on many a shit list. Your best bet: a good punch in the face, or a meal tray over the head. Pick the biggest baddest ass in the cafeteria and give them a good fruit cocktail shower, or jump someone in the yard. This will tell the prison world that you are no wilting flower, and you call no man Mr.! Even if you get literally stomped into the ground, you've earned yourself some brownie points for bravery.
Align: This may be the less pleasant of the two. As you may or may not have heard—prison sex is no fun. There are ways to avoid sexual favors, such as becoming a "sweet kid"—someone who looks up to an inmate and does non sexual favors for them for protection or knowledge. But it's really not very likely. These dudes have been in there a long time, and they are lonely with a capital L. While it may not be what you had in mind for your life, it's time to consider prison bridery. A marriage like alignment with an older inmate offers you protection from "booty bandits" or "wolves", i.e., those prisoners who prey sexually on weaker inmates, or "punks." (If you're very small in stature or white, this is definitely the way to go. For God's sake, you do not want to be a punk.) If you have to be a prison bride, be the best one you can be—do nice things for your "daddy", leave them little notes, fold their jumpsuits, etc. A little goes a long way, and ultimately you want to avoid being sold for a price (drugs, cigarettes, etc) to a less kind "daddy." Good daddies are hard to find, so love the one you're with. And just try to think of something else during the what-have-you.
So you've made it through your first day! Congratulations! Whether you've garnered respect & admiration from your inmate brethren or merely died a little bit inside from a horrible night of prison sex—you've made it through that critical first day. Now it's time for long term strategies:
Alignment: This is going to be about as good as it gets, so you are going to really need to resign yourself to that and make peace with it. Just think: it could be worse. Well, no. Really it can't. If you do find yourself in a sweet kid position (lucky dog!) you can learn lots of advance tips for prison survival from your mentor, meet new people who can help you get by, maybe take a class or two—the prison world is your oyster!
Attack: Assuming your initial first day attempt didn't get you killed, you are free to peruse the exciting world of prison gang life. This involves a tight brotherhood offering protection-- and a nice feeling of belonging, as well. You could start a very lucrative career for yourself selling drugs, killing for hire, and so forth. You're going to want to perfect your "red eye" (hard stare), as well as whittle yourself several shivs to use when doing your dirty deeds or, (cross your fingers!) a good ol fashioned prison riot. While killing a "chota" (guard) could be curtains for you, at least you'll go out with the admiration of your companions. If you choose the gang life, you'll most likely be relegated to choices within your race, but these options can be plentiful, especially in larger prisons—so shop around for the gang that fits you best.
Renaissance Man- Of course, you can find a happy medium of sorts in prison, but the more ultra max you get, the more the above 2 options will remain your only options. But playing a more diplomatic hand will allow you to pursue your own interests. Perhaps you could take some college courses, or an anger management class, if you did indeed cut off your wife's head. You can always work on your physique, or convert to Islam and change your name. This could be a wonderful time of self renewal for you! I mean, really, what else are you going to do?
"Do the Dutch"— or "topping" yourself—to commit suicide. Oh, come on now! You've got to think positively! Any day now you could get your "lifeboat" (pardon) or "kill your number" (get paroled). Think of the horrible, horrible irony of either of these two occurrences happening the day after you did yourself. Unless you're a prison bride, and in that case, I'd go for it. In this case, it truly isn't going to get any better. Sorry—we just like to be honest here.
Well this certainly isn't a comprehensive guide to prison strategy, but we hope it will at least get you started on your exciting new prison career. Best of luck to you in all your pursuits!!
Andi & Erin
Also—Please, do not call or write from your respective prisons with questions/comments/marriage proposals.
Current Location: The Plex
Current Music: Darjeeling Limited Soundtrack- Mark Mothersbaugh