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How to Survive Prison Life

Landed in the big house? Survive prison life by following these do's and don'ts.


  • Step 1: Don't be a snitch Don't rat anyone out. Ever. If you want to survive prison life, this is the number one rule.
  • Step 2: Don't be a badass Forget what you've seen on TV about swaggering into prison like a tough guy so you won't get picked on. Acting like a badass is actually more likely to get you beaten up because the established thugs will feel obligated to reassert their dominance.
  • TIP: If you do get targeted for a smackdown, fight back to the best of your ability and try not to show fear.
  • Step 3: Resist favors If an inmate offers to give you something or do you a favor, politely decline. This is a common trick inmates use on newbies to get them into their debt so they can extort a huge payback.
  • Step 4: Wait to be asked Don't join anything -- a conversation, a mess hall table, a game of hoops -- unless you're invited. Refrain from asking personal questions unless the other person has broached the subject first.
  • TIP: Never ask an inmate what they're "in for"; ask what they've been "accused of."
  • Step 5: Brace yourself Expect bad treatment from the guards if you're in for financial misdeeds -- especially if you could once afford $6,000 shower curtains. These inmates tend to be assigned the most degrading jobs.
  • Step 6: Make peace with your crime Assuming you're guilty, make peace with doing the time. Acceptance of your circumstances will help you survive prison life and plan for the future.
  • FACT: If an inmate tries to sneak in contraband via his rectum, it's known as "keistering."

You Will Need

  • Zipped lips
  • Humility
  • Restraint
  • Acceptance
  • Courage (optional)

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