What to do when you get to jail.

Chances are, you’ve never been arrested before, and this is all a new experience. It’s going to be very intensely scary and confusing and you’ll be nervous, and the first thing you’ll want to do is start talking if only to reassure yourself. Resist that urge and



You’ve probably heard of the Miranda rule: Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Let’s read that one more time:

Anything you say…will be used against you.

Once you’ve been detained by law enforcement, they are not your friends. They are not there to protect and serve you. They are there to arrest you, charge you in the most severe manner possible, and get enough evidence to convict you. They are trying to lock you up in a cage and take away your freedom. They are your enemy. And they’re bigger than you and stronger than you. They have tons of weapons, equipment and apparatus at their disposal. They have full establishment support, vast powers and authority. You are at a severe disadvantage. They also have many psychological tricks which they will use to try and get you to slip up and admit something incriminating, because a confession makes their job so much easier. Do not confess.

Keep Your Mouth Shut.

They do not have to read you the Miranda Rule any more.

When you get to jail, Keep Your Mouth Shut. Assume that the jail cells are bugged. The other prisoners are also not your friends. They are criminals, probably much harder than you. They will try and get you to confess, because then they can leverage that information in their favor.

Keep Your Mouth Shut.

Just SHUT. UP.

Actually, it looks like now, should you be subject to interrogation, you are the one who has to invoke your right to remain silent. So say this:
“I invoke my right to remain silent”.

And keep repeating it.


Following is a list of tips for surviving prison, and with the help of Black Rock Legal Defense Fund, you won’t be going there. However, the information may prove useful for those who have never been exposed to that side of the criminal justice system.

1. Do not get involved with punks

I am not talking about guys with spiked hair – I am talking about guys who become other guys’ “girlfriends” – usually for protection. While the short term benefits may be appealing (protection from other prisoners), you can become a virtual slave, to be gambled or sold to other inmates and you will definitely be used and abused.

This also includes being taken under someone’s wing – it will almost certainly lead to you being a victim of rape. People who offer this kind of help are either looking for a punk, or are looking for someone to pimp out. You should not associate with anyone involved with punks either. Jealousy in prison can lead to murder.

2. Do not discuss your crime

This rule applies especially in cases of sexual crimes. Prisoners doing time for these types of crimes are the biggest target for rape and brutality. In fact, it is virtually guaranteed if the crime involves children. If you are convicted of a child related crime, you should probably request protective custody from the outset – this will keep you out of the main body of the prison and will probably save your life.

3. Do not get involved in gambling

This is a sure way to end up dead. This is a no win situation; you either cannot afford to pay your gambling bills, or you win and make the wrong people very angry. Avoid gambling like the plague in prison. Prisoners will do anything to get what you owe them. Having said that, it is wise to learn a few card games before you enter so you can pass the time playing friendly games.

4. Do not collaborate with the guards against other prisoners

You should never tell on your fellow prisoners – if it is found out you can enter a whole new world of pain. Having said that, don’t be disrespectful to the guards – they can help to make your time go easier.

5. Do not become indebted to anyone

When you first arrive, other prisoners will offer to lend you things until you get on your feet – cigarettes for example. They will offer you a pack in exchange for two later. Absolutely do not accept this offer, it is a very common trick to get you indebted to someone. If you smoke – quit. You should wait until you have earnt your own money before buying things. Basically, the rule is: NEVER take anything from anyone in prison. This is going to get you killed or seriously hurt.

6. Don’t stare at another prisoner

Always walk with your head facing forwards. All it can take is a stare that lasts one second too long for you to become the target of violence. A guy might appear to be friendly or placid one minute, but the next he can be your worst enemy.

7. Do not use drugs

Drug use is a guaranteed road to trouble. You will become severely indebted if you become addicted and you run the risk of being caught by the guards. Drugs are readily accessible and while they may make your time seem less painful, they will almost certainly lead you into big trouble.

8. Work out

Working out not only helps to pass the time, it also helps to to bulk you up – making you less of a target. You should not appear weak – this means walking with your head up – do not look at your feet while you walk. Avoid the temptation to get a tattoo – they often lead to diseases like hepatitis. You will also regret it once you are out.

9. Keep your mouth shut

Do not tell other prisoners about your private life. Do not discuss your crimes and do not discuss politics or religion. Any type of discussion that can lead to an argument is a big no no. Don’t put your business out onto the street. At the same time, respect other prisoner’s privacy and don’t pry into their private lives.

10. Be respectful and polite

Always be polite and respectful to other prisoners. Respect is the only thing a prisoner has and taking that away can be disastrous. Remember, if you give others your respect, they will most likely return the favour. You do not want to make enemies in prison.

Finally, remember, being in prison is like being at war – so it is better not to commit a crime in the first place.

Frater, Jaimie “Top 10 Prison Survival Tips”. Listverse.com August 15, 2007.  http://listverse.com/2007/08/15/top-10-prison-survival-tips/


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