AN EXCLUSIVE REPORT!
Character Education For Con Men
“He could go from being a high-powered (fill in the blank) to a shoe-shine boy for Colombian drug traffickers.”
It happened to Paris Hilton...and it could happen to you!
No, not a sex tape...incarceration.
Although every prison has a secret black market economy, where inmates illegally exchange goods and services, it's best that those facing the prospect of federal prison know its rules.
If you're facing incarceration, don’t make yourself crazy remembering all the prison movies you’ve ever seen.
Being put in the slammer is a lot like starting at a new high school: it’s not that tough, as long as you pay attention right from jump and think about what kind of impression you’re making.
The following are guidelines for getting along in jail:
Watch and listen for quite a while, to get a sense of the other people you’ll be living with. Really take your time about this, because you’re likely to be dealing with different types of people than you’re used to, and it’s important to be accurate in your assessments.
Some will be very decent human beings who can give you useful information and advice. On the other hand, the first ones who come up and want to make friends with you may be predators, losers, or snitches.
Don’t be in a big hurry to join a group, because you’ll be taking on their baggage. Just take it easy and be pleasant with everyone, without striving to find buddies right away. Take the time to let friendships develop gradually, the way they do naturally at work, school, or the gym.
Respect others, but behave with self-respect, too. Acting scared invites bullying. And if you don’t stand up for yourself, potential allies won’t think it‘s worth the risk to stand by you.
Be very careful not to touch people by accident. If you do bump into anyone, immediately say “Excuse me.” If your apology isn’t accepted, don’t argue, but just walk away (and keep an eye on that person for future problems).
Don’t touch other people’s stuff (books, pencils, etc.) or sit on other people’s beds, without asking.
Rather than just joining a conversation, wait until someone asks your opinion. However bad your situation is, be careful not to sound like you’re whining.
In the eating area, don’t reach across other people’s trays. If you have to cough or sneeze, turn away and cover your mouth.
Before using the telephone or changing channels on the TV, make sure you check with other prisoners to see what system they’ve set up for taking turns—it’s easy to offend others by accident, if you don’t find out the “local rules.”
Don’t borrow money, don’t gamble, don’t do drugs, and don’t accept gifts from strangers. All these things can put you in debt, which could affect your safety.
Don’t snitch. Snitches are not just unpopular—they’re unsafe. Don’t even refer to other prisoners when talking with correctional officers, because people will think you’re snitching or at least being manipulated by the officers.
PRISON SLANG: A GUIDE FOR FRESH FISH
Although "money under the table" may have gotten you locked up, here's a list of prison slang that will have you talking like a tough guy in no time at all:
Bo-bos: prison-issued tennis shoes
Bone yard: trailers used for conjugal visits
Brake fluid: psychiatric meds such as liquid Thorazine
Buck Rogers time: a sentence with parole unimaginably far in the future
Chalk: prison moonshine
Chin check: to punch an inmate in the jaw to see if he'll fight back
Clavo: (Spanish for "nail") dangerous contraband
Diesel therapy: a lengthy bus trip, used as a punishment
Ding wing: mental health ward
Erasers: chunks of processed chicken
Fresh fish: a new prisoner in any prison
Iron pile: weightlifting equipment
Ninja turtles: guards dressed in riot gear
Robocop: guard who writes up every infraction, no matter how small
Six-five: warning that a guard is approaching
Stainless-steel ride: lethal injection
13 1/2: 12 jurors, 1 judge, and 1/2 a chance; seen in prison tattoos
And, if you ever get out, you'll be able to use the words "penal intervention" in polite company without blushing...much.