Serving time in a federal prison can be frightening and intimidating, especially if it is your first time being convicted. The best way to prepare for incarceration is to learn about prison life before you begin your sentence. Do the right research, know what to expect, and keep these four helpful tips in mind for how to survive prison.

Don’t Break the Rules

The best way to avoid getting into trouble during your stay in prison is to learn the rules quickly and do everything you can to follow them. Good behavior will be noticed, and an inmate who respects the rules will put you in a good position, especially when it comes to parole eligibility and other privileges you may gain during your stay.

Be Respectful

It may seem like common sense, but being polite goes a long way when dealing with fellow inmates and guards. Reputations are established fast in a prison and if you are rude, disrespectful, or display delinquent behavior such as stealing and lying, you can get into trouble very quickly and you may even be putting yourself at risk for physical harm. If you’re ever provoked, control how you react and try to maintain maturity at all times. This will help you in the long run as you complete your sentence.

Keep Your Distance

While it’s important to be respectful and polite to your fellow inmates, be sure to maintain a good balance and try to keep your distance for your own protection. Simply put, this involves keeping your head down and don’t get involved in things that may get you in trouble, such as provoking a fight or “snitching” on an inmate to a guard. Also, it’s very important that you don’t get involved in a dangerous gang. Becoming a gang member will only add to your problems and can lead to violence, drugs, and other situations that could lead to more prison time or put you in physical danger.

Use Your Time Wisely

One of the best ways to survive in prison is to spend your time expanding your mind and qualifications. Take advantage of the prison library by checking out as many books as you can. It’s also highly recommended that you get involved in programs that can help you complete your education, such as a GED or a higher degree. Not only will this help time go by faster, it will also better prepare you for life outside of prison.

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