How to Survive in Prison: A Comprehensive Course on Surviving in Federal Prison

Jail Time Consulting offers a seven part interactive course designed for the criminal defendant and his or her whole family.  The name of the course is How to Survive Federal Prison©.

This course prepares everyone for the realities of life in federal prison. Most important, it prepares you on how to survive!

The course is divided into seven (7) components which can be followed by interactive one-on-one telephone discussions with a Federal Prison Consultant. Each defendant, upon completion of the Course, will be fully prepared for his journey to and survival in federal prison.

The course also provides the family left behind with valuable information on visiting, e-mail, telephone communications, and written communication as well as valuable information on all aspects of prison life.

This interactive course on How to Survive in Prison covers the following components:

  1. Component 1: Important Things First
  2. Component 2: Journey to Prison
  3. Component 3: Arrival at Prison
  4. Component 4: Prison Life
  5. Component 5: Preparing to Leave
  6. Component 6: Post Prison Life
  7. Component 7: Ancillary Materials

The following is a brief summary of each of the components. 

survive prison

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Important Things First

In this first component you will learn about some of the basics of prison life. 

You will learn about visiting regulations and how to get visits immediately without delay.  This is one thing that will prove to be very valuable during your incarceration. 

You will also learn about telephone, mail and email options. For telephone regulations you will learn how to make calls immediately without delay.  Getting mail is also a valuable asset, and you will learn how to be set up for mail privileges when you arrive.  Email is an inexpensive alternative method of communication and the course will take you through how this method can work to your benefit.

What do you pack for prison?  We will teach you on what you can bring and what you cannot bring to prison, and how much money you should bring with you.

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how to survive prison

Journey to Prison

Your journey to prison will not be a pleasant experience. This process is called “diesel therapy” by the inmates.  That should give you a clue.

There are three basic modes of transportation with the United States Marshalls: airplane, bus and van.  The version by airplane is called Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation Service (JPATS) otherwise known as Con Air.

The United States Marshals Inmate Transportation Service is not fast, it is not comfortable and it is far from efficient.  Travel to your ultimate destination could take a week to ten days even if the trip is only 200 to 300 miles. You may have seven to ten overnight stays and bookings, with every stop being strip searched, finger printed, photographed and given new clothing, only to be repeated.  All of this is done while you are wearing leg shackles, handcuffs and a belly chain.

During your travel you are never notified when you are leaving, where you are going, when you will get there, or where any of your stops will be.  You will also not have any communication with the outside world. In addition, you meals will be very simple and Spartan.  There is nothing comfortable about your travel.

We will help educate and prepare you for this step in the process.

Arrival at Prison

There are two ways of arriving at your designated Federal Correctional Facility.  You can self-surrender, which means you get to your facility on your own.  If you have a family member bring you, this can be an emotional experience for you as well as them seeing you enter prison. The advantage is that you are not remanded to the custody of the US Marshals Service where you are subjected to the dehumanizing process described above.

There are a number of things that you will go through when you first enter prison.  You will first be met by either a Correctional Officer or a member of the Receiving and Discharge Department (R&D).  The R&D Department is the first place you will see when entering prison and the last place you see when you leave prison.

You will initially be placed in a holding cell.  When you are called out of the holding cell you will undergo the initial booking process which includes a strip search. After this you will be fingerprinted and photographed, issued temporary clothing.  You cannot keep any clothing you bring with you as this will be inventoried and sent to your home. You will set up your trust account, and fill out paperwork and go through some initial assessments.

There are many other things you will be required to do and learn in your first weeks in prison.  We will help you understand everything to give you the best start to your stay in prison.  It will be difficult and degrading and dehumanizing at times, but you will get through it.

Prison Life

There are many aspects of prison life that you should be prepared for.  Some of these include:

  • Black market shopping
  • Commissary shopping
  • Inmate cooking, and dining hall and meals
  • Understanding discipline and the BOPs Prohibited Acts
  • Entertainment
  • Recreation and fitness
  • Medical care
  • Religious services
  • Inmate work assignments and transfers
  • Inmate perks and upgrades
  • Inmate rights and responsibilities.

There is a lot of information to cover in each of these areas to prepare you for prison life, and this information will be very valuable to you to understand before you enter prison.  We will walk you through everything you need to know to help you make the best of your incarceration.  We know there is a certain amount of fear and apprehension prior to your prison term, and we will help prepare you and help you avoid the numerous pitfalls and problems associated with prison life.

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how to survive prison

Preparing to Leave

Prior to leaving prison, inmates participate in both the Unit and Institutional Release Preparation Program to enhance their successful re-integration into the community.  The institutional process begins 30 months prior to release, and the unit program starts 11 to 13 months prior to release.  The goal of these programs is to reduce inmate recidivism and help the inmates have a successful post-prison life.

If any inmate refuses to complete the Release Preparation Program they will not be allowed to participate in community base programs such as halfway house time.

These programs look at the inmate’s release needs and the development of a comprehensive plan to meet those needs. 

There are six basic categories of the Institution Release Preparation Program including: health and nutrition; employment; personal finance and consumer skills; information and community resources; release requirement and procedures; and persona; growth and development.

The Unit Release Preparation Program usually begins in earnest between 11 and 13 months from the inmate’s final release.  The Unit staff evaluates each inmate’s circumstances and develops final release plans based on the inmate’s needs.  Some of the topics of this program may include:

  • Community Corrections Center process and policies
  • Disposition of personal property
  • Disposition of your inmate funds
  • Your release plans
  • Your release processing
  • Release notification
  • Release registration.

Post Prison Life

Post prison life will include Community Corrections Centers, now called Residential Reentry Centers. The staff at these centers develops and administers contracts for community based correctional programs and contracts with privately- operation facilities for the detention of secure confinement of some Federal inmates.  The BOP contracts with these centers to provide assistance to inmates nearing release.

These centers, also called halfway houses, provide a safe, structured, supervised environment and offer employment counseling, job placement services, financial management assistance and other services.  These services help inmate rebuild their ties to the community.

Offenders at the CCCs are expected to be employed 40 hours per week within 15 calendar days after their arrival.  The staff is available to assist inmates in obtaining employment through a network of local employers, job fairs and training classes in writing resumes and interview techniques.

During their stay inmates are required to pay a subsistence fee to help offset the cost of their confinement.  This fee is 25% of their gross income, to a maximum of $68 per day (the inmate would have to make $8,160 per month to hit this maximum).  Inmates are also responsible for their own medical expenses while residing in a CCC.

Some inmates who meet the requirements may be place on home confinement for a brief period at the end of their prison term.  The home confinement program has three levels of restrictions:

  • Curfew, where the participant is to remain at home every day at certain times
  • Home detention, where the participant remains at home at all times except for pre-approved and scheduled absences such as for work, school, court appearances, etc.
  • Home incarceration, where the inmate is required to be at home for a 24-hour-a-day lock-down except for medical appointments, court appearances etc.

Most importantly, we can help you increase your chances of receiving the maximum amount of halfway house time or home detention through the Second Chance Act.  This act affords the prisoner a reasonable opportunity to adjust and prepare for the reentry of the prisoner to the community.

At Jail Time Consulting we will help you, through research, documentation, and communication with you and the courts and other entities the documentation to support your eligibility and application for halfway house time or home confinement.

Ancillary Materials

The last component of this seven part course includes a glossary of prison terms and language, information on the Second Chance Act, Questions and Answers, information on our Compassionate Release Program and how we determine if this is appropriate for an inmate, information on our Commutation of Sentence Program, and other miscellaneous issues.


As you can see, this seven part course covers a lot of information that will be very helpful to the criminal defendant facing a federal prison incarceration.  It will help you Survive in Prison.

This course costs $495 but is free as a service to all Jail Time Consulting clients.  For more information on this course, please call us today at 800-382-0868. Don’t delay.  This will be the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones.

Don't wait - call us today: 231-668-9231