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5 Things to Know Before Going to Prison

If you’ve been convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve time in prison, chances are you have no clue what to expect. Unless you’ve been to prison before, your only experiences with it may be what you’ve seen in movies or tv shows, and these portrayals are usually pretty inaccurate. Here are 5 things that you should know before going to prison.

You Can Become Better

Just because you are in prison doesn’t mean that this is the end. Use this time to figure out how to stay out of prison once you leave and become a better person. Most prisons offer classes of some kind, whether they are traditional educational classes or hobby classes. You have to behave yourself to attend classes, so stick to the rules and use your time to learn something new. This can help you stay out of trouble and give you a new skill you can use when you get out.

There Are Restrictions on Belongings

This may seem like an obvious thing, but many people don’t think about it. Obviously, you can’t have anything that can be used as a weapon, but other things can be a privilege too. With a very few exceptions, you can’t bring anything in from outside. You also can’t carry cash, but you can put money on an ID card that you can use to purchase things from the commissary. Whatever you buy is yours, but nothing else is.

You Still Have Rights

Prisoners have rights. They are not the same rights that free citizens have, but they do exist and you need to be aware of them before going to prison. For example, you have a right to have personal property, and to have your outgoing mail be sent without being restricted or censored. You do not have a right to privacy, but you do have a right to privacy when talking with your lawyer or your spouse. You also have a right to fair treatment. You can be punished for bad behavior, but you can’t be punished just for being there.

There is No Privacy

This almost goes without saying, but there is no privacy, and it can be pretty loud. You can buy earplugs from the commissary to help you sleep, but you’ll also just need to accept that it will never be quiet. You will most likely have at least one cell mate and you will have either a big window in your door or just bars that everyone can see through.

You are Entitled to Medical Care

Regardless of what you have done, you are still entitled to medical care. This is one of the biggest oversights in the prison system, and it can be a pretty big problem. If you already have a health condition, have a list of your medications ready. Some will be given to you and kept in your locker, while others will be given at the medical dispensary. If you are refused medical treatment, you need to take action. There are legal avenues for you to get the proper treatment that you need.

Going to prison isn’t a picnic. It wouldn’t be used as a method of punishment if it was. But if you know what to expect, you can survive it more easily.


What Life is Like in Prison

Budge & Heipt, PLLC

First Time in Prison

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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