RE: Anyone ever done prison time?
Alright OP, a few things. I did 90 days in prison last summer for a DUI. I actually realized I should no be driving and pulled behind this building so no one could see me and went to sleep. About an hour later the cops were knocking on my window. A security guard has seen me pull in and after a while when I did not leave, called the cops. So it sucks I was not even driving but got a DUI. ( My first one was about 2 years earlier, I had a bac of 0.09 f*cking eh) Anyways, first, commissary. Find out how it works in your area. This is what it was like for me. I had like 150 bucks on me when I got locked up, they put all of that directly into my account. Now any money I had brought in, the prison would take half of it and put it towards my "county debt". You get charged per day and other fees depending on your situation. So the smart guys would have like 2 grand on them when they got locked up, then that would last a while and they would not have to give half of it to the county every time they had someone bring money in. You can probably order from commissary 2 times per week. Every list is different, but this is how you get your stamps, snacks, coffee, hot chocolate, extra socks, clothes, headphones, cards, toothpaste/brush, floss, pens, paper, etc. Some state prisons here in PA actually have protein bars and magazines(porn, lol) and shit like that on their lists. Hopefully the place you go has a gym, lifting, basketball, etc. We could only spend like 50 bucks a week, so learn the laws first, because if you have any money left over when you leave, they will take it and pay off your debt first.
A lot of people waste the time they have in there I have no idea why. If you can get work release, do it. They will probably take some of your money, and make you pay your debt, etc, but it is worth it. When I got transferred from prison to the pre release center, I went to work release, and it is awesome being able to leave for 8 or 9 hours a day, especially after not being outside of one building for over 5 weeks. What sucks though, especially if you do not ave a job but are in pre-release, they pay you 30 cents an hour to do a shitty job like at a landfill where the prison gets paid 14 bucks an hour for your labor and you only get 30 cents for it, lol. In that case, I would rather stay at the prison because you can read all day, play scrabble, workout etc. Any ways, what I am trying to say is, do not waste your time. Make it seem like the most shitty vacation ever. Workout, do situps, pull ups, push ups, curl your cot, jumping jacks, basketball if they have it, lifting if they have it, etc. You might as well get into shape and stuff This makes the time go by faster and gets you in better shape. Also, If I were you, I would try to learn another language. A year should be enough time, if you can get your hands on books or have them sent in (we could have books sent in, but they had to be sent directly from barnes and nobles or amazon etc, could not have people bring them in... smuggling and what not) but seriously, learn a second language, build up your resume while you are in there.
I read a lot too. I read a shit ton of books and loved it, but I like reading anyways. A lot of people would watched tv all of the time, not me. I would read. Everything from Hawkings' latest book, to "Atlas Shrugged" (My personal favorite btw) to Dostoyevsky. Once again the point I am trying to make, is do not let this waste a year of your life, instead learn as much as you can, get into shape, etc. Get as much as you can from all of the time you have on your hands, because you will have lots of time.
As far as fighting and gangs go, it depends on where you are and what type of prison you are in. I was in a county prison, but there were some bloods and other gangs. A kid got raped on the block next to mine my 2nd day in there, but that was rare for there. Fights and shit happened all the time. Up-state is different though. Lots of fights and gay sex, but there are many willing to do it, so not too many rapes unless you f*ck with someone. Basically, mind your own business, do not f*ck with anyone, but also do not take shit from people. You may have people test you, especially when you are new. People trying to steal your coffee or snacks or radio, etc. I did not have many problems in there. I am a decent sized guy, and very easy to get a long with, so no one really f*cked with me. As a matter of fact I made a few friends in there (not all of them are evil, wastes of life, but many are) Be careful who you trust and what not. I am sure you will find some nice genuine people who are in their due to uncontrollable circumstances who are not bad people. You will make friends, friends to play spades or scrabble with, friends to workout with, etc. You may even already know people. I was in a smaller prison, only a few hundred people, but it was crazy, it was like they all knew each other from the outside, like went to school with each other and shit. I knew no one, lol. I would try to be a loner at least for a while. Learn the hierarchy in there too, every prison has one. Do not trust the guards either, some are worse than the prisoners. Some will be selling drugs etc with the guys inside and will have their thugs do dirty work, so do not piss them off or f*ck with them. You may have to look the other way quite a bit, but remember mind your own shit.
Always be aware of your surroundings. Know what is going on so you do not get caught in the middle of something accidentally. There are lots of thieves in prison too, so watch your shit, lock it all up at all times. Do not give anyone your key or combo. Be nice and friendly, respectful, etc to everyone, but do not trust them. You have to be careful and alert.
You will get good at making chi-chi, buahaha. It is a mixture of ramen, chili rice, hot chips, slim jims and cheese, etc. you mix them up get some hot water (if you can from like a coffee thing) put it in a commissary bag, and wrap it in a towel for 40 minutes.. it is actually really f*cking good. You will find the recipe you like best, lol. But you will not get much food and no good food, so you will need to order some or you will come out looking like a holocaust victim, especially if you workout some. The meals will suck, if you even classify them as meals. Make sure you can get some protein somehow, nuts, slim jims, sun flower seeds, whatever they have on the list.
Try not to get into trouble!! The hole SUCKS.... Some windowless block where you will be stuck with whoever you fight or whatever for months at a time. No books, no magazines, no commissary, no clocks even. Nothing! Nothing but stale toast to eat, etc.
Depending on where you are going a lot of tings change. Most guys actually prefer being up state to county. Much more freedom, more things to do, more things on commissary, etc. Time goes by a lot faster, not as much bullshit to deal with.
Anyways, I hope this helps some. I could go on for days, but it would help if you knew where you will be. Here in PA, any sentence over a year they usually send up state, but it depends. I could write advice and what it is like for hours. I will probably keep adding as I think of stuff. If you have any questions, ask them. If you would let me know some more info, it would help out too. Like if you will be eligible for work release, which means min security, not upstate, etc. I saw some people explaining how to make hooch, haha, shit is easy. Anyways, good luck man, I wish you the best.