Lifestyle: How to get adjusted to prison life (Part One)

It’s not just the sound of the metal that gets you. It’s the changing of clothes that make it real. The moment you hand YOUR clothes over and receive clothes that SOMEONE else wore is when it hits you, “I’m in prison”.

Most times you’re processed during the night, sometimes as late as 1 am. By the time you’re stripped searched, given your new wardrobe and directed to your dorm it’s late. Most inmates are sleep, but this is prison! When those doors open, the entire dorm wakes to see what new or old faces just walked in.

There’s no need to hide your face in shame, prisons are a 24-hour business. The lights are always on and trust me, everyone knows your face by now. You’re told what bed is yours and if you’re assigned a bunk, better hope it’s a bottom. Now you have to prepare yourself, make your bed and the only way to do that is to step carefully on the edges your bunkmate’s bed. The last thing you want to do is piss your bunkmate off on your first night.

Just as you get ready for the worst night of your life, you hear the announcement over the loud-speaker as loud as a crowd that just watched their team hit the winning shot. “Breakfast”, you look over and see that’s it 5:30 am. Damn all you got was maybe a good three hours sleep, but you must eat. You hit the bathroom where you realize there are no stalls, just open toilets. You notice the four shower heads with no privacy and curse yourself for being here.

As you enter the Cafeteria, you see nothing but white, brown or green. Not races, but the colors that separate the class of inmates. As you stand in line you hear your name being called out, before you turn around your first thought is “I hope it’s not someone I had a problem with, out in the world”. He yells your name again, “What the hell, let’s be ready for anything”, as you turn around you see a familiar, friendly face and some of that tension falls off your shoulders. He calls you over, pounds you up, introduces you to his crew as his boy and right there, depending on the type of dude you were in the world, you were just given the nod of approval.

Watch your surroundings.

After orientation, life in prison begins. You are still a newbie but it’s official now. You hit the yard, ask for a few Newports (your cash doesn’t clear for a few days), scope out the scenery, look for any faces you may know, either friendly or not, you must know your surroundings. Your boy from breakfast comes over and begins to give you the rundown of everyone on the yard, who runs what, who does what and who tells what. You nod, soaking it all in, then the loudspeaker comes on again, “Yard time is up”.

You head to your dorm and this is when it gets interesting. The same faces you woke last night are now wide awake. You head to your bunk only to see your locker open and your stuff missing. You look around but no one is looking your way. You’re pissed and ready to explode when you hear your name again. “Damn, somebody else I know is in here”. You turn around and lock eyes with a familiar face, but this one is not friendly.

Welcome to your first day in prison.

To be continued…

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