HOW TO SURVIVE PRISON
A Guide For Prisoners by Prisoners
How do I connect with my family if I’m in jail?
Can I eat right behind bars?
What happens if I get sick or depressed in prison?
Prison Fellowship® has created a unique guide for prisoners who want to make the most of their time behind bars. The Prison Survival Guide was written with input from many former prisoners, Prison Fellowship writers and editors, and experts in various fields. If you are preparing for a prison sentence, or if you have a loved one behind bars who you want to see thrive, this guide is for you. We look forward with you to that day when the prison gate swings open and the officer shouts, “Don’t come back!”
We realize that some will never leave prison. For those who must remain, we hope this Prison Survival Guide offers wisdom to help them not only endure their situation but thrive in it.
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A LIFE-LONG COMMITMENT
Most people survive a prison sentence. They return to the outside world—some sooner, some later. But once back outside, they must continue to live by another set of values or join the more than 600,000 released prisoners who end up back inside within three years.
REDEFINE PRISON SURVIVAL
With that disheartening statistic in mind, we want to take the definition of prison survival to the next level. Our new definition of prison survival means not just getting through prison with body and soul intact but staying out of prison for the rest of your life.
Real survival for me began on my release date from federal prison over 20 years ago. It meant finding a place to live, a job, and a car to get to that job. It meant learning all over again how to file a tax return, manage a bank account, and follow a strict budget. It meant learning how to be an at-home husband and father again, without trampling on the toes and the feelings of my wife, who had become more self-sufficient during the nine years I was down.
You will be dealing with prison survival for the rest of your life. It’s a little like Alcoholics Anonymous: “Hi, I’m Ron, and I’m a prison survivor!” And no, it’s not easy. But it can be done.
Freedom is definitely preferable to going back to prison. I have a new home, my wife of 30-plus years, children, grandchildren, work that I love, and decent health. And I can go fishing whenever I feel like it. These are truly the best years of my life. Miss them by getting sent back to prison? Not a chance.
WHAT’S COVERED IN THE PRISON SURVIVAL GUIDE
We will talk about nutrition and exercise, not just for your prison time, but for when you get home as well. The latest studies say more than 70% of American adults are overweight. And nothing shortens life expectancy more than the problems that come with carrying extra pounds.
We will also talk about preserving the mind. Educational programs, recreation, and good friendships will not only help you get through prison but carry you into the outside world as well. Strong social connections are important for your health and happiness, and learning is like “youth serum” for the brain.
Finally, we will look at positive and negative ways to become a prison survivor. We will be talking mainly attitude here—the reasons lifelong prison survival should be your goal. And we will consider how God fits into all this.
TOPICS COVERED IN THE PRISON SURVIVAL GUIDE
HOW TO EAT RIGHT AND STAY FIT IN PRISON: Eat, exercise, and endure your time behind bars.
HOW TO ‘GET BUSY LIVING’ BEHIND BARS: Life doesn’t stop when you’re incarcerated. Make the most of your time.
5 TIPS FOR CALLING HOME FROM PRISON: Be intentional about keeping in touch with your loved ones on the outside.
10 TIPS FOR INCARCERATED SPOUSES: Preserving your marriage from prison is possible.
PARENTING FROM PRISON: Your relationship with your child can survive incarceration.
HOW TO SURIVIVE YOUR FIRST WEEKS IN PRISON: Crack the code on prison culture.
CHANGING THE WAY WE THINK: Learn to manage your anger.
I’M IN PRISON AND DEPRESSED. NOW WHAT?: How to get help when depression strikes.
THINKING ABOUT SUICIDE? READ THIS FIRST: Real talk: What to do when life behind bars gets to be too much.
IS YOUR CELLMATE CRYING OUT FOR HELP? BE AWARE OF WARNING SIGNS: How to spot depression in those around you.
THE DANGERS OF HEPATITIS C: Guard your health against prison diseases.
LIVING WITH GOD IN PRISON: How to develop a relationship with God.