My younger brother is being hit with 2 felonies due to motor vehicle accident. This will be his first time in jail and really in the system in any way, he grew up in the burbs and isn’t about that life (street fighting, having a rough go). My older brother and I grew up in East Los Angeles and knew early on that we wanted out and did our best to not engage and keep out of gang life, we succeeded for the most part. Anyway, I’m worried for my younger brother, he’s genuinely a good kid, just young and irresponsible and is facing the consequences of his actions, as he knows and owns up to them. I want to get him as prepped as possible for what he might be facing. Debating boxing lessors or even Krav Maga.. please tell me your thoughts, recommendations, opinions. How can I prepare myself, my mother and my younger brother for the possible things he may face. His sentence is under 2 years.
The Golden Rules of Prison
Rule 0: unless already affiliated DO NOT BECOME AFFILIATED. Prison gangs are a one track ticket to all your time and then some
Rule 1: Mind your business. You see someone pull something from under the fence? No you didn’t. You see some people smoking in the bathroom? Naw. Someone in your pod is getting into an argument with someone else, stay out of it. Some people are having a conversation about something you know about and one of them is talking out of their ass. Not your problem. Unless it’s your bunkie or a “friend” it DOES. NOT. CONCERN. YOU.
Rule 2: don’t get into debt. If in debt pay your debts as soon as possible. Even if it’s only a little bit or if you have to go without commissary for a week or two pay your debts. Even if you can only pay a partial amount, people will respect you more for handling business as you can.
Rule 3: Don’t do drugs. Idk how it is where he’s at, but where I was at prison drugs are dogshit and highly addictive. Most meth, saboxin, and toonchi. If you can fight the temptation avoid it at all costs. Quickest way to fall into debt.
Rule 4: sallow your pride. 9/10 times it simply is not worth it. A lot of times dudes will try to goad you into fights because that’s how they do their time. Unless you’re down for the long haul you don’t need to really bother with a serious reputation. Fly under the radar and, unless absolutely necessary, avoid fights as much as possible. GO HOME.
Rule 5: stand up for yourself. If someone tries to steal from you, or rob you, then fight. Legitimately unless they are coming 4 or more deep and all have knives, fight. The moment you show you’re a push over, it’s over.
Rule 6: stay in contact as much as possible with people outside. If your people have abandoned you, I’m sorry to hear that. In that case be extra careful of the relationships you foster. Some people in prison are legitimately good people to have around. Kind souls and intelligent minds make time fly.
Rule 7: occupy your time. Do not fall into boredom. I was fortunate that I have some weird ability that allows me to sleep 20 hours a day if I want, but that’s not an option for everyone. Exercise, read, write, draw, make things out of paper, play cards, but try not to get bored. Boredom will destroy morale faster than anything else in prison.
Rule 8: take advantage of any opportunities presented to you. You are living for free (at least money wise) and once you get out finding work will be hard. Take trade classes, GED, College courses ect. Use the library to read up on the world as much as you can.
Additional tips: if you have time save up as much money as you can before going in and give control of it to someone you trust. If you don’t have someone you can maybe work out a payment plan with a bank or lawyer. But try to make sure you have a regular and constant stream of cash. Even if it’s only 20 dollars every store day, 20 bucks guaranteed is better than 40…maybe, possibly, idk I gotta see how this check turns out.
Talk to as many felons in your state as you can before going in. Before my bit I had the opportunity to speak to several and it really calmed down my anxiety about everything.
Learn a few side hustles before hand. Sewing, soldering, tattooing or drawing, cooking, craft making ect. are all good ways to both occupy your time and keep your box full of commissary.
DO NOT(and I really cannot stress this enough) GET ON DRUGS INSIDE! One of the best pieces of advice I heard from a guy inside was that “if you get addicted and you don’t sort it out before you leave, you have just started a timer on when you’ll be back.
Take some basic self defense courses before hand. I’d recommend kick boxing and ju jitsu. Also learn de-escalation techniques. A fight not taken, is a fight won ESPECIALLY in prison. If you beat the shit out of someone and they come in and stab you up or jump you in your sleep, you lost
Make a list of things to do when you get out sorted into little things, big things, and long term things. It gives you goals to strive for both inside and out. Examples: Little things, cook more often. Big things, learn to weld. Long term things, have enough saved in ten years to buy a house.
Most importantly, this is all temporary. You will be released, you will make yourself, and you WILL. NOT. GO. BACK. Never forget that. Always remember the things you want on the outside big and small.
Best of luck.