Seven Ways to Excel in Prison

As a companion piece to Brad Brown’s recent guide Seven Ways to Become a Better Bank Robber, I thought I’d provide this short guide.

Even if you never rob a bank, there’s always a chance that some day you might inadvertently commit a crime and find yourself behind bars. It happens more often than you might think.

1. Stay positive! Yes, getting caught embezzling from the company, or having your “personal stash” discovered during a routine traffic violation, or accidentally killing your spouse during a heated argument will seem like the end of the world. But, on the bright side, you won’t have to go back to that stinkin’ office for a while and most of your other normal, every day problems are pretty much over, as well.

2. Surrender to the inevitable.  Give in gracefully. Fretting over the loss of your electronic toys, grooming aids or best outfits is a waste of time and energy. Move on quickly so you can start addressing all the new issues about to come your way.

3. Pretend you’re in a movie. Nothing in your past can prepare you fully for his totally new, unexpected lifestyle. But, everybody at some point in their life has dreamed of being a movie star. Well, here’s your chance to show off your star qualities. Act really creepy for your mug shot, make ugly faces, grimace – that way no one will ever recognize you.  This is also better for your “range cred” than the novice deer-in-the-headlights look most newbies sport on their first mugshots. Also when they handcuff you or explore your body cavities, pretend it’s Detective Goren or Serpico or Clarice Starling or one of Charlie’s Angels doing it. And pretend there’s a camera on you and it’s not real. And pretend you’re going to get paid millions for this gig.

4. Take advantage of everything prison has to offer. You finally have time to go to the gym every day!! Get that second degree you’ve always wanted to get! Learn a trade! Read every book you have on your list of must-reads! Watch all those movies you’ve wanted to see. Meditate! Sign up for re-hab, anger management and every other counseling available even if you don’t think you need it.

5. Eat whatever you want.  No more worrying about diets and watching what you eat. No more cooking, shopping or spending money in restaurants. No more morning conflict between the fat-free latte or the moccacino. Food is free and your options are: eat it or don’t eat it; coffee or no coffee.

6. Make new friends quickly. Try to choose people that look popular or have been in the joint for a long time or are big and menacing. Making friends in prison is a little like making friends in Kindergarten – you have to give them something to encourage friendship. Children will share their candy or offer to push another kid on the swings. In jail you might share your dessert or offer some small service to the person(s) you wish to befriend.

7. Things that make you an asshole on the outside will make you wildly popular inside. Bragging about how drunk you were when you were driving the car you stole to escape from the pigs; calling your former wife/husband your “old lady” or “old man”; smoking; bullying smaller, weaker people; using the f-word several times in each sentence; or shaving your friends while they’re sleeping.

Bon chance!!