Step one foot across the threshold of the prison door and you’ve entered the biggest change in your life.  It can be good, or it can be bad.

Know that on your first day ‘on the inside’, as it is called, the day you get to leave will come.  Prepare every day to leave.

You’re not alone in prison, although you won’t have any friends.  You’ll find it’s best not to tell anyone much about yourself, including the length of your sentence and why you’re there.  If you do tell others that you’re there because ‘your boyfriend messed up’ or ‘it was my husband, not me’, you’re not doing yourself any favors.  People on the inside have heard everything and have nothing to do, so you’re fresh meat for conversation. If you don’t accept responsibility for being there, they’re not going to make it easy for you.  Getting to the last day as easy as possible is the best focus for you.

In prison, there’s a lot of personalities, some are cunning and conniving and others are the opposite:  caring. Getting to know who is who is critical for your peace of mind while you’re there. All rules of etiquette, politeness, etc don’t exist here.  It’s simply knowing what NOT to say to WHO. Jealousy runs rampant, especially for the long-timers. If you have a short sentence, they’ll enjoy harassing you.

At the end of every day, mark the day off on a calendar.  If you don’t have one, make one. Or, you can ask someone ‘on the outside’ to send you one.  Common things are scarce in prison. You’ll learn to be very innovative.

As you mark off each day on the calendar, silently celebrate.  Close your fist and pump it or scream inside your head ‘DONE!’.  If you’re a writer, write in big, bold, capital letters a congratulations note to yourself.  You’re getting closer to your day of Freedom. At the end of each month, you’ll hear shouts of determination and ecstasy that the month is over.  Calendars get a lot of attention in prison.

Preparing to leave means DREAMING every day.  DREAM. DREAM. DREAM. Imagine the best life possible for yourself when you get out.  Be quiet-listen to others. Don’t share your plans with anyone. Become the most incredibly private person.  You could pretend you’re a movie star on a select mission if you have to, but don’t make any friends. They don’t exist in prison.