How to Conduct Yourself in Jail

jail rules

A few general rules of conduct can serve you well in jail.

If you’ve never been to jail but just caught a sentence, you likely feel stressed out and nervous. This makes sense, as jail does not exist to inspire feelings of excitement. If you have nightmares of harassment, hazing, and assault, rest easy: for the vast majority of prisoners, boredom represents the most dangerous thing about jail. Regardless of the length of your stay, a few basic jail rules of conduct will serve you well.

Check Your Attitude

Nothing provides less of a benefit or serves less purpose than a bad attitude while in jail. Regardless of who you impress on the outside, no one will put up with it while you remain incarcerated. Corrections officers will brook no disrespect, and have plenty of ways to make your life miserable. As for other inmates, here’s a general rule of thumb: respect might not buy you any favors, but disrespect will land you in a heap of trouble.

Make Friends, But Avoid Groups

It’s perfectly okay and natural to form friendships while in jail. Avoid any group dynamics, however, as they get you embroiled in drama. The vast majority of violence in prisons and jails happens because of group retaliations. If you avoid the groups, you can generally avoid the violence.

Practice Cleanliness

Throughout your stay, the jail becomes your home. It also provides a home for all the other inmates. If you do not pick up after yourself, or willfully create a mess, then you have disrespected another individual’s home. The same goes for personal hygiene. Practice the basics so you do not make a nuisance of yourself.

Do Not Accept Favors

You never want to become beholden to another inmate, as you never know when (or how) they will call in repayment. If you run into a problem, handle it on your own. Self-sufficiency stands as a valuable trait in any setting, and becomes even more so in jail or prison.

While there are many more “rules” to safe conduct while incarcerated, these four jail rules serve as a valid starting point. At the end of the day, practice common sense and self-awareness. Between these two, you won’t make jail fun; but you can at least make it bearable.

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