Welcome to our Federal Prison Camp Crash Course! Notice I did not call this course, “how to survive federal prison.”

The vast majority of prisoners will survive federal prison. It does not take much to survive prison. Our country releases hundreds of thousands of prisoners each year. They all survived.

The question is: are they ready to thrive after serving time in a federal prison camp.

Will you be ready? Or will you stumble through prison until your inevitable release?

If you follow our five lesson plans, and implement what we teach, you will be on your way to success as you prepare for federal prison and your life after prison.

Before we jump into the first lesson, let me state the obvious: this class will not cover boilerplate information you can get from a google search. If you want a concrete strategy for long-term success, this is for you. If you are simply wondering how to shop in the commissary, you don’t need our team.

Our first lesson is about making a proactive adjustment plan. What does that mean?

The sooner you shift your mental outlook, the better. Prison is not a coffin. Successful prisoners will think of prison like the locker room at halftime. It may feel like “game over” when you surrender to prison, but that’s not true. You have the rest of your life to prepare for and there is no time to waste.

Proactive adjustment means not wallowing in negativity while begging for the time to pass. Adjustment or adaptation means a making a decisive mental pivot to productivity, health, peace, and purpose.

Without a plan, serving time in federal prison can feel like watching paint dry. I will never forget one prisoner telling me he would do anything to fast forward five years to get prison and probation behind him. He needlessly suffered through every single second. Prisoners like him punish themselves by making a bad situation worse.

This type of prisoner sits around accomplishing nothing. They wait for mail distribution and go crazy when the New York Times or USA Today is late. They watch a lot of television and tell you to drop dead if you offer any positive advice or suggestions on how to form a daily routine.

Worse, they loathe and envy you for getting into a productive groove.

What about weekends you might be wondering…The worst!

Weekends in prison lack the structure of the Monday to Friday schedule. I rarely had visitors on Saturdays, so those weekend afternoons were the most painful time for me. I forced myself to focus on a productive task, but it took real determination. For those of you about to endure federal prison, you can expect some difficult moments. These moments will test your will to succeed.

Whether it is a Saturday afternoon or Monday morning, a proactive prison adjustment will give you the resilience you need to create your own productive program.

How? Easy. It begins with acceptance.

You must accept that there are some things you cannot change. Aspects of your day will lie beyond your control. You cannot control other prisoners with whom you’ll share the bathroom, mealtime, and other small living spaces. You may not control your job assignment or the overall structure of the day.

Planning productive personal tasks, however, preserves your sense of self-determination. Finding aspects of your daily routine you can manage represents the first and most essential step of a proactive prison adaptation.


Look, it makes no difference what you choose to do in prison as long as the choice bears a relationship to your long-term life goals. Our team works with a former lawyer in prison who devotes his free time to preparing for a new career as a marketing expert and search engine marketer for law firms. He is also honing his writing skills, which includes accepting work for a new company our team is growing called, Compliance Mitigation.

In the future, our client wants to do more than earn minimum wage or rely on others to support him. He wants to become valuable and independent. So, he spends hours each day studying and writing his to network. The prison structure and negative environment does not matter to him. Nope… instead he proactively sets his own schedule and each day his skills improve. Productive, positive activity makes the time go faster. He sees daily personal progress, which improves his mood and sense of wellbeing.

Federal prison feels miserable when we feel as if we have no control over our life. To succeed, you cannot let the prison system break your spirit or define your future.

So, as I wrap up this first lesson in our Federal Prison Camp Crash Course Series, let me ask “What is your proactive strategy?” 

Justin Paperny

P.S. If you would like to schedule a call with our team to learn more about mastering prison, click here.