Federal Prison Camp Gone Bad – Part 1 of 5 Lessons

I wrote five classes to help people prepare for life in federal prison camp. These lessons about federal prison camp don’t only come from my own experience. Rather they come from what I learned from talking to and studying long-term prisoners. Moreover, as a federal prison consultant working with people before, during and after prison I have intimate knowledge of what constitutes a positive and negative, aka, federal prison gone bad, adjustment.

The first mistake many prisoners make (and as I described in Lessons From Prison)  is to lead a directionless prison adjustment. In other words, their adjustment is anything but proactive.

Federal Prison Camp Gone Bad

Federal Prison Camp Gone Bad

What does a proactive adjust mean? Yes, I was hoping you would ask!

A proactive federal prison camp adjustment means the prisoner is not waiting around for time to pass or begging for this experience to end. I will never forget one prisoner telling me he would do “anything” to fast forward his life “five years” to get prison and probation behind him.

Prisoners like him serve time by the second suffer endlessly.  Without a plan, serving time in a federal prison camp can literally feel like watching paint dry. This type of prisoner and his ilk sit around. They wait for mail distribution and go crazy when the New York Times or USA Today isn’t delivered on time. They watch a lot of television and basically tell you to drop dead if you offer any prison advice or suggestions on how to form a daily routine or adjust well in prison. Worse, they loathe and envy you for preparing.

What about weekends you might be wondering…The worst!

The weekends in a federal prison camp lacks the structure that comes with the Monday to Friday. I rarely visited on Saturdays, and those Saturday afternoons were the hardest part about prison. I forced myself to work, but it was the hardest part. For those of you about to endure federal prison you will understand it when you get there.

Whether it is a Saturday afternoon or Monday morning, with a positive prison adjustment you must create your own opportunities.

How? Easy, it begins with acceptance.

You must accept that aspects of your day will lie beyond your control.  You cannot control the other prisoners with whom you’ll share the bathroom, eating and other small living spaces.  You may not control your job assignment or the overall structure of the day.

Finding areas you can control, however, empowers your own adjustment.  Finding an area you can control represents the first and most essential step of a proactive prison adjustment.

Look, it makes no difference what you choose as long as the choice bears a relationship to your overall life purpose.  I have a client who chooses to devote every moment to preparing for a career as a marketing expert and search engine marketer for law firms (yes, he was a lawyer, and one of the best writers I know.)

He wants to do more than earn minimum wage or rely on others to support him. He wants to become invaluable so he spends hours each day studying and writing his network. The prison structure or the negativity does not matter to him. Nope… instead he proactively sets his own schedule and each day his skills improve. Dare I say he is enjoying prison.

Other prisoners like Kevin Boardman, a client and blogger, has devoted his time to teaching, fitness and family. The adjustment pattern does not matter so much as the strategy.

Federal Prison Camp goes bad when we feel as if we have no control over our life. To succeed, you cannot let the prison system define your structure or for that matter, your life.

So as I wrap up this first lesson of five, I ask “What is your strategy?”

Justin Paperny

P.S. More questions about life on the inside of a federal prison camp? Schedule a call here to talk about it.