Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former CEO of Theranos, was found guilty of multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy in March 2021. She has been preparing to surrender to the Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas for more than 11 years.

I presume Elizabeth Holmes is currently feeling overwhelmed, even scared. I was overwhelmed before I surrendered to federal prison—and I was only sentenced to 18 months.

There are several reasons Elizabeth Holmes might be concerned about going to federal prison. Here are just a few:

• Fear of violence: Prisons can be violent places where fights happen, especially to new prisoners who behave foolishly. Celebrity prisoners may fear being targeted by other prisoners or staff.
• Fear of isolation: Prison can be an isolating experience where individuals are cut off from their family and friends. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
• Fear of the unknown: Going to prison can be an overwhelming experience as the prisoner does not know what to expect. They may fear unfamiliar surroundings, routines, and rules.

Overcoming this fear starts with understanding the prison environment and finding the opportunities that exist inside. Elizabeth Holmes must also understand overcoming fear is a process and one that will take time. She must be patient, lay low, and learn to celebrate the small victories along the way.

Whether you’re Elizabeth Holmes or just another white-collar defendant like I was, it’s important to understand the do’s and don’ts of prison life to stay safe and avoid unnecessary conflicts. In this article and video, we’ll take a closer look at some of the key do’s and don’ts of prison, as well as provide tips for adjusting to life behind bars. From avoiding staff to doing your job, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started.

Federal Prison Don’ts:

  • Be an informant.
  • Contraband: Having contraband items such as cell phones or unauthorized electronics.
  • Gamble
  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Talk to the guards or mock guards during the count or make loud noises after the count
  • Engage in the prison hustle
  • Forget all calls are recorded
  • Be careful who you talk to: Prisoners looking for cooperation credit
  • Forget what we teach our kids in Kindergarten: no cutting in line, say thank you, no stealing, no blaming
  • Offer unsolicited advice: “It is not advisable to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener.”
  • Make an assumption about another prisoner
  • Borrow medications
  • Miss Count
  • Change TV
  • Don’t count on winning an appeal
  • Discuss politics
  • Give up hope

Federal Prison Do’s:

    • Prepare to Document the Journey
    • Establish a Primary Point of Contact
    • Understand the Financial Implications
    • Create Deliberate Reading Lists
    • Prepare Personal Belongings
    • Understand Medical Preparations
    • Create Your Quadrant Guide for Decision Making
    • Engineer Your Release Plan

Justin Paperny