As someone who has been to federal prison, I can tell you that there are some harsh truths that you need to be aware of if you find yourself facing time behind bars.

Here are three potential realities you may face:

The highest value in prison can be boredom, not violence. Too many people assume that a federal prison camp is a dangerous place filled with violent people, but the truth is that boredom can be a much greater challenge. Prisoners spend most of their days in confined spaces with little to do. Recognizing opportunities to learn new skills or engage in positive activities can make a huge difference in your experience.

Prison can be a hopeless environment, sucked into a vortex of negativity. It’s easy to fall into despair when you’re stuck in a place that seems designed to strip away your humanity. You must commit to doing your own thing and avoiding those that suck the life out of you. As described in Lessons From Prison, you must learn on what you can and cannot control.

Most prisoners may have had it worse than you. Focusing on your own struggles and hardships in prison is tempting, but keeping perspective is important. Many of your fellow prisoners have experienced extreme trauma and hardship and are still finding ways to cope and move forward. Rather than complaining or feeling sorry for yourself, try to be a positive force for change and support in your community.

The most important thing to remember is that your time in prison will eventually end. The question is, will you be ready for life after prison?

author avatar
Justin Paperny