29 September, 2018

Guidelines for Adjustment to Incarceration

From the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center Offender Orientation Packet (featuring snarky commentary by me):
Avoid Getting in Debt. Avoid gambling, borrowing, and lending. Be aware of inmate protection groups that promise to provide you safety in exchange for money, cigarettes or canteen items.
[“Be aware” isn’t helpful. Beware is more direct and has another, more pointed meaning. You should be aware of things like 30% discounts on Little Debbie Zebra Cakes nearing their sell-by date; you should beware a bunch of guys you don’t know, offering to take those Zebra Cakes — and more — off your hands.]
Substance Abuse. Drugs and alcohol; Prescribed medication should be taken according to the authorized Doctor’s orders only. Drugs and alcohol are not permitted. Possession/use of controlled substances is against Missouri Statutes and may result in prosecution.
[Beware unauthorized “Doctors.” This place is crawling with faux physicians. Many will promise you a scrip for OxyContin in exchange for a physical examination. Be aware that this medication is not generally considered an effective treatment for prostate issues.]
Unauthorized Organizations. These organizations will want you to become a member. It is your responsibility to choose your friends wisely as these individuals might not have your best interest in mind.
[In seventeen years I’ve never been approached by anyone representing a gang. I feel a little rejected, frankly. What’s wrong with me that I’m undesirable to these groups? I can get thug nasty! I can wear my trouser waistband below my butt! I can gesticulate with my hands in ways that imply I have some variety of palsy!]
Verbal and Physical Harassment. Harassment and /or strong-arming may occur. In the event of such harassment should occur and you think you need assistance in handling this problem, contact a staff member for help.
[You might be harassed because other prisoners think you’re weak. Take your problem to prison staff and you’ll be harassed because those other prisoners know you’re weak.]
To Avoid Sexual Assault. Choose your company carefully. Avoid being alone. Avoid any -qpe of indebtedness. Do not borrow anything.
[“Choose your company carefully” — that’s good, solid advice. While imprisoned, the last thing you want to do is put yourself at unnecessary risk. Do not, for instance, engage with any convicted criminals.]
Mind Your Own Business. Don’t discuss your personal business such as money, sentence/offense family, career, or criminal history.
[The perennial getting-to-know-you question is “What’re you in for?” Don’t answer this! Make that busybody guess and then go bruiting around the yard that your secrecy must mean you’re a sex offender. An alternative to discussion might be to start a fun game of Charades.]
Keep Your Possessions to a Minimum. The more you have, the more you become a target.
[This is why billionaires traditionally own only one set of clothes and take the bus to all their big, important business meetings — so they won’t be targeted for…whatever they might be targeted for.]
Avoid Idle Time. Get involved in self-improvement activities such as education, vocational training, recreation, jobs, and religion.
[Actually, it’s my opinion that the vast majority of prisoners could use a lot more idle time — specifically, the kind that encourages introspective thought and self-analysis. A mandatory hour-long period of silent contemplation, after some variety of daily group therapy session, would go a long way toward improving the average prisoner’s behavior, thought processes, and emotional stability — at least the ones who didn’t just use their hour to masturbate.]

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