A Guide to Unexpectedly Ending Up in Jail

A bird could take a shit on your head. An 18-wheeler could flip over on a highway the contents of the cargo could splatter all over the place…and it could be crates and crates of bubble gum. An ATM machine could be hacked and spit endless $20 bills out at you. You could fall in love tomorrow. Amazon might fuck up your order. Random shit is part of reality and with this rests the possibility you could wind up in jail.

People from all walks of life can end up in jail. Police can place you under arrest even if you have not actually committed a crime. But you are their suspect. And bail could be set at an amount you are unable to post. In jail (not prison) is where you will remain, as an inmate, in pre-trial holding until, at minimum, a bail hearing. And let’s say at this bail hearing the prosecution has identified the true culprit of the crime you are being charged with – the prosecution will drop the case against you and you are exonerated in the eyes of the law.

The fact remains: one can be held in jail. Whether they have been caught stealing q-tips at a grocery store or if they have launched a plan to level the Federal Reserve to the ground.

This happened to me. I had no prior interactions with law enforcement and the Justice system outside the extent of “fighting traffic tickets”. Never had been arrested, charged with a crime, etc.

In the state I reside, if a driver is issued a traffic violation (speeding, running red light, etc), the police routinely will issue a ticket. The driver has rights to appeal the ticket. Take a pen, check the box for an appeal, sign the ticket, affix a stamp and mail it away. Within ten business days, the driver is notified of a date for their appeal. At the appeal, the driver has a magistrate hearing. It’s commonplace the magistrate will find the driver responsible…like 90% of the time (personally)…this is expected. The best part is that the driver can appeal further, this time for a hearing in front of the judge. This date is set and the police officer that originally issued the ticket is required to appear in court. Otherwise, by default, the driver is relieved of the violation. No permanent blemish on driver’s record, no increase in insurance costs.

I got my driver’s license in 1995. Through the end of 2018, I’d calculate I’ve driven nearly one MILLION miles. I have a proclivity to experiment with the capabilities of the machine I am using…I long for the day I can wear military-grade night vision goggles, take a Porsche 911 Turbo, matte black finish, remove all unnecessary lighting/safety and run a stealth mission across the US at 220mph.

Very important here + obviously I didn’t know any of this – and in school I recall hearing the phrase “ignorance is no excuse for the law” – and my my, this is too true.

Generalization: Inmates Want Their Time to be as Stress Free as Possible.

Primary Advice:

  • Make Canteen. Be it your own finances, a family member, a friend, a spouse….get money in your commissary.
  • Snacks are great. Jail is very humbling. The things I took for granted in the free world become a championship winning experience in jail. A trip to a convenience store was something I never appreciated. Until jail. Canteen allows one to order flavored drink mixes, jolly ranchers, Ruffles , “meat sticks” aka sausage, cheese packets, cookies, honey buns, Taffy…and ramen noodles. A packet of Ramen is like the Petro-dollar in jail. It’s universally accepted currency worth $1 USD. Stock up.
  • The next part of Canteen is toiletries and cosmetics. Not glamouros to buy but your cellmates and comrades will appreciate your efforts to keep clean. Razor blades, shaving cream, DEODORANT (A MUST – COUNTY DEODORANT MAKES ONE SMELL LIKE SHIT), shampoo, conditioner, body wash, foot powder, good tooth paste, good tooth brush.
  • CLOTHING – some county jails will issue you two sets of jump suits, Bobos (sneakers, like Keds), two pairs of underwear, two pairs of socks, four white t-shirts, a pair of shorts and two towels. Other counties will issue you jump suits and Bobos and underwear and socks only. With this said , via Canteen one can buy new white t-shirts typically for about $4 each. Underwear, additional pairs, like $2. Socks $1. It’s highly recommended to get a small assortment of a “wardrobe” – sweatpants are like $10 and sweatshirts are $8-12. Finally, there are special penitentiary issued Reebok crispy white sneakers for about $60. It’s funny- people wear these as a status symbol – like “yo nigga, I got money”. If you can afford it, I recommend these sneakers. Bobos suck.
  • FLIP FLOPS FOR THE SHOWER. DON’T EVEN FUCKING THINK OF ENTERING THE SHOWER ROOM WITHOUT THEM. BUT THE KEY IS BRING THEM BUY HAND, WHILST WEARING A DIFFERENT PAIR OF FOOTWEAR, AND TAKE OFF THE BOBOS/REEBOKS AND PUT ON THE FLIP FLOPS WHEN YOU ENTER THE ACTUAL SHOWER. GOD HELP YOU IF YOU WALK AROUND IN SHOWER FLIP-FLOPS. THE POOL IS CLOSED NIGGA YOU DIG?
  1. Hygiene is EVERYTHING

This should go without saying, but it’s surprising how many people spend a month on a bender without brushing their teeth and suddenly they will freak out if YOU haven’t shaved in a few days. It’s all about respect. Everyone there is trying to do their time as easily and stress free as possible. This is recommended hygiene techniques:

  • Make a habit of showering first thing in the morning when you wake up. WASH YOUR FEET. WASH YOUR ASS CRACK.
  • Shave regularly. You can grow a beard, but it’s gotta be trimmed and crisp. No lettuce patches allowed.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal. Trust me – please.
  • Shower before bed – always.
  • If you play basketball or handball or do calisthenics – shower up ok?
  • Laundry is usually done daily – wash your shit.

2. Respect the Space Around You

  • Keep your shit organized. Keep your Canteen snacks in your tote bag and utilize the space next to your bunk, or under.
  • When drying a towel, drape it over your desk stool. if you don’t have your own stool, drape it over the frame of your bed. But towels are easy to obtain so there is no reason to not just use the laundry.
  • Be a good cellie. Be proactive in sweeping the floors in your cell. Getting rolls of toilet paper stacked up. Mopping. Using Lysol wipes to wipe shit down.
  • MAKE YOUR BED. It’s commonplace that inmates get items not really allowable in county jail. Anything from bubble gum to apples from chow to cigarettes to [use your imagination]. When someone’s bed is not made – this is a prompt for the corrections officers to completely flip the room. And God save your soul if your cellies have contraband found, removed and them sent to the hole (solitary confinement) because you were too lazy to fluff your pillow. Be prim.
  • Say please and thank you. To inmates, corrections officers, administration, case managers. Show some AGENCY.

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