Prison Survival

For those faced with the possibility of a term of imprisonment, life can feel as if it is falling apart; as though the world is crashing down and there is nowhere to turn. In an effort to help relieve some of this fear and anxiety, we have crafted a guide that teaches you how to survive prison. Our objective is to answer all of those questions about what prison life is like. This survival guide to prison should do just that. Allow us to help you on your prison journey. All you have to do is scroll down this page to find links to detailed and trustworthy information about prison life and how to survive prison.

Life in Prison Help

If you are interested in receiving personalized assistance with prison preparation, please take a minute to read our prison consulting services page, as well as our prison preparationin-prison mattersreentry services, and family member assistance pages. You can also read more about our consulting fees. If, after doing so, if you find that you would like to hire the Zoukis Consulting Group, please email [email protected] or call 843-620-1100.

Please note that we also offer a simple, single-issue service where we will answer your questions on a single topic for only $150. For those who only have a limited issue or question, this can be an economical solution to obtaining quick, expert advice.

Our Approach to Prison Life

At the Zoukis Consulting Group, our approach to prison preparation is to build an informational foundation from which good decisions can be made in the prison context. The problem is that it takes time and experience to develop the ability to make good decisions in prison. In order to fast-track this process, it is vital that you read as much quality information as you can about prison life before you enter. That is where this survival guide to prison comes into play.

A great initial example concerns how to greet cellmates for the first time. A novice federal prisoner who has no experience in such matters runs the risk of offending their cellmates, and thereby their cellmates’ friends, by not handling the situation with some tact. But if you spend the time to learn about this before entering prison, you will know what to do, what not to do, and how best to proactively manage problematic areas. By putting in the time now in learning how to survive prison, your prison life will be far less eventful and you’ll be able to sidestep issues before they even present themselves.

Whether you hire us to help get you ready for prison, read the Federal Prison Handbook, or simply read the materials in our prison survival guide, you will be much better prepared for what is to come. Take our word for it: spend the time now to alleviate potential issues down the road. If you treat prison preparation as a job, your life in prison will be much better and easier when you enter the prison gates.

Why Hire the Zoukis Consulting Group

When considering resources to help you learn how to survive prison, it is critical to rely on trustworthy and authoritative sources of information. Christopher Zoukis, our firm’s Managing Director, has been a leader in federal prison information for the better part of a decade. Chris is the author of the Directory of Federal PrisonsFederal Prison HandbookPrison Education Guide, and College for Convicts. He has been quoted in the Washington Post, USA Today,  The Hill, and the Detroit Free Press on federal prison matters.

Chris has helped countless federal prison clients over the past decade with preparing for prison, resolving problems in prison, and successfully reentering society after a term of imprisonment. When it comes to prison life and how to survive prison, there is no better guide than Chris and the Zoukis Consulting Group.

There is no need to remain anxious or afraid, email [email protected] or call 843-620-1100 to speak with a federal prison consultant today about how to survive prison. Whether you are a federal criminal defendant or a current federal prisoner, we can help.

Federal Trial Basics

The Complete Guide to Criminal Trial

This guide provides a streamlined overview of the pre-trial and trial processes from the defendant’s perspective. If you have been charged with a federal crime, this guide will explain the various phases of the pre-trial and trial processes.

Federal Prison Basics

How to Locate an Inmate | Inmate Search

This page explains how to find an inmate using the various government inmate locator tools. You will find links to each prison system’s inmate locator databases here, along with an explanation on how to operate these databases.

Federal Prisons

This is the landing page for our federal prison profiles. Here, you will find links to each federal prison’s comprehensive profile where you can learn about each facility.

Prison Security Levels

This page discusses the various security levels within the Federal Bureau of Prisons. On this page, you can learn about the differences amongst each security level.

Federal Inmate Register Number Codes

Each federal prisoner is assigned an eight-digit inmate registration number. This page discusses the last three numbers which indicate what geographic region the federal inmate’s case originated.

Recommended Attorneys

This page profiles the attorneys we recommend. Each federal criminal defense attorney on this list has a proven track record of success.

What to Do When the Police Come Knocking

This guide explains what to do if the police knock on your door. Many of our clients don’t have any experience with the criminal justice system. This guide will help you understand how to manage these investigatorial interactions.

How to Prepare for Prison

How to Prepare for Prison

This page explains everything you need to know about preparing for prison. It explains our approach and how the Zoukis Consulting Group can help during this stressful and uncertain time.

First Day in Federal Prison

First Day in Federal Prison

This page explains what to expect on your first day in federal prison. Here, we discuss how to greet cellmates for the first time, what to expect as your first day as a federal inmate, and more.

Admissions and Orientation

The admissions and orientation process, also called A&O, is the process new arrivals go through whereby they are introduced prison operations. This process includes various meetings with prison staff and other presentations. Learn more about the A&O process here.

How to Greet Cellmates

This page discusses how to greet cellmates for the first time. We cover the do’s and don’ts of your introduction to other federal prisoners.

How to Talk to Prison Guards

While every federal inmate must speak with prison guards at some point, this is a taboo topic in the prison culture. Here, we discuss the various considerations you should take into account before engaging in these interactions.

Federal Inmates

What Do You Eat in Prison

This page discusses what you eat in federal prison. We discuss food options, prison cafeteria (“Chow Hall”) operations, and commissary.

Prison Showers and Toilets

This page discusses how federal prisoners use shower and bathroom facilities. We discuss the differences between lower security prisons, where restroom facilities are typically communal, and higher security prisons, where personal facilities tend to be located in each prisoner’s cell.

Laundry, Clothing, and Bedding

This page discusses what you wear in prison and how to obtain sheets and blankets. We also discuss how federal inmates wash their clothing.

Prison Commissary

This page discusses the prison commissary. This is where inmates can shop to purchase various personal items. We discuss what can be purchased, how much money inmates can spend, and other shopping protocols.

Religion in Prison

This page discusses how to practice religion in prison. On this page, we discuss the prison chapel, individual religious study, and other religious accomodations.

Searches and Shakedowns for Contraband

Prison guards regularly conduct searches of inmates and their living quarters. On this page, we discuss what to expect, the various types of searches, and federal prison policies regarding searches of inmates.

Inmate Counts

Inmate counts are a way of life in federal prison. Inmates are counted various times throughout the day. On this page, we discuss the various types of inmate counts and the procedures federal inmates are required to adhere to.

Controlled Movement

Most federal prisons institute a structured form of inmate movement called controlled movement. This is where the guards permit inmates to move from one location within the prison to another. This page discusses what to expect and the procedures for federal prisoners.

Smoking in Prison

All federal prisons have barred inmates from smoking. This page discusses the prohibition on smoking in federal prisons.

Inmate Work Assignments

All medically-abled federal prisoners are required to work. This page discusses this work requirement, how federal prisoners are assigned to prison work details, and more.

Education in Prison

Prisoners are provided various avenues of furthering their education. This page discusses GED classes, Adult Continuing Education classes, and correspondence education programs.

Correspondence Programs for Prisoners

Federal prisoners who desire to further their education beyond the most basic level have to enroll in correspondence education. This page discusses what correspondence programs are, how to enroll in them, and the various options available to federal inmates.

Recreation in Prison

Every federal prison offers inmates various recreational opportunities. These often include indoor and outdoor options. This page explains the ins and outs of recreation within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Radios and MP3 Players in Prison

Federal inmates have access to both AM/FM radios and mp3 players. This page discusses the different offerings, associated costs, and how to purchase songs for mp3 players.

Electronic Law Library

All federal inmates have access to legal research materials. These materials are typically housed in the Electronic Law Library. This page explains this suite of research tools, how to use the computer database, and more.

The Black Market in Prison

Every federal prison has a black market. While some inmates engage in more nefarious activities on this black market, such as buying alcohol or drugs, there are numerous regularly accepted areas of prison commerce (e.g., buying inmate-prepared food). This page discusses the ins and outs of the prison black market.

Alcohol and Drugs in Prison

Alcohol and drugs are a part of prison life. While many inmates don’t engage in these types of nefarious activities, some do. This page discusses drug and alcohol use in federal prisons.

Violence and Sexual Assault in Prison

While the media regularly highlights violence and sexual assault in prison, this is not the reality for the vast majority of federal inmates. This page discusses what you need to know about violence and sexual assault before you serve time.

Communicating with the Outside World

Communicating with the Outside World

This page discusses the various methods of communicating with those in federal prison. Here, we discuss regular postal mail, how to communicate with an attorney, telephones, and more.

Postal Mail

For most prisoners, postal mail is the primary means of communicating with family and friends. This page discusses everything you need to know about postal correspondence from inside a federal prison.

Legal Correspondence

Federal prisoners are allowed to confidentially correspond with their attorney of record. This page discusses the procedures and protocols to communicate with a lawyer from within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Inmate Telephones

Federal inmates are permitted to make telephone calls. This page discusses how the Inmate Telephone System operates, usage limitations, and provides helpful tips when using a telephone from federal prison. Inmate Email

Federal inmates are allowed to use a scaled-down, monitored email system. This system operates through the website This page discusses how this monitored email system works and how to communicate electronically with an incarcerated loved one.

Inmate Visitation

Federal prisoners are allowed to visit with authorized family and friends. This page discusses the process of visitor approval and what to expect on visitation day.

How to Send Money to Inmates

Family and friends of federal prisoners can send money so their incarcerated loved ones can shop in the prison commissary. This page discusses how to send money to inmates in federal prisons.

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