Copyright (c) 2018 by Michael Rickard II
Note: Nothing in this blog should be interpreted as legal advice. I am only sharing my experiences in jail and prison (aka Con College).
If you've read my book Laughing All the Way to the Bank Robbery: How an Attorney Survived Prison, you know that I had some interesting experiences in a number of jails (For those of you out of the loop, there's a big difference between jail and prison, something I'll explain in a future blog).
You find yourself in jail. You've just been arrested and for whatever reason, you're not going home until you see a judge (and even then, you might be sticking around for some time). What should you do? Who should you call? Am I ever going to get out of here? What happens if I drop the soap in the shower?
Most people have seen TV shows or films about life in prison, and like most TV shows and films, things are dramatized for story-telling purposes. Yes, jail isn't fun, especially if it's your first time there, but there are things you can do to get by.
The first thing you have to do is accept your situation. You are in jail and you're going to be there at least until the morning or even a couple days later. For example, if you're brought in over the weekend, there's a good chance you won't be seen until Monday. Don't flip out or make any kind of scene or you're going to look like a jabroni. If you get irate, people in jail may see you as a welcome target. Play it cool. Also, don't bother the corrections officers (depending on where you are at, the people often referred to as "guards" will be called deputies, C.O.'s or some other title) with your plight. They just want to make sure order is maintained and no one dies on their watch. Most likely, they're not going to want to listen to anyone's sob story.
The second thing you'll want to do is lay low. Get an idea for how things work. It's okay to ask a couple questions about when chow comes around and what the procedure for showers and lock downs are (lock downs are when inmates are locked in their cells so C.O.'s can make sure no one has escaped. It's also a good time to get a nap and unwind. Don't be rude, but don't talk about your case other than in general terms (I'll talk about this more next time).
Right now you'll be working on seeing a judge to make bail. Bail is a guarantee you will show up for your next court appearance and isn't designed to keep you locked up as you're presumed innocent until guilty. However, if you do something stupid like threaten someone from jail or act up in court, you might not make bail. So behave yourself while you're locked up and this will only help you at your bail hearing.