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A realistic and practical guide for what to expect if you're looking at jail time...

  • Dec 25, 2012
While I have no plans to use this information (and I hope I never need to), the subject intrigued me... Federal Prison: A Comprehensive Survival Guide by Jonathan Richards. Written by someone who went through the system for financial fraud, it's a well-researched and well-written guide for what to expect if you find yourself facing the prospect of doing time behind bars.
Why I Wrote This Book And Who Should Read It; Who This Book Can Help; Introduction; Quick Facts About The Bureau Of Prisons; The Importance Of Your PSR; Preparing For Prison; Security Designation; Remanded Custody vs. Self-Surrender; Prison - Day One; Welcome To General Population; Your First Few Weeks On The Inside; Eating In Prison; Work Assignment; Visits; Practicing Religion; Medical Care; Staying Healthy Physically And Mentally; Violence And Sexual Assault; Education; Furloughs; Release; Conclusion; Federal Inmate Stories; Special Housing Unit Information Bulletin For Inmates; Admissions & Orientation Handbook; Visiting Regulations; Commissary Shopping List; Glossary of Prison Terms

Richards was indicted for student financial aid fraud in 2005 and was released in 2007. Serving his sentence in the Federal Medical Center Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts, he went through all the worries and fears that you'd expect for someone who never dreamed they'd spend time as a prisoner in the system. When he got out, he decided to take everything he had learned and write a guide for those who are facing the same situation. Given that this is the third edition of the book, it's become a go-to guide for getting a realistic look at what's going to happen.

What is most notable in the Survival Guide is the shattering of the media-generated image of prison life. For sure, life in prison is not easy. But in most medium and lower security facilities, you are not going to be assaulted the moment you step through the gate. There are official prison rules that you need to abide by to stay out of "the hole", and there are the unofficial rules that allow you to live with your fellow inmates. Richards' book gives a realistic view of what's expected and what should be avoided at all costs. He also deals with all the minor details that can make a difference, such as getting money in your prison account or subscribing to periodicals to keep your mind active and fresh. Without a guide such as this, you probably wouldn't think to take these steps to prepare for your incarceration.

I've only had one friend who ended up behind bars, and he wasn't the type of person who you'd normally expect to end up there. If he had been able to have this book ahead of time, I'm sure his transition would have gone much smoother. I hope you never have the need to read this book or need the information, but if you find yourself facing jail time, I'd highly recommend this book.

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About the reviewer
Thomas Duff ()
Ranked #42
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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