10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went to Jail

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went to Jail

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went to JailHere it is, the 10 valuable lessons I learned from my first (and hopefully last) trip to jail. You’re welcome.

  1. Always have a sweater handy. You never know when you might be arrested and it’s miserably cold in jail even in August, with the added insult of sitting on a soul-sucking, heat sink slab of concrete.
  2. Snack frequently. Seems like we all get in trouble in the evening, so of course it makes sense that they don’t serve any food after 5:00 PM or before 6:00 AM.
  3. Never pass up a clean bathroom. Enough said.
  4. Don’t cry. Seriously, crying while in handcuffs is humiliating. The snot starts and your shoulders are your only relief, but soon enough, they’re all gooey. Just push it down. You can cry after.
  5. Keep your purse clean, but also stocked. Every little bit will be searched and documented. It can be a tad embarrassing when dozens of post-it pads have to be counted and written down (What? I’m organized!). Also, your purse is your first resource upon blessed release, so keep a couple granola bars and wet wipes in there.
  6. Don’t dress like a hoochie. No judgment here. Just know if you are wearing something skimpy, they will make you put on the giant orange jumpsuit. Yes, with your strappy heels. It’s not attractive.
  7. Memorize all your family and friends’ phone numbers. This is especially critical since we never actually type in phone numbers anymore. When you are relieved of your personal belongings, you can only write down one number from your phone – if you have it. But if you’re lucky like I was, you will have unlimited access to the phone bank for several hours! This is your opportunity to give every one of your friends the opportunity to accept a call from a prisoner at the corrections facility! And also keep yourself from pulling your arm hairs out in boredom.
  8. If you’re a first timer, don’t call for bail until you see the (potentially) nice people called pretrial. They will likely let you out on your own recognizance. Unless you were really naughty. If you already ponied up, there’s no going back.
  9. Settle in. Don’t expect the doors to open and sunshine to pour in once bail is made. It takes HOURS for the elementary-educated corrections officers to process your bail and release. And sometimes they make you pay double. Just because you kept asking them for a reasonable estimate on when your freedom would be restored.
  10. Finally, when it’s time to get your prisoner souvenir photo, go big. Angry scowl. Giant grin. One eyebrow raised. Make it memorable. One day you will laugh about it.
  1. Hi Nat! I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this current challenge, and I commend you on looking for the opportunity within the difficulty to grow and maintain a resilient mindset with a sense of humor!

  2. I’m facing some imprisonment time in about 2 months, any other advice you can offer?
    Thanks for this Em! Me and my best friend have learned over the years when bad things happen to you, you have to be able to laugh (otherways you might cry)! Good to know after the rock bottom hits you transform to a Rockstar and hit life right back.

  3. A male perspective would be interesting. As the booking process was co-ed, I did interact with several and they seemed pretty chill about the whole thing. As you might imagine, I was building spreadsheets in my head with every last grievance prioritized and names of the offenders in red.

  4. Thanks, Andrea! It’s so great to have a friend who doesn’t put up with other people’s bullshit, but is also always glass half full!

  5. Hilarious and well said. I am sorry you had to go through this BUT I know this made you who you are today – a strong an amazing gal!

  6. This is both helpful and hilarious. I wish more bloggers could find the humor in their own stories, or the ability to laugh at themselves.

    I wonder how the male list might differ.

Free resources and support, every Friday: