HEY, fresh meat. Yeah I’m talking to you. About to start your first five-stretch in the learning slammer? Here’s how to get through it:
Adjust to life on the inside
Accept it: you’re never getting out. Sure, after five years they’ll move you to a bigger, tougher prison, and you’ll work to get GCSEs and A-levels on the promise of sweet, sweet freedom. Don’t believe it. Whether you’re in the open prison of university or the D-wing of office work, you’re banged up for life. Hope ain’t on your side in here.
The black market
This place runs on grease, so bring in contraband. Popping candy, scented stickers, conkers; everyone has their price. But make sure you know who runs the joint. If the year threes have the trade in Pokémon cards sewn up, don’t tread on their turf. That can end in an eight-year-old stamping on your Space Raiders.
Heard about going up to the biggest kid in the yard and punching him? Bullshit. Instead find a weak, trusting kid in glasses and beat the crap out of him. Encourage others to join in. You’ll coast through the rest of your 11 years safe in your reputation as a violent psychopath.
Know your rights
You get 60 minutes exercise a day. If the screws try to fob you off with indoor play, even if it’s only spitting outside, that’s bullshit. Stage a dirty protest by crapping yourself.
Yeah, it’s as bad as they say. Basic, prepared by violent thugs with few cookery skills, remember, these ‘dinner ladies’ are just as much prisoners as you are. They did some heinous shit.
The standard issue is ugly and designed to alert the police if they see you wandering about outside. It can and should be customised. If you’re in the Aryan Nation, sew on patches showing your affiliation and rank to deter would-be attackers; otherwise, just fasten your tie real short and refuse to tuck your shirt in.
You might be lucky. The walls of your cell could be made of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete. A smuggled spoon, or even the corner of a Dairylea triangle, and that shit crumbles away. Dig a tunnel behind a poster of Dora the Explorer and you could be out in 19 years or so. Though once you’re out you’ll start wishing you were back in.