Federal Prison Survival 101

federal prison drama
Written By Mike Freshko

Greetings from FPC Montgomery…

A lot of people have questions about how to get used to your new environment when you go to federal prison. I think it’s a little different for everyone, and part of it depends on where you serve your time, but here are some things to keep in mind, based on my experience.

Get busy. Stay busy.

Thankfully, I have never really been a control freak. But if you are that type of personality, federal prison will be a challenge until you learn to pick and choose your battles. For me, the first month was hard due to all the free time I had on my hands. I was not assigned a job yet and I was also not in RDAP. The days seemed to drag back then. The first week felt like a month. I soon became acclimated to the routine and I found things that I liked to do ,or always wanted to do, available to me here. I played tennis, did yoga, started to learn guitar, took a typing class and participated in other classes required to get into the halfway house.

RDAP helps pass the time.

Once I started the RDAP program, the time seemed to pass much more quickly. I’ve been at FPC Montgomery for 5 months and somehow, the days passed fairly fast. If everything goes well, I could be out April 16, 2019. That would only be 18 months of my 48 sentence.

Socializing In Federal Prison…

This is a large camp, almost 900. FPC Montgomery has so much to do, it’s not hard to stay occupied. So, it is almost impossible not be around other inmates. You will always have a celly. RDAP is constant interaction, as they like us to be involved in activities within the community. From the time you wake up until you sleep you will be around other inmates. That was the hardest for me, since I really enjoyed my alone time when I was out in society. I was an only child, and that time alone is something I grew up with and now appreciate.

Trust is earned.

Whether you value your alone time or enjoy being around others, when you get to federal prison, trust no one. You can make friends and there are a lot of good guys out here, but this is a prison and you need to remember that. I found that everyone tends to lookout for their own self-interest. Look people in the eyes. That’s what I do to determine if they are shady characters or not. We are all felons here, but as I have come to learn, most of the guys here are good guys who made bad choices. Still, stay on your guard. Ask yourself, why is this person talking to me? Is it to be friendly or does he want something? Don’t take everyone at face value and never get so comfortable in federal prison that you forget where you are.

Avoid the drama.

If I were to give someone advice about how to survive amongst the people here, I’d say to treat everyone here with respect. Don’t think you are above anyone here because that will lead to conflict, especially if you talk down to someone. Focus on yourself and don’t get involved in the inmate.com rumor hotline. Concentrate on the time serving you and not you serving the time.

If there is an issue with your celly, don’t argue with them or talk down to them, just go to the Unit Team and request to be assigned with a new celly when possible, and make the best of it until something opens up.

Use your prison time to work on you.

Really, the main thing is to mind your own business and focus on your goals. Do things that will improve yourself and your skills. If you have to do this time either way, choose to make the most of it, and that means staying out of the drama so you can handle your own business. Basically, show respect for other people, stay in your own lane and work hard on bettering yourself. If you want to get in and out and stay under the radar, that should be your plan. Of course, the best thing would be to never end up here to begin with, but there are ways of surviving federal prison without getting caught up in the negativity.

Do you want to ask me something directly? You can reach me at:

Michael Freshko 16053-104

Federal Prison Camp

Maxwell Air Force Base

Montgomery, AL. 36112

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