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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

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How to Prepare for Federal Prison: Tips from a Former Inmate

By Spodek Law Group | October 19, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 20, 2023)

Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 10:10 am


How to Prepare for Federal Prison: Tips from a Former Inmate

Going to federal prison can be an incredibly scary experience. As someone whose been there, I want to offer some tips to help you prepare mentally and logistically for doing time. I was locked up for 2 years on a non-violent drug offense, so I learned alot about navigating the system. This article will give you some practical advice to make your bid as smooth as possible.

Get Your Affairs in Order

One of the first things you should do is get your personal affairs in order. This means:

  • Making arrangements for bills and finances while your gone. Give a trusted friend or family member power of attorney so they can manage your money and pay your rent/mortgage, loans, utilities, etc.
  • Decide if you want to suspend or cancel credit cards, gym memberships, streaming services, etc. to avoid unnecessary charges.
  • Make childcare arrangements if you have kids. Give temporary custody to a relative or loved one.
  • Talk to your employer about leave options. You may be able to take unpaid leave and return to your job after release.
  • Consider putting your assets like a house or car in someone else’s name temporarily to avoid repossession.

Taking care of this stuff ahead of time will give you peace of mind while locked up and make re-entry easier when you get out.

Consult with Your Attorney

Your lawyer is your best resource for specifics about your case and what to expect. Some good questions to ask:

  • Will I get any credit for time served? Every day in jail pre-trial counts as 2 days toward your eventual sentence.
  • What facility will I be designated to? Your lawyer can put in requests for a prison close to family.
  • What are the chances I’ll get probation or a reduced sentence?
  • What programs or jobs should I sign up for?

The more info you get from your lawyer, the better prepared you’ll be to navigate the system

Understand the Prison Environment

It’s important to understand the general rules and culture of prison life before you get locked up:

  • Follow all rules and don’t cause problems with guards or other inmates.
  • Don’t accept gifts or favors from people which could make you “in debt” to them.
  • Don’t discuss your case with other inmates.
  • Don’t share personal info or details about your life.
  • Don’t gamble or take risks that can jeopardize your parole.
  • Don’t take anything that doesn’t belong to you.

Keeping your head down and doing your time is key. The less waves you make the better.

Know What to Expect Day-to-Day

The daily prison schedule varies but generally looks like:

  • Early wake up call around 5am.
  • Head count and room inspections.
  • Breakfast in the mess hall.
  • Work call if you have a prison job.
  • Rec time to exercise or go outside.
  • Lunch in the mess hall.
  • More work or vocational classes.
  • Dinner in the evening.
  • Lock down and lights out around 9pm.

You’ll get used to the routine but it will feel strange at first. Keep track of time and schedule using a calendar to watch your bid pass.

Don’t assume your sentence is set in stone. There may be options to reduce your time or even overturn your conviction. Some things to research:

Don’t just accept your sentence – look for ways to get out sooner if possible.

Make a Schedule and Stay Busy

Having a routine and staying productive is key to making your time pass quickly and keeping a positive mindset. Here’s some tips:

  • Make a schedule for each day – workout times, meals, reading, etc.
  • Take prison jobs or vocational classes.
  • Exercise everyday.
  • Read books from the library.
  • Write letters to family and friends.
  • Study for your GED if you don’t have a diploma.

Idle time leads to depression. Find ways to better yourself and stay occupied.

Develop a Support System

Having friends and family who support you will make a huge difference. Here’s how to nurture those relationships:

  • Make a list of approved visitors.
  • Call and write to people regularly.
  • Ask loved ones to put some money in your commissary.
  • Take prison programs like parenting classes.
  • Apologize to any victims or family members you hurt.

People on the outside can make you feel less alone. Develop that support network.

Plan for Your Release

Don’t wait until the last minute to plan for getting out. Start thinking about it early in your sentence:

  • Get a copy of your release papers from your case manager.
  • Make parole arrangements and halfway house placements if required.
  • Get the phone and address of your probation officer.
  • Line up housing and job options for when you get out.
  • Take classes on resume writing and interview skills.

Focus on your release from day one. Having a plan eases the transition.


Going to federal prison is scary but preparation and knowledge will help you navigate it. Get your affairs in order, learn the rules, make a schedule, develop a support system, and plan for release. Focus on self-improvement and staying positive. With the right mindset and tools, you can manage your time behind bars and come out better on the other side.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m happy to share more insights from my experience.


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I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

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After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

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