This article will concentrate on what to do before going to Federal Prison. I will write another blog shortly, on what to do after getting there. Many white collar criminals are allowed to self surrender, therefore giving us time to prepare before entering prison. However, if you feel you will not be allowed to self surrender, and will be taken in to custody right after sentencing, try to complete as much of the list before sentencing.
1 Get yourself some local phone numbers
All federal inmates get 300 minutes of phone use per month. Phone calls from prison get expensive if they are not local. If you’re calling outside of the prison’s local area code, calls will cost you 26 cents per minute or $78 per month. Keep in mind, prison jobs only pay an average of $20 per month. Get yourself some local numbers that you can forward to your family and friends. The service I used and highly recommend is CallFire. They charge $3 per local number and 6 cents per minute. I exhausted all 300 minutes every month, so the service saved me a lot of money.
2 Sign up for an identity protection service
Going to prison is hard enough. Identity theft is so common these days and being inside, you’ll be completely helpless from protecting yourself against identity theft. Sign up for an identity protection service like Identity Guard. It’ll give you some piece of mind knowing you can pick up where you left off.
3 Renew your Drivers License
This one is obvious but many people forget. Renew your driver’s license as far out as you can. Having a valid driver’s license is required for some prison jobs, taking the CDL class offered in some prison camps, and will be a big help when you’re finally released.
4 Take care of any minor medical issues
Prison medical service is horrible. They will do anything in their power to NOT spend money on you. Prison medical staff are trained to think Ibuprofen is the cure-all medication. Make sure you take care of any minor medical problems with your family doctor. I’ve seen people with hernias wait for years before being scheduled to see a doctor, to get it fixed.
5 Take care of any dental issues
Same as above. Prison dental services are not good. My neighbor in prison had the wrong tooth pulled out – he was down to only four teeth in his mouth. After putting in a request to be seen, you’ll have to wait almost a year just to get your teeth cleaned. Get your teeth cleaned before going to prison, and schedule a cleaning as soon as you get there. Like I said, the waiting period is about a year.
6 Get yourself a good pair of glasses
You’ll be given permission to walk in with a pair of glasses, but you won’t be allowed to have them sent it. Don’t worry about the brand name. No one will care about the brand you’re wearing. Just make sure they are good, strong pair that will last you your entire bid. If you’re expecting the prison to supply you with a pair of glasses, you’ll be waiting months. Contacts are allowed but the commissary does not sell contact solution – so get the glasses even if they do make you look like a nerd.
7 Put some money aside for Prison
It can get expensive being in prison. Phone calls, email, commissary all add up very quickly. Try to have some money put aside, that can be sent in periodically to help take care of your expenses. If you have restitution to pay, try to only get what you need sent it. If you have a lot of money on your books, they will take it and apply it to your restitution. You will be allowed to spend $360 a month at the commissary. During the first two months, you’ll probably max out your limit buying shoes, clothes, food, and toiletries.
8 Find someone to manage your affairs
You’ll soon learn that you will be helpless to control anything that happens on the outside. Its best to find someone you trust to manage your affairs. Running a business from prison is against BOP policy, so put someone in charge of any business that can make the day to day decisions.
9 Bring your Rolodex
Be sure to bring in all the contact information of friends and family. Write down everyone’s name, address, phone numbers and email addresses. This will come in very handy when setting up your Trulincs account. Trulincs is the inmate phone and email system.
10 Write a Will or create a Trust
The inevitable can happen at any time. Its best to get all this sorted out before going in. Visit LawDepot to start your Last Will & Testament.