Sometimes because of our own choices, mistakes or bad luck we find ourselves facing tough circumstances – like spending a night in jail. For most of us this can be a very scary and anxiety filled thought. If you are faced in this situation, stay calm, don’t panic and keep a cool head. Tell yourself this is only one night and you will live through it.

Stay Positive

Try to stay as positive as possible. The fact is that being in jail is miserable, but it will be more miserable if you put yourself in a negative frame of mind.

  • Remind yourself that you are going to be okay.
  • Remind yourself that you are going to be released.
  • Think about this as a life experience that you will be able to tell others.

Ask for a single cell

Trying to get an empty cell will make your stay a whole lot easier and more pleasant, as you’ll eliminate coming into contact with trouble makers or bullies. Request one in advance of the walk into lockup. If you notice an empty one on the way in, request to be put in there. Don’t talk about any special reason why, as this might get you shoved into a group cell anyway

Never show fear  
For many people who frequent jail, fear is equated with weakness. If they sense fear, they’ll figure that you are weak and they may give you a hard time.


  • Try your best to appear relaxed and calm.
  • Don’t come across as overly tough, as other inmates may try to challenge you.
  • Control your emotions. While you might be a nervous wreck, crying or shaking typically won’t help you.

Avoid sleeping in a shared cell.

You might be exhausted but do your best to avoid sleeping in a cell that you are sharing with someone else. Falling asleep will leave you vulnerable, and if there is a trouble maker or a bully, they might mess with you or hurt you.


  • Sitting on the floor with your back to the wall preferably in a corner..
  • Don’t lie down, as you’ll just be making yourself vulnerable.
  • Stay mentally active by thinking about other problems you need to solve, such as problems with work, work around the house or your children.

Never remove clothes or shoes

You may want to make yourself more comfortable by taking off your shoes and socks or your belt. Don’t do it. Taking anything off will make you more vunerable, someone might take them from you or give you a hard time.

Be careful about engaging other inmates.

If eye contact is made, turn away immediately, or look downward, but never take your eyes completely off of the other prisoners. Know where they are at all times. The less you do to engage the other inmates, and the less noticeable you are, the better. You don’t want to give anyone an excuse to give you a hard time.

Own your crime. Don’t articulate the fact that you’re innocent or that you don’t deserve to be in jail. It’s pretty likely that others sharing the cell with you or others in lockup feel the same. Other people there, though, might not feel the same. They might be proud of their crime or they might think you’re weak.

  • If someone asks you what you did, be honest.
  • Don’t give anyone any more information than you need to.
  • Don’t verbally judge anyone else’s crime.