Have you ever been in a situation where it feels like your life is at a standstill? Well, that might be the case if you’re currently serving time in prison. It can be hard to see past the walls of confinement and feel like there’s no hope of growing.
But don’t lose heart! There are ways that you can use your time in prison to unlock your potential and maximize your resources while inside. With a few smart strategies, you can make the most of this difficult period and forge ahead with greater awareness, understanding, and personal growth.
People go to prison for various reasons, including committing a crime or violating the terms of probation. Depending on the severity and nature of the offense, sentences can vary greatly in duration and nature. People may face incarceration for a few months, several years, or even longer periods of time.
Inmates adapt to their environments in different ways. While some choose to use their time in prison to mix with the wrong crowd, others decide to make productive use of their sentence and develop themselves both physically and mentally. Deciding to use prison time productively can give a sense of purpose, which can also help with mental health too.
So how could you make the most of your time in prison?
Enroll in an Education Program
Education provides an escape from the day to day prison environment and can give inmates something to strive for. By taking classes or completing a course, individuals in prison can work towards gaining qualifications that they can use upon their release. Educational programs also teach valuable skills such as communication, problem solving, and teamwork, which will be useful in any career.
There are a variety of educational programs available in prisons, depending on the facility. But you may have an opportunity to gain qualifications in areas such as math, English, and even computer programming. At Ironwood State Prison, for example, inmates have the chance to earn college degrees. They can also learn trade skills, and transcribe college textbooks into Braille.
Use the Library
The library is a great place to feed your curiosity and learn something new. By using the library, you can explore topics that interest you or even learn a new language. You can also read books that could help you in your journey towards self-improvement and personal growth.
To get the most out of your library time, try to brainstorm some areas you would like to learn more about that might help you when you’re released from prison. For example, if you’re interested in starting a business, you could look for books on entrepreneurship or marketing. Or if you’re interested in a certain field such as law, you could find books that provide an overview of the legal system.
Take on a Job
Having a job while in prison can give you something to focus on and a chance to earn some money. Plus, it can help you develop skills that may be transferable outside of prison. Depending on the facility, there may be opportunities for prisoners to work in the kitchen, laundry, or even in maintenance.
There are many reasons why you might find it beneficial to have a job. Staying busy is important for mental health in prison. Having structure in your day and committing to being somewhere at certain times will also help you get into a work routine when you’re released.
Exercise is essential for physical and mental health. It’s also something that you can control when in prison, as it requires no extra resources. Working out can help to reduce stress, boost energy levels, and improve concentration.
There are various ways you can stay active in a prison setting. Create your own exercise routine with bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, squats, and burpees or join a group activity like yoga or basketball. This can also be a great way to make new friends and build relationships with your fellow inmates.
Having an exercise routine will help you stay disciplined and focused on your goal of self-improvement.
Take Up a Hobby
Taking up a hobby is also an effective way to make the most of your time in prison. You could take up drawing or writing, or if you prefer something more hands-on, why not try woodworking or pottery? There are plenty of creative activities for you to explore.
Not only will doing something creative help you pass the time and relax, but it can also help boost your self-esteem and give you a sense of accomplishment. If you’re looking for something more social, there are also group activities such as chess or card games that you can join.
Share Knowledge With Others
If there aren’t many educational facilities at your prison, or if it’s difficult for you to learn from books, you could find out what knowledge and skills other inmates have. This is a great way to collaborate with others and share your knowledge.
For example, you may be able to teach someone how to read or write, or you could offer tips on job-seeking skills. You can also use this as an opportunity to learn from others in return and exchange ideas.
Take up Writing
Writing is a great activity to take on in prison, as it is relatively easy to pick up and doesn’t require any extra resources. You can start by writing a diary or journal to document your experiences and track your progress over time.
Writing can also be a great way to express yourself and can help you focus on positive thoughts and ideas. You could even write letters to your loved ones or to the outside world, giving them an insight into your life behind bars.
By taking advantage of the educational and recreational opportunities available in prison, you can use your time to learn new skills. If you use the resources available to you and stay open-minded, there are plenty of ways you can use your time in prison for self-improvement and personal growth.