Thursday, June 3, 2010


I have often been questioned about my life in prison. People wonder if it's like they have seen in movies and television. They imagine it to be some violent world filled with rape, extortion, robbery and assault. While these things do occur, my experience has shown that in most cases the victim of the crime was as much to blame as the one who committed the act. This is not always true but more so than in the 'free world'. What I mean by this is that the victim has in some way violated the unwritten codes of prison life. I don't necessarily agree with these retributive actions, but I agree that these codes should be followed. It is a wise path that leads one to survive the hardships of prison life. Yes, prison is hard, even if it's not as difficult as often portrayed. The fact is that the prison officials cause more trouble and give rise to more problems than the inmates ever do. We only want to live our lives and make some attempt at establishing ourselves in productive manners. At least most of us do.

So what are the prison codes?

  1. Mind your own business: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. If it doesn't involve you, don't worry about it.

  2. Keep your mouth shut: If it's not about you personally, you don't know anything.

  3. Pay back whatever you owe: There is nothing wrong with getting in debt but make sure you can pay.

  4. Watch the company you keep: If you don't wish to be labeled as a homosexual, don't regularly associate with homosexuals.

  5. Do not allow yourself to be exploited or taken advantage of: Establish yourself as a respectable person that can be respected.

  6. Be friendly and sociable: You don't have to be friends with everyone but you don't need to carry an arrogant attitude either.

  7. Settle in and keep yourself busy: Write, draw, read, do whatever you can to stay active with 'legal' activities.

It is by following these rules that I have survived 12 years without many worries, at least stemming from my fellow convicts.

Direct correspondences can be made to me at:

Daniel Jackson #1182398

Powhatan Correctional Center

State Farm, VA 23160


  1. Daniel, that's sad the prison officials stir things up.

  2. Sounds like a pretty reasonable, logical code. After all you are confined with your population in a closed environment which doesn't allow avoidance tactics like most of us in the "free" world can use.

  3. well Daniel, those rules could line up pretty well on the outside as well. a friend of mine involved with prison ministry told me that those she visits with are much more free`r then many that are on the outside.

  4. I think it is sad that officials can sometimes do more harm than good. Those rules don't seem to be to hard to live with, especially if it keeps you either "out of trouble" or "unharmed."

    Other than this blog, what do you do, as you say, "to keep yourself busy?"

    I imagine if I write something I ougnt not to someone will let me know.

    I for one am an unempployed pastor at the moment. I am looking for both a job and a church. I want to get back into ministry again.

    But to keep busy, I love to read and study. I love to start at one end of an idea and follow it as far as it will go. As I do, I hope to find the consistencies and inconsistencies of that idea.

    But, what do you enjoy?

  5. My son is a CO in a federal prison. Wish it was the same prison Daniel is in so he could share the love of Jesus with him. Actually, my son says that most CO's just want to do their jobs and go home in one piece. I would hope that Daniel is refering to upper management causing the problems. I'll follow Daniel's blog and see where it leads.

  6. TO: Alex J. FROM: Daniel Jackson

    Thank you for following my entries and for your patience. I only wish I could be more active on a personal level. Be assured that I will always try to respond as quickly as possible to your posted comments or my sister will.

    Indeed, it is quite sad that with all of the things I and my fellow prisoners have to deal with, those who should be aiding us in our quest for rehabilitation are the ones who often cause our greatest obstacles. This is an issue I will try to address more fully in the future. For now, I will say that while every individual is responsible in his own quest for the good, others should not work to hinder or derail this quest.

    *** If you would like to respond to Dan's comment response further, feel free to write to him at Daniel Jackson #1182398 Powhatan Correctional Center, State Farm, VA 23160 ***

  7. TO: Bud Ezekial FROM: Daniel Jackson

    Prison can be viewed as a microcosmic view of "free" society. We reflect society in every aspect, though it is sometimes a warped reflection. Whether we are more free in here than many on the outside, I am not sure I agree. While there are many in here that would be in worse circumstances if "free" and prisoners have less responsibility, we are not "freer" than those on the outside. In fact, if anything, prison turns many into slaves, completely dependent upon the institution. Most of them have lost the fuctional capatibility to make decisions on their own.

    True freedom, I believe, is when one is capable of making ones own decisions though logic adn lives on just a productive life....My mind is freer because I have allowed it to open to possibility but my heart often feels imprisoned and displaced. I hope to express more fully the strain and burden prison puts on the soul sometime in the future.

    Thank you for your comments and I hope I can continue to offer insightful and informative views in the future.

    *** If you would like to respond to Dan's comment response further, feel free to write to him at Daniel Jackson #1182398 Powhatan Correctional Center, State Farm, VA 23160 ***

  8. TO: Gregg FROM: Daniel Jackson

    It is true that my "rules for survival" don't seem hard to live by but bare in mind, many guys in here struggle with "rules". You would be surprised at how often guys violate the noted rules. It can be frustrating but you learn to ignore the ignorant if you wish to actually achieve something while incarcerated.

    As for what I do to stay busy, there is a variety of activities to partake in. In fact, I possibly stay more busy in here than when I was free. I rarely find myself bored or totally non-productive, except in sleep, which I don't overdo. I enjoy reading and read most anything I can get my hands on. Often I go by suggestions in choosing authors and I don't limit myself to one style. My favorite authors range from Kurt Vonnegut to George R. Martin to Shakespeare. I also enjoy reading philosophical and religious material in my attempts to uncover the truth.

    My greatest joy comes from writing. I write stories, poetry, songs and general philosophical outpourings. You are right, it is good to have a place to speak my mind and pour out my soul. My goal is to entertain, inspire and enlighten. I only hope you can take something away with you whenever you read.

    *** If you would like to respond to Dan's comment response further, feel free to write to him at Daniel Jackson #1182398 Powhatan Correctional Center, State Farm, VA 23160 ***

  9. Just to say, I find it strange that nothing is ever quite as it seems.

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