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10 Things I Learned From Spending 24 Hours In Jail

Once, I spent 24 hours in jail for a charge that I was later acquitted on. This list is a list of what I learned from going through this regrettable experience.

    1. Knowing a good lawyer is vital.

    The public defender's office is hopelessly overwhelmed with an impossible workload. If you are in the unfortunate position of 1) being charged with a crime and 2) not having resources to hire a private lawyer, you will be forced to rely on a public defender. Your public defender is overworked and won't have the time or attention to dedicate to really digging into your case and providing the best defense possible.

    2. Rely on your family members.

    When I got arrested, word spread extremely fast within my social/professional circles. It was a juicy bit of gossip that many couldn't resist sharing. Many of these people stopped returning my calls/emails. When things get tough, notice who sticks by you and who flees. For me, it was mostly family members and a handful of close friends that stuck by me. Treasure these people.

    3. Stay positive, even when circumstances feel hopeless.

    If you didn't do something major, try to keep in mind that this unfortunate experience will be over within a reasonable amount of time.

    4. Holding cells suck

    Spending 8 hours in a 20' by 20' holding cell with 15 other humans, waiting for your name to be called so you can get in front of a judge or call your lawyer is one of the worst experiences you will ever have in life. It should be enough to never break the law again. If it's not, you need to seriously reevaluate your life.

    5. Once your freedom is taken from you, you will have a renewed appreciation for it when it's given back to you.

    The saying "you don't know what you've got until it's gone" comes to mind. Never put yourself in a situation that risks your freedom, even if it's only for 24 hours.

    6. Never Show Fear

    During my 24 hours in jail, I spent time with people charged with grand theft auto, assault, narcotics dealing, and more. In jail, fear is associated with weakness. Jail is a scary place, but if you ever end up there, do your best to put on a brave face.

    7. Keep To Yourself As Much As You Can

    This is the perfect time to fly under the radar. You don't want to draw any unwanted attention to yourself. Your goal is to get out of there as soon as humanly possible, but you'll be spending time with many people who have been there for days, weeks, or even months. Some of them will be bored and might give you a hard time (or worse, try to fight you). Try not to engage anyone if you can avoid it.

    8. Be Polite

    The corrections officers will be loud, aggressive, and disrespectful. Just take it and don't complain. If you get on the corrections officers bad side, they can make what hopefully is a short stay feel much longer and painful. Your fellow guests in jail will also likely be loud, aggressive and disrespectful. Endure as much of this behavior from them without reacting as you possibly can while maintaining your safety.

    9. Never make the same mistake again.

    Jail is not a place you ever want to end up in again. So make the necessary changes in your life that will ensure you don't.

    10. Do not accept any drugs while in jail

    People were doing cocaine off of the holding cell concrete floors. Do not add to your troubles by committing another crime while in jail.
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