How to prepare for prison: there's a book for that - New York News

How to prepare for prison: there's a book for that

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

A prison sentence could happen to movie stars, millionaires, reality show stars and even members of Congress. And it could happen to you. But life on lock-down comes with its own set of lessons you don't want to learn the hard way.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is on his way to prison.

"Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice and her husband are looking at a similar fate in the slammer.

Martha Stewart has been there and done that.

So has Hollywood action star Wesley Snipes.

Super swindler Bernie Madoff remains behind bars.

It is not just big names going to the big house. It's 1 in 100 Americans -- almost like a real-life version of the new hit series "Orange Is the New Black."

But ex-offender-turned-author and consultant Vincent De Maille says there is nothing fun or fancy about the real deal, and most first timers are totally unprepared. In prison culture, new equals weak, he says.

"Weakness is like blood in the water," he says.

De Maille is part of a growing trend of ex-convicts who cash in on their prison past. He certainly knows what he's talking about. His rap sheet looks like a college curriculum for crime. He was arrested more than half a dozen times, starting at the age of 16, for everything from manslaughter to weapons possession

Now 37 and a family man, De Maille wrote a book called "Incarceration 101 - the Prisoners' Code." He says he wrote it to help others avoid dangerous mistakes, such as trying to be nice so other inmates like you.

De Maille says the biggest mistake many make is talking too much. Even small talk can cause big trouble because inmates have plenty of time to scheme and scam. So be prepared with one-word vague responses.

Through his time in county and state prisons, he learned the hard way that you need to be aware of physical danger at all times:

Keep your back to the wall, preferably in a corner.

Always check other inmates' hands for prison weapons like the makeshift knives called shanks.

And at mealtime, make sure you're not the one getting eaten up.

Another danger is a bad attitude. De Maille says street thugs mistakenly think they can out-con the convicts. And white collar criminals think they can outsmart other inmates because of social standing and a college degree.

Prison is more than a parallel universe. It is a totally different world with its own currency and etiquette. And if you break one of these rules, you can end up being the victim of inmate justice.

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