Portfolio magazine is offering advice for white collar criminals facing a prison term. One item: work with a “mitigation specialist” who can help guide you to your first choice among prisons–a penitentiary close to home, for instance. Don't talk to the media, says Portfolio: “Prison guards can read too, and your flip comments about looking forward to working on your tennis game while inside won't go over well.” Get as much preventive medical care as possible before you head in. See your doctor for a thorough physical, including tests for TB, hepatitis B and C, and H.I.V. The same with dental work: In prison, the wait to see a dentist can be two to five months, and prison dentists tend to extract at every opportunity.
No contact lenses are allowed, so buy a tough pair of frames. Make sure you have plastic lenses, as fellow inmates may want to steal glass ones to craft weapons. Among other tips: Subscribe in advance to magazines or book clubs. You can’t conduct business while behind bars; if you are caught, you may find yourself in the Special Housing Unit (a.k.a. the Hole). Better to give power of attorney to a trusted family member who can hold down the fort. You are allowed to spend a maximum of $300 monthly on items in prison; you'll want that amount for your first two months, to cover such basics as a radio, sneakers, sweats, and underwear. Plan to spend $150 to $200 a month thereafter, mostly for extra food and beverages. Conclusion: “Think of prison as a sabbatical, a rare and welcome chance for self-improvement.”