Jeff Smith: Prison Advice to Aid Richie Farmer

Contributing recovering politician Jeff Smith, who spent a year in federal prison for lying to federal authorities about a minor campaign finance violation, offers advice to his fellow pol/prisoner/hoopster Richie Farmer, set to spend some time in the can for public corruption charges.  Here are excerpts from Smith’s piece in the (Louisville) Courier Journal:

Use your basketball skills to help others. Running the point and making your teammates better may be an effective way to build alliances.

• Be careful on the court. Some people who have it out for you may exploit the opportunity to try to hurt you on the athletic field and not get in trouble for it….

Don’t break prison rules.

• This may seem contradictory. The last rule suggested that you should tolerate prison rule-breaking — and you should. But try not to violate rules yourself.

• Don’t gamble. If you lose, you’ll be in debt and you do not want to be compromised like that. If you win, someone will be angry and may figure out a way to get his money back — a way that might leave you unrecognizable.

• Don’t “hold” anything someone asks you to hold. Even if it looks innocuous, it’s probably got contraband inside of it…

Don’t look for trouble.

• Don’t change the TV channel. There is a stringent seniority-based regime when it comes to TV watching, and your celebrity does not entitle you to alter it in any way.

• Don’t stare. There is generally no reason to make eye contact unless someone says your name.

• Don’t eat the Snickers. During orientation, you’ll watch a mandatory sexual assault prevention video featuring a guy warning you not to eat the Snickers bar that may be waiting for you on your bed in your cell. (The actor ate the one left under his pillow, unwittingly signaling the predator who left it for him that he was ready and willing.) All the guys watching the video will laugh. But take the video’s message to heart: Don’t accept sweets from anyone.

Click here for Smith’s full column in the Courier-Journal.

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