I think, other than the ass-rape, I’d quite enjoy it. (DISCLAIMER: The following is based on certain assumptions that may or may not be true. If anyone has more information about how actual prisoners live, please inform me.)
Things that would be better than what I have now
Air conditioning. It’s 71F right now, even at 3:30 AM, and part of my brain is telling me that the air conditioning alone would almost be worth it. (It’s a little-known fact that the melting point of us Minnesotans is 75F.)
Meals prepared for me, three times a day, that are nutritious and well-balanced. While by no means gourmet, they can’t be worse than what I constantly eat from the vending machine at work.
Medical treatments courtesy of Joe Taxpayer. While I do have (some) coverage through my employer, it is my understanding that prisoners have much, much better coverage. I heard rumors (second-hand, from people who knew prisoners) that dental coverage for prisoners is excellent. As I currently have no dental coverage, this sounds pretty damned good.
Not having to deal with life in general. I hate going shopping. I hate the realization that I desperately need a haircut and have to find time and energy to bother getting it cut. Etc. I think I’d like these hassels to be taken care of.
Free access to a weight room. I’m scrawny, and would like to work out more. I figure if I blow the right guy, he’ll spot for me. (Seriously though, I’ve wanted a weight bench since I was about 12. My parents promised then pretended that they hadn’t promised about ten Christmases in a row. Now that I can afford one myself, I have no place for it.)
Things which would be roughly the same as I have it now
Cramped living quarters. Of course this isn’t so bad, since I rarely leave my room anyway, except to go to work or to the movies on the weekends. And giving up movies is a small price to pay for giving up work.
Lack of contact with loved ones. I avoid my mom. My older sister lives far away. My younger sister lives with mom, so I inadvertantly avoid her, too, which she seems ok with. My brother and I barely talk anyway, so a phonecall now and then would be about the same. And I see my dad for about 5 minutes every week, even though I actually live with him. (We keep opposite schedules.) Honestly, I think getting away from my family would, on average, be rather nice for at least the first four years.
Routine. While I suspect prison is slightly worse in this regard, I doubt it’s much worse. I wake up. I run through a shower. I go to work. I work my ass off. Boss says it’s not enough. I work enough to work two asses off. I go home. I shower again. I eat. I spend a few hours reading the Dope and playing WoW. Then I go to bed. While I’d definitely miss the Dope and WoW, getting up at a particular time every day wouldn’t be so bad if I knew I didn’t have to go to work.
Things that would be worse in prison
The chance of rape or violent assaults. However, I suspect this is largely dependant on what sort of prison I would be placed in. Definitely a minus, though.
Lack of Internet. I swear I’ve read about prisoners having Internet access, but I don’t think it’s typical and I’m sure it’s very supervised and used only for certain purposes. I would very much miss this messageboard and the other sites I visit daily.
Lack of freedom. While I rarely go anyplace exciting, I do go to movies now and then. And it’s nice to know that if I wanted to I could just drive out of town to a nice steakhouse, or buy lots of booze and get sozzled at home while watching the Lifetime movie of the week. While I never actually do either of these, it’s nice to know that I could.
To sum up:
Depending on the type of prison I got sent to, I think my stay would be anywhere from surprisingly nice to shitty, but survivable. (And only shitty because of the violence and rape. Take that out of the equation, and it becomes merely “annoying, but survivable” at worst.)