r/AskReddit May 25 '22 Helpful 5 Wholesome 5

Former inmates of Reddit, what are some things about prison that people outside wouldn't understand? [Serious] Serious Replies Only

12.9k Upvotes

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u/tacopony_789 May 25 '22

Starchy food and a lack of dental care

The conjunction of rapists and abuse survivors

The blistering intimidation I received from guards after filling out a grievance form

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u/OpticalWarlock May 26 '22

What's a grievance form?

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u/tacopony_789 May 26 '22

Its a form a prisoner can fill out to say that something was done wrong or unfairly.

It can draw attention to conditions about the prison to offsite administrators. Guards hate it when inmates fill them out

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u/OpticalWarlock May 26 '22

Ah! Thanks for the explanation. I'd never heard of them before. I wish there'd be a way to protect everyone's privacy while filling those out so that it would be confidential and no one would come after you.

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u/bstyledevi May 25 '22 Gold Helpful All-Seeing Upvote

Sometimes you miss it once you're out.

There are some days where I just feel defeated by the daily stresses of life, and I remember being able to wake up every day and not really have to worry about a lot of things: I don't have rent or utilities to pay, I don't have to go grocery shopping, I don't have to do yard work, I don't have to keep a schedule of places to be and worry about making sure I have enough time to get from place to place or anything. It was a weird kind of freedom while being extremely un-free.

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u/[deleted] May 25 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

Just like the military lol

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u/bstyledevi May 25 '22 edited May 26 '22 Silver Helpful

Fun fact, I went straight from the military to prison, and the parallels between basic training and prison are more numerous than expected.

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u/citrus_sugar May 25 '22

Story time?

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u/bstyledevi May 25 '22 Silver

I did an AMA a long time ago about being a prisoner: Link from ages ago.

That covers a lot of questions, but I'll answer anything that isn't covered there as well!

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u/ImMr_Meseeks May 25 '22

How are you doing now, job wise? Did you get that presidential pardon?

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u/bstyledevi May 25 '22

I'm doing great! I'm working for a wholesale distributor in a sales position, and making good money. It took a lot of work to get here, but I've never stopped trying to better myself.

As for the pardon, I never did get it, although oddly enough I haven't felt very limited by it in recent years. I might end up trying again sometime, I haven't really decided yet.

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u/ManyPerformance9608 May 25 '22

Yeah, its so easy once you get used to it. Everything is figured out for you, you got a stable rutine and there are clear rules and bounderies. Also you usually have a tight group of friends that you share everything with.

I spend a year in the army as a conscript and I was pretty down after it ended, because I had to return to a life of a young man where everything was still so unclear and difficult.

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u/ItActuallyIsGullible May 25 '22 Silver Gold Helpful

I think this is part of what I miss about being a kid. School was like an optimistic “prison” in that we were told what to do and when. But that in itself was freeing, because I didn’t have to worry about planning the day, or my life. I didn’t miss out on things bc we all went to the same things. It felt like the guidance we had would make everything turn out okay.

This is part of what’s difficult about being an adult, that you don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t know if youre making the best choices, you constantly fear missing out on other things while doing anything, you got no guarantee of social interaction with others. People aren’t trusting of you by default, and every first interaction is an attempt to convince people that you’re a good enough person to engage with.

Someone’s always there to catch you from falling and help you out in school as a kid. As an adult, there’s no safety net, no one’s coming to save you, because you’re on your own.

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u/TheNick1704 May 25 '22

God, you've put into words what I was always afraid of when growing up, and still am. It's like... I want to be free, but the more free I am, the more restricted I feel, because of the exact reasons you mentioned.

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u/ollieollieoxinfree May 26 '22

Discipline brings freedom. Find good rules that will put your life in a good way and stick to them like you have no choice. (this is advice I need too! )

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u/IshaanDewan May 25 '22

This is what they called being “institutionalised” in Shawshank Redemption I think

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u/shlurredwords May 25 '22

That’s pretty much the definition of being institutionalised, sadly.

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u/Donnaaahh May 25 '22

You can make “Chinese food” out of pork rinds, dehydrated rice, hot sauce, instant tea mix, and some other ingredients im forgetting. For some odd reason my mouth is watering thinking about it because in there it was the most delicious thing ever. Now that I’ve been out for three years I’m positive I would be repulsed if I tried to eat it.

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u/Lucha_Brasi May 26 '22

Prison recipes crack me up. My dad told me they made tamales with canned beef and smashed doritos.

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u/PawsibleCrazyCatLady May 26 '22

When I worked in the women's prison in Michigan, "pierogis" were popular. The main part of the dish was a tortilla filled with a mixture of smashed potato chips, instant potatoes, and this horrific orange cheese-like product. They would be "fried" on a plastic lid with butter stolen from the chow hall.

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u/Josley187 May 26 '22

A lady taught my mom to make burritos in county jail. Then immediately started telling her how to make meth. What a wonderful place.

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u/boston_nsca May 25 '22 edited May 26 '22 Helpful

Honestly, it's not always so bad. These days there are so many drug addicts in low sec prisons that they sometimes group them together in the same blocks. I was one of them, and everyone was respectful and friendly. When I got there I was in full opiate withdrawal and my cell mates gave me food and comfort to help me get through it. This is not always the case, for sure, but I've dealt with worse people on the outside than when I was locked up.

Edit: Thank you, everyone, for the upvotes 🙂

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u/[deleted] May 26 '22

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u/boston_nsca May 26 '22 Wholesome Heartwarming

All you can do is be there for him and his kids if possible. Love is everything when you're locked up. It gives hope and motivation to be a better person. I wish you all the luck in the world

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u/SunsetDreams1111 May 26 '22

This gave me tears. Thank you internet friend. We do have a lot of love. My nephew’s teacher said anytime her class is getting out of hand, my nephew always goes to her and comforts her. So this little boy is so full of empathy. He’s really struggling from a place of worry with his dad. But we will get through it together and I’ll be the best aunt possible during this time. We will also make sure my brother knows we’re there for him every step of the way

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u/Mbayer92 May 26 '22

Just going to carry on with your comment a bit from my experiences. Love doesn't mean just or even mainly financially. Its more visiting and answering calls whenever you can and provide support and structure from the outside. Even a 3 minute call a couple times a day can make an entire day better for people on the inside

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u/Necessary-Rabbit-340 May 25 '22 Helpful

how boring it is. you spend your entire time just waiting. waiting for court. waiting for a sentence. waiting to get out. it’s a level of boredom i never want to experience again. it made me realize why so many people commit suicide in prison.

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u/nnnoooeee May 25 '22

Seriously. Between regular prison stuff, it's all just fucking waiting in lines. Picking up commissary? Go wait in line. Doctors appointment? We'll wake you up at 4am so you can go wait in line. (Also, why did the doctors always have to check me out at 4am? One time, they woke me up for medical and for a split sec I didn't know where I was so I just put my hands down my pants and went back to sleep. Guards just laughed and told me to wake my ass up...lol)

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u/[deleted] May 25 '22

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u/Anothergood1 May 26 '22

In the hospital it’s cuz the night shift has way more time for such things

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u/Roninkin May 26 '22

Ohh so that’s why I saw prisoners only at night in the ER. (Constantly sick)

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u/p1xode May 25 '22

feels much the same in a psych ward

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u/Ashotep May 26 '22

No kidding. Your feeling of helplessness is so intense. I sat there thinking I was just a bit down and sad. So now you lock me up and treat me like child and expect me to suddenly be happy? I didn't gain anything from it except learning to keep my sadness to myself and not reach out for help.

Left the place barely being able to function from my depression to being so drugged up I could barely function. No change in my status to society etc. Just a change in the cause.

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u/p1xode May 26 '22

Yeah, of course you still feel like shit after getting out. Hospitals are really just for stabilization, the real work comes after. At least it usually fast tracks you into outpatient treatment.

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u/Jesscahhhhh May 26 '22

As someone who’s been in psych hospitals many times this is accurate

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u/Duke_Shambles May 25 '22

Prison society is exceptionally polite 99% of the time. Inmates have some of the best manners of anyone you will ever interact with. They hold doors for the next person even if they are far away and have to wait. They say please and thank you. They do not insult each other or show disrespect.

If you are ever in prison and see inmates acting impolite towards each other, get the fuck out of there. That 1% when it's not polite is extraordinarily violent and dangerous.

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u/NaughtyFred May 26 '22

"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split"

Robert E. Howard.

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u/RabbitHoleSpaceMan May 25 '22 Helpful

I’m late to this, but I used to work with underserved/at-risk youth and went through the equivalent of a “scared straight” program at a Southern California prison (so I could learn more about it, determine if it could help deter any of my students from going further down a bad path, blah blah).

I saw a lot of fucked up stuff in just one day (stuff unrelated to the program). But oddly, the thing that stuck w me the most was walking by a tiny cell that housed 7 bunks (14 beds). There was an enormous guy in the cell (6’6+) named “Kongo”. He pointed at this steel toilet in the middle of the cell and goes “14 of us share that toilet. And when you shit, you’re shitting in front of everyone. Rap music glorifies thug life, but I’ve never heard a song talk about shitting on a cold toilet in front of an audience”. For some reason that stuck with me.

Only positive thing I experienced that day was an inmate telling me he never graduated high school. Due to some changes in California graduation requirements, he actually qualified for a degree retroactively. He just needed to write a letter to his former school district. No one told him. He still had a lot of years left on his sentence, but due to our random run-in w each other, he’ll at least have his diploma when he gets out.

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u/ancientsoop May 25 '22

Kongo really has some good life advice man.

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u/leftlegYup May 25 '22

we need to start a campaign where the logo is 9 people watching someone poop.

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u/drunken-acolyte May 25 '22

"I got a standing ovation for my evacuation

My shit bare stinks like my situation"

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u/Suitable_Panic_7558 May 25 '22

Ex-Con here. One thing about Prison I feel like people don’t understand when I tell them my story is that Prison (at least for me) isn’t entirely like what it is in the media. Yeah sure there is Riots, Yard fights, people get shanked, and there scary dudes who look like they want to kill you but in reality they just look mean and scary as a way to protect themselves. For instance there was this big tough dude who was actually a chill dude and got cigs and stuff for others guys if you treated him right (not sexually). So in reality if you treat other inmates right and don’t bad mouth anyone then you’ll be fine. Just don’t do the what the “skinny idiot” did, and that is act all SUPER tough and get in peoples faces because that is what will get you beaten up.

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u/He-Hate-Me- May 25 '22

Correct! Mind your fucking bidness! If you do that and keep your mouth shut. You can ride it out without having to join up with others.

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u/Totallycasual May 25 '22

I'll take a different angle on this instead of the usual horror stories, as violent and crazy as it was, there were a lot of good parts too. As someone that has had a pretty chaotic life, having a secure day to day life, employment and lots of trusted friends around me for a few years was really nice.

There's a certain level of comfort that comes with being surrounded by murderers that you're actually friends with, new inmates come and go but you're tucked away in the long term unit where there's a 3 month waiting list to even apply to transfer in, it really was a very peaceful experience for me.

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u/shirtlessin1stclass May 25 '22

It seems to me that that is a two edged sword as many inmates that get out after several years become institutionalized

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u/_RageBoner_ May 25 '22

I was a federal corrections officer for a short period of time. There was an inmate one of my first days when a veteran officer was showing me around, and he walked by one of the cells and looks in and goes, “What? You’re back?” and the guy just goes, “Yep, me again…” The officer introduced me to him and said he was alright and not to worry about him too much. Dude was hand drawing a photorealistic portrait of a woman with a pencil… it was beautiful.

Later after I was left solo in the unit I went back to that dude and was like, “I take it you come and go often. What’s up with that?“ and the guy was basically like, “I’ve been in and out of jail since I was like 15. I just feel more at home here than out in society… so I get out, then get tired of life outside, and so I do some stupid, petty shit that gets me thrown back in. Life is easier in here.”

It was sad, but I actually kinda get it. You have a scheduled life, food served for you (even if it does suck,) you can choose to work or not, you can take classes, have therapy sessions, go to church, you have “friends” around you at all times, and you’ll always have a roof over your head.

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u/siskulous May 25 '22

Dude was hand drawing a photorealistic portrait of a woman with a pencil… it was beautiful.

Reminds me of a story shared with me by a friend who was deputy at the county jail. They had this one guy, in and out constantly. He was a phenomenal artist. He'd go in for a month and make a dozen drawings that could have sold for a couple hundred dollars each in a gallery and would have been right at home in any art museum. But he only drew when he was in jail, and he was always in and out of jail because, in his own words, he couldn't get a job and didn't have any way other than crime to pay his bills. It apparently never even occurred to him to put that extraordinary talent to work and sell his drawings. Of all the stories my friend shared with me I found that one to be the saddest.

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u/_RageBoner_ May 25 '22

That’s what I said to that guy, too, that he needs to sell his drawings because they were phenomenal. Like I genuinely had to stare at the picture for a bit because I thought he was just shading/doodling over top of a printed black and white photograph.

There was another guy in the same unit that was the tattoo guy. Tattooing was prohibited, but even the veteran officer told me, “They gotta get money for commissary somehow, so we just tell him that as long as we don’t actually see his kit out or him actively doing the ink, we just pretend it isn’t happening.” That dude did some legit tattoos for what he had to use. I would just tell him when I knew he was about to tattoo, “Alright, I’m starting my rounds in a few minutes… but I wont walk by your cell, so just carry on.”

I was admittedly a terrible CO in that sense, and it’s the biggest reason I quit so quickly - I knew I was way too lenient and was gonna get fired eventually. I just felt for the dudes.

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u/kirmobak May 25 '22 Silver

I don’t think that makes you sound like a terrible CO - you sound like someone with a lot of empathy. More prison guards should be like you.

I used to work for the ministry of justice in the UK, and went on several prison visits related to my work. I was surprised by how decent the guards and governors were. They didn’t talk down to the prisoners at all. And all were in despair at how little funding they had, and couldn’t spend the money on the rehabilitation programmes they wanted. And because there are no votes in giving money to house prisoners the situation just gets more dire.

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u/Gacsam May 25 '22

I was admittedly a terrible CO in that sense, and it’s the biggest reason I quit so quickly - I knew I was way too lenient and was gonna get fired eventually. I just felt for the dudes.

You just treated them as normal human beings, rather than a bunch of criminals. Something worth respecting, a lot of people just see it black and white.

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u/necro-mancer May 25 '22 edited May 26 '22

There is a quote from the film Lean On Me which will always stick with me..

"If you treat them like animals, that's exactly how they'll behave." -Joe Clark

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u/Ural_2004 May 25 '22

That's my observation from the times I've been in ADCs. If you stick a person in a cage and treat them like an animal, you should not be surprised that when you let them out of the cage that they behave like animals.

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u/Anjelikka May 25 '22

Exact opposite of a shitty CO. Perhaps you were a shitty slaveowner, but inmates are still humans trying to manage with stress. As a former inmate, we aren't sitting there making weapons to kill CO's with all day. If anything, treat the inmates with respect, they will treat you the same.

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u/keanovan May 25 '22

I used to work in mental health, and had a guy who was kind of like that. Living in the outside world was so difficult for him because he had been incarcerated for a majority of his life. He did some small thing, and ended up taking a plea deal. He said it was easier for him to be inside than out.

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u/badluckbrians May 25 '22 Silver Take My Energy

To me the most appealing thing is knowing that stuff mostly can't be taken away from you.

Everything on the outside is so conditional. You can make every mortgage payment on time and in full for 20 years, hit a rough patch, and you're homeless. One layoff, and no more healthcare. One cancer diagnosis, and your whole life savings is gone forever – you'll probably lose your job and your house too. Can't afford the electric or gas bill, and you freeze.

There is no security on the outside. You can easily end up not eating nor having a roof over your head by doing nothing wrong whatsoever. The day you can't make those monthly payments, it all gets taken away. Doesn't matter how hard you worked or how good you were every month before then. You get no credit for any of that.

Knowing that you've constantly got that loaded gun to your head is stressful. Knowing that you really have very limited control as to when or whether it will go off is just the wild part about American middle class life.

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u/bstyledevi May 25 '22

Shitty health care is better than no health care at all. A cot in a cell is better than a box on the ground outside. Poor quality bland food is better than going hungry.

I feel you.

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u/USPO-222 May 25 '22

I work in US Probation and a term we sometimes have for those guys is that they’re doing life on an installment plan.

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u/Rude-Particular-7131 May 25 '22

That was my brother. He was in and out of juvenile detention and went to prison at 18. When he was clean he was great to be around, using whole other story. He went missing for seven years on a heroin safari in Seattle. My other brother found him, brought him back and he cleaned up, had a job and his own place. Started using again, got high one night and killed his wife. He died in prison about six years ago. Last time I saw him was in 1996.

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u/TrashPanda365 May 25 '22

An old friend I ran around with during high school killed his girlfriend. I had not seen him for some time, I was watching the news and they put his face up on the screen and I about shat myself. I knew her too. Very sad. So he went in at around 19 and since we're the same age, he's pushing 50 now.

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u/FEED_ME_SARA May 25 '22

This same thing happens with people in rehabs. When I was in rehab there was a kid in his early 20s in there with me that described the same thing. Had been to rehab around 20 times

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u/zerbey May 25 '22

As sad as it may sound, for some people prison is the first stable and secure existence they've ever known. That's why there needs to be strong programs to help young kids who end up there learn how to live in a normal society. Otherwise, yeah they either become institutionalized or they just get into the revolving door of becoming a career criminal.

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u/Totallycasual May 25 '22

Yeah, that's always a risk.

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u/Throwaway_Tenderloin May 25 '22

There's a certain level of comfort that comes with being surrounded by murderers that you're actually friends with

I used to talk and drink coffee each morning in the print shop with an inmate called Cookie. Pretty surreal looking back and realising I used to hang out with a guy who beat someone to death.

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u/teneggomelet May 25 '22

My mom taught classes in a prison after she retired. She said that since classes were a privilege they had to earn, all of her students were very well behaved.

Mom also said that if she needed someone murdered, many of her students told her they could take care of that for her.

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u/[deleted] May 26 '22

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u/Totallycasual May 25 '22

Murderers are the best people to be around in there because they're very set in their ways and like to avoid all of the prison politics, the more you can do to distance yourself from the people doing short sentences, the better.

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u/Throwaway_Tenderloin May 25 '22

Yeah I remember the lifers being pretty chill or if they weren't you knew to avoid them because of that glazed, pale look they have in their eyes.

Worst people in there were younger guys bringing in postcode rivalries from the outside.

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u/Totallycasual May 25 '22

Yeah, i avoided people doing small sentences, not only because they often make more trouble than long termers, but it also sucks to make a friend, incorporate them in your day to day life and then watch them go home. It's always better to stick to your own kind (in terms of temperament and sentence length).

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u/Kaarvaag May 25 '22

I can imagine there are relatively a lot of people that might not even want to get out. Although they would have freedom, the world would be so different, open, complicated and unforgiving. If you have been in prison for a long time and don't know anybody on the outside and don't know what to do or where to go, of course you are getting back in prison.

One of the biggest factors in being incarcerated again surely must be the complete lack of help, guidance or infrastructure to people who just got released.

The whole system is horrible, and should be revolutionized. It's not going to happen, but it should.

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u/Totallycasual May 25 '22

I was very fortunate in that i got a job immediately and my family let me stay with them briefly while i saved up for a cheap apartment/car. People like me are rare though, most people get out to nothing, have no support and at best are staring down the barrel of long term unemployment and living on the fringes of society.

Nobody is the slightest bit interested on what can be done to help reintegrate these people back into society, they don't want them in society, that's why recidivism rates are so high.

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u/Ufakefeufaka May 25 '22 Bravo Grande!

Being institutionalized in general is something the general public would not understand, I remember when my uncle got out after serving a 10 year sentence we had to explain to the kids they couldn’t just wake him up like normal bc he may wake up violent or scared, we had to tell the kids not to scream or take anything from his room, he was on a strict schedule even after being released (wake up at 5am, work out, sweep, read, eat, etc etc EVERY DAY same schedule. He would set new boundaries which we respected. It was a learning experience for the entire family, even to this day his schedule remains the same, he’s having a hard time getting a job because of certain things. It’s actually interesting.

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u/Alastasian May 25 '22

That’s someone who figured out survival on the long haul

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u/Ufakefeufaka May 25 '22

Yeah, he says it was easier for him inside

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u/ctindel May 26 '22

I think some people just do better with that kind of rigid institutional structure because when left to their own freedom and devices they get into trouble. It's too bad the military and prison are really the only major such institutions, not everybody wants to be an instrument of war (or in prison/halfway house).

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u/JacobWesleyMartin May 25 '22

Some of the people that I met inside are really dumb.... For example there were strangely a lot of people that didn't believe in dinosaurs...

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u/VAisforLizards May 25 '22

Well duh... my fundamentalist Baptist education taught me that dinosaurs didn't exist. The bones were put in the ground to test our faith.

(I was actually taught that in a 4th grade science class in Louisiana)

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u/Brett420 May 25 '22

One of my best friends from high school, and truly one of the otherwise smartest guys I have ever known - graduate in mechanical engineering, understands how to build robots, all that kinda stuff...

He once told me exactly what you just said - Jesus created fossils as a test of faith for Christians.

It's amazing the kind of cognitive dissonance people allow themselves to live with so that they don't have to question their religion.

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u/Ridry May 25 '22

When my science teacher in NYC public school was asked about man being created on the 6th day and how could dinosaurs exist in a time before man he sat down with the religious kid and said

"Listen. What is a day? The time it takes the Earth to rotate, right? What is a day on Mercury? About 60 of our days. What is a day to God? It's perfectly possible to believe the Earth was made in 6 days and that they are much longer than our days."

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u/JohnnyFoxborough May 25 '22

Brought up in fundamentalist school. Taught from the very earliest age that dinosaurs were real. We even sang songs about them in class. I cant even fathom your school.

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u/Mr_Frible May 25 '22

Flushing your farts. air doesn't circulate worth shit so smells linger so if you feel a fart coming on sit and flush it away.

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u/BshMrym May 25 '22

That prison isn’t free.

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u/ZotDragon May 25 '22

So many people don't realize this is the case in many states in the US.

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u/BerryLanky May 25 '22

That is interesting. Had no idea you got billed. Learned something new

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u/PurpleTurle711 May 25 '22

To buy simple groceries, like I’m talking ramen and honey buns you’re looking at mark ups of anywhere from 200-500%. The real ringer of that is that that usually comes from the communities that inmates come from, their support: families, friends, etc.

It’s not fair. I wasn’t an inmate at any point, but I was a CO. Most other COs are dickheads.

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u/bouncy_cashewnut May 25 '22

huh?

can you please elaborate

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u/BshMrym May 25 '22

You get a bill from the state after your release, even if you worked while in prison

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u/bouncy_cashewnut May 25 '22

bruh what if you just life in prison lol

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u/LazuliArtz May 25 '22 edited May 26 '22

I'm gonna guess that this is one of the causes of people intentionally choosing to go back to prison.

Employers won't hire you, and if they do they often pay much less than normal, you can't afford food or housing, you may have no social support

Yeah, it's easy to see why people intentionally go to prison - you are guaranteed food and shelter, you have a structured routine, you can choose to work or not, and you have the opportunity for social connections with people like you.

Edit: grammar

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u/helpitgrow May 25 '22 edited May 26 '22 Gold

I went to jail for a dui. I’m not the jail “type” and yes, there is a type. It was a new experience for me at 42. The saddest thing I found was the amount of women who had spent their adulthood in and out of jail. Many said it was the only place they felt truly safe. SAFE. It blew my mind. They described feeling relief when they were arrested because they get to go “home”. Most were born into horrific situations. Often a mom and daughter reconnected while both were inmates. Addiction went back generations. Rape was talked about like it was a normal occurrence. I left with a deep appreciation for my own life situation. I know now I have it pretty darn good.

Edited to add -Thank you so much for the gold kind stranger. It is my first.

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u/Elder_Scrolls_Nerd May 25 '22

The US prison system just fucks you over. Social stigma, no jobs, no loans, no safety nets, and you may not have a place to sleep. Why not go back? Our system doesn’t fix people and reintegrate them, just breaks them

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u/Ned_Ryers0n May 25 '22

A lot of people in prison are pretty normal, they just have zero impulse control.

Everyone feels like beating the shit out of a stranger in public sometimes, some people just don’t have the thing in their brain that tells them not to do it. That’s why it’s idiotic to start shit with people on the street, you never know who is willing to throw their life away in a moment of passion.

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u/srcarruth May 25 '22

I did a week in county jail once and damn near every guy in there was in because they did stupid shit while on meth. most of them were reasonable enough when I met them, sober and well fed

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u/Ned_Ryers0n May 25 '22

Yeah, drugs are a huge reason why people do stupid shit. Some guys just completely lose the ability to think rationally.

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u/Smallson78 May 25 '22

It is nothing like movies, I was 1,5 years in semi-max prison. But one thing really sucks is that health care is fucking joke. They take all your medicines away, which can be abused, even though you had these for legimate reasons for years, then they make you basically cold-turkey that shit.

Honestly that is my only complaint. But anyways the locked up feeling and boredom, missing your family which you see once month through plastic glass, is hard to explain, but you get used to jail life.

First months are hard because you have no idea what to expect, how to act, but if you are there in for something related to children… You wish you were dead

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u/traceyh415 May 25 '22

I can speak to county jail:

There is a lot of drugs. So sending ppl to jail to detox is weird

If you don't have commissary or a friend in the kitchen, you may not get enough food

ppl die from lack of medical/dental treatment

calls are expensive as fuck. Some jails only allow video visits (that cost $)

lots of gambling and loansharking (for food 2 for 1s)

A lot of violence happens outside the line of sight of COs.

You spend a lot of time doing nothing, just sitting on your bunk during count etc.

The jail is full of mostly poor people who have various types of disabilities including mental health, dyslexia, etc and mostly POC. Almost every woman I was in jail with was either a DV of SA survivor.

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u/dollyprincessb May 25 '22 Helpful Wholesome

I was in a female prison so my experiences are different.

Sex happened a lot. And it was weirdly casual in a fucked up way. Between guards and inmates. And inmates and other inmates. A lot of girls had boyfriends or husbands on the outside but would blow a guard for extra commissary or finger each other because you were bored standing in line. This seriously happened. Gay for the stay is surprisingly accurate.

Good sanitary products were like gold for us. You know the common trope in prison is cigarettes are currency? It was like that with good tampons and pads. Someone smuggled in a box of diapers (idk how). And she was like a queen for the week because they could be used as makeshift pads. A lot of us sync up as well so you could hoard some good stuff and wait for the right week to sell.

Some people’s lives are ruined by going to prison. In many different ways. We had an 18 year old girl come in. Straight A student, super smart, super nice. Very innocent good girl type. By the time I left about a year later she was someone’s bitch. Tatted up like crazy. Was known for being able to get certain drugs.

It was depressing seeing the downward spiral. Prison destroyed this girl. And there’s hundreds of stories like this.

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u/tjcline09 May 25 '22

How did she end up there if you don't mind sharing?

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u/dollyprincessb May 25 '22

We don't know exactly. Rumor was she was selling Adderall and someone died. But I felt like that rumor just started because we all knew she was a straight A student.

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u/Arra13375 May 25 '22 edited May 25 '22

I took prescribed adderall in highschool and told NO ONE because I knew as soon as word got out I’d be getting new people trying to be my friend. I eventually just switched medication

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u/AlanaTheGreat May 25 '22

One of my friends in my dorm building freshman year got bothered all the time for her Adderall even though she told everyone she wasn't going to sell it and actually needed it. But it didn't matter. People still asked her all the time.

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u/Myfourcats1 May 25 '22

People did that to me if they knew I had pain meds. Sure I’ll sell you my pills so you can get high. Excuse me while I sit over here in horrible pain.

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u/Strict_Rest May 25 '22

Yes, a co-worker who was an addict faked being a doctor, got hold of my private hospital room number somehow, and instead of asking me if I was going to live through my cancer, implied he'd like some of my medication. I don't mean to be judgmental of addicts; but I never spoke to him again .

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u/hortonwearsawho May 25 '22

As someone with endometriosis and periods that last for more than 2 weeks a lot of times, I think I would be absolutely fucked if I ever went to prison due to how many sanitary products I would go through and how painful the cramps are.

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u/paper_wavements May 25 '22

Yep, you would be.

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u/Zonerdrone May 25 '22

Sadly the "system" in general ruins a lot of people. And it starts in the foster system while they're young. You can have a good kid taken for protection from his shitty parents. But the other kids they out them with and the animals who slip through the cracks and work there will corrupt them. Happened to me.

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u/srstone71 May 25 '22

So wait, pardon my ignorance here, but basic hygiene products were not simply provided? Like, if you were a female prisoner and got your period but lacked the means to acquire pads and tampons from fellow inmates, were you actually shit out of luck? You weren’t provided with anything?

Or was it you were provided with the cheapest bare minimum products and if you wanted any semblance of quality you had to pay?

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u/dollyprincessb May 25 '22

They provided really terrible products and not enough of them. Specially if you had a heavy period.

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u/sugarplumbuttfluck May 26 '22

I wasn't in prison, but I had a short stint in jail and I was on my period, the COs basically told me to get bent and use toilet paper. Of course, you had to ask permission to even go to the bathroom, and very often they "didn't notice you".

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u/unklegill May 25 '22

Prison is a mindset and in many ways you can’t leave that mindset after you’ve left. I still have many mental issues or triggering situations just from my inability to leave that mindset and it’s been almost 6 years. Someone told me it’s a form of ptsd but idk

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u/Cloaked42m May 26 '22

It is. Therapy helps with that. Or just talk to random strangers online. Sometimes just saying shit out loud is enough to let it go.

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u/Throwaway_Tenderloin May 25 '22

Coming from the UK I don't think our prisons can compare with the US and other countries but they can still be quite dangerous even if you're in a Cat B where there's a mix of all kinds of offenders.

One thing is that when there is violence it's actually kind of silly, I remember a guy punching a member of the kitchen crew because he didn't give him enough slices of bread. Or when a guy was beaten bloody with a table leg because he was in debt with 'double bubble', which is a kind of tobacco loansharking. Inmates take stuff like that seriously.

Also not everyone in there is evil and ruthless all the time. I remember there were a couple of lads on my wing who got taxed, bullied and just couldn't stand up for themselves. One had all his stuff including his blanket taken off him. So a bunch of the hardcases on the wing decided to go after the bullies and gave them the ultimatum, give him his stuff back and leave him alone or we'll kick the shit out of you.

I also think people underestimate how intelligent some of inmates actually are. But also I don't think people realise how fucking stupid a lot of the inmates are. Like, I had no idea it was possible to be that dull.

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u/Likes_The_Scotch May 25 '22

The pettiest place in the world is a prison.

I volunteered at a Canadian lumber prison camp-type place. Grams of tobacco shared were remembered and had to be paid back ASAP.

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u/BeardyBeardy May 25 '22

Lumber prison? they chop and process wood for construction? Tell us more, sounds interesting

How do you weigh a gram of tobacco? What were they using as the gram comparison?

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u/Muted_Dog May 25 '22 edited May 25 '22

Yea I’d believe that, my uncle did a 10 year stretch. He never had any formal education because he was constantly in and out of boys homes, but I swear he has to be one of the smartest guys I know. The man could sell ice to an Eskimo, ya know.

Once he got out he pretty much threw in the towel on his former life and decided to go straight. He charmed his way into an entry level job sweeping floors at a manufacturing warehouse (this was back in the 80s when you could do that) and worked his way up to an executive position. They even paid for him take classes at university.

That whole time no one figured out he had a criminal record that could fill a medium-sized binder.

I honestly believe in another life he would have been a three star general or CEO.

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u/Throwaway_Tenderloin May 25 '22

I like hearing about guys like your uncle. You don't get to hear stories like that a lot but it's always good when you do.

I tend to keep quiet about my past and fortunately no employer has been any wiser.

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u/moto0392 May 25 '22 edited May 25 '22

I worked a short time in a jail. Here's an interesting story. A man in his late 30's was doing jail time due to not paying child support. This guy had worked in an auto plant for years and was laid off. He didn't have any other skills and was struggling to find another job. Don't get me wrong I strongly believe in paying child support, but this guy was in a jam. If I remember right one of the first things they do is take your drivers license for non payment. Of course this makes it even tougher. Anyway it's this guys first night in jail. He's never been in any kind of trouble before.

He's in a cell with 2 other guys. One of the guys accuses the other one of eating his snack, a bear claw. They get into a scuffle but things finally settle down. The guy wakes up in the middle of the night. His cell mate was attacking the bear claw thief eventually stabbing him to death. There was blood everywhere. I can't imagine the trauma this guy went through having witnessed this his very first night ever in jail. Just the look of fear in his eyes talking to him about what happened is something I won't forget. Another inmate later admitted to eating the guys bear claw.

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u/Dr_thri11 May 25 '22

Another inmate later admitted to eating the guys bear claw.

Think I would've taken that to the grave.

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u/daveescaped May 26 '22

Right. Like, what are you supposed to say at that point? “Oops. My bad”.

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u/imjustacodemonkey May 25 '22

Did a year in the county. You better like ramen and being extremely bored. People on the outside don't realize how important letters are to you when ur doing a bid and how shitty it is when ur people don't answer the phone. Communicating with a loved one in jail makes all the difference in the world.

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u/dammmmitDESTINY41 May 26 '22

How much of a toll it takes on childhood sexual abuse survivors to go thru years of having to be naked in front of anyone anytime whether you want to or not. Strip searches, letting guards look up your private parts for contraband sometimes 4-6 times a day and they can also talk to you like your garbage as they do it. The showering, shitting and peeing in front of many strangers and cellmates is already horrid for all involved but was an expected nightmare from the beginning. The part of not having a say in whether or not I get to be naked or not fucked me up. I completed parole in 2017, have not been in any trouble at all not even a speeding ticket, and I'm sober now and paying more in cash for therapy and MAT than i would a car payment. I am fully independent. However I can't sleep if anyone else is the the room, much less share a bed. I refuse to be intimate with anyone. I learned to have serious boundaries and enforce them I guess.. but that dignity loss fucks up incarcerated ppl.

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u/FastLife95 May 25 '22

You will be starved of medical attention, wether your withdrawing severely or have chest pain. If you buzz up, most of the time you’ll be told ‘you’re fine’ or a guard will look through the flap 8 hours later. You’ve basically got to die to get any attention.

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u/Nicktastic86 May 25 '22

Type-1 diabetic here who spent 5 days in jail. They routinely kept my blood sugar between 400 and 500, took my pump, kept me on an irregular insulin regimen. I felt like shit the whole time, sometimes like I was dying, but they didn't care, because I could function and it would be more inconvenient for them if I was low and could possibly pass out.

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u/zakpakt May 25 '22

Had this problem when I was locked up over a weekend. I get chronic migraines and was in withdrawal. Pleaded with guards for some Tylenol or ibuprofen. They just laughed.

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u/ApatheticWithoutTheA May 25 '22

I’ll back you up on that.

I had 3 seizures in jail and they didn’t even call an ambulance. Thought I was faking it until the 4th one when I slammed my head into a table.

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u/move_zee_chains May 25 '22

If you've never been, You wouldn't understand:

  • Everyone's sexual needs will be satisfied...with, or without privacy.
  • Never tell anyone when you are getting a visit or money on your books.
  • Never borrow anything.
  • Never be friendly with anyone holding a badge.
  • Always ask permission to sit on anyone's bed and NEVER sit where that person would lay their head.

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u/kentaxas May 25 '22

I can understand all of these except the visit. I'm not saying i'd go around telling people someone is comkng to see me today but why would you actively keep quiet about it?

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u/move_zee_chains May 25 '22

Typically, when you get a visit, your family (or whoever is visiting you) is allowed to purchase items for you. Essentially, you’re “re-upping” with tradable/currency.

This was the case in the state I did time. I’m sure it’s similar in other states, too.

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u/kentaxas May 25 '22

Ah gotcha so basically the same reason to not tell people you were gonna receive money: to not have them on your ass asking or demanding a cut

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u/move_zee_chains May 25 '22

Well, not only that….but if you have money, you can buy/accumulate stuff. Said stuff can be stolen.

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u/Eggsor May 25 '22

Never tell anyone when you are getting a visit or money on your books.

Kind of a good rule on the outside as well

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u/No_Philosopher_6741 May 25 '22 edited May 26 '22

How hard it is to come home. Being away from your own house and family for an extended amount of time becomes an uncomfortable element to come back into. To me it felt like it wasn't my house. Like I was walking on eggshells around my home feeling like I'm a guest in my wife's house. Even though I'd been in contact with my wife and children though out the entire bid, I almost felt like I was reintroducing my self. Sleeping with a very familiar stranger. And sometimes unwittingly to me I would make my wife feel as if I weren't present. It all came back around to be totally normal again. But I wasn't expecting that and I don't think my wife or children could really understand how that felt

To loved ones: Don't forget your person is in hell; even if them being there puts you through hell. Outside relationships with loved ones was majorly important to me. It's ok if you can't understand our situation or feelings. Not being forgotten or lost is what counted most to me. Besides, we're still the same person you know. Just thrusted into a different world. Find support for yourself, it's out there

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u/Lonewolfayanokoji May 25 '22

I sat in a Norwegian prison for a month, it's not a long time at all. It was basically; If you take every bully from every class and put them all inside a camp, that's what it felt like. Although you walk on eggshells, not to offend anyone, not to give information and if they ask, what will happen if they find out you lie? there's a lot of thoughts going on. But at the same time i really gained som clarity in there, when i came out nothing affected me as much anymore, which is nice. Every problem seemed small compared to what it used to.

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u/scorpiogaet May 25 '22

And Norwegian prison as described as nice place compared to other nations jails

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u/Lonewolfayanokoji May 25 '22

Exactly! That being said i was at a ''foreign'' prison in Norway where it was only other ethnicities because regular prisons where full. It was literally me and one other white person there. And nobody spoke Norwegian

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u/brawnkoh May 25 '22

As other's have mentioned. There's a respect level that's unparalleled with the outside world. Someone steps on your shoes, or vice versa, people apologize. When you interact, you treat each other with mutual respect.

Theft is also a big one. Both in a cell, and on a tier, I never locked my storage locker. I, not once, had anyone attempt to steal anything, rummage through my shit, etc. I was surrounded by thieves, all of which who didn't steal. There's also weird honor codes with theft in prison. If you take something from someone to their face, it's okay. If you sneakily steal something behind their back, you're going to have a rough time.

Shower shoes. It took me years to get used to having my bare feet in a shower.

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u/StonkMangr92 May 25 '22

How important it is to mind your own fucking business

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u/Claude_Mariposa May 25 '22

Coming back into society is strange and hard. The boredom, structure, monotony and social norms are completely gone once you’re back in public.

It’s jarring and tough to deal with sometimes.

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u/hels1989 May 25 '22

I work with young offenders (UK) and the more prolific offenders who go to custody who typically have more chaotic lives, tend to thrive inside. They get education, mental health support, substance misuse work, more consistent adults in their life, a routine and access to health care. Whilst I never condone children being imprisoned, sometimes it can be the best thing that can happen to them, which summarises their lives on the outside. How incredibly sad that children function better inside a prison than with their families but sometimes it can improve their outcomes when they're being so drastically failed on the outside.

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u/Donnaaahh May 25 '22

Finally something I have an answer to!

I spent three years in a womens prison in Arizona. One of the first things I noticed is that as a coping mechanism, some women began to somehow regress mentally and act very child like. When I say child like I mean by baby talking.

I noticed my neighbor doing this when I first arrived and I was like well that’s odd, I definitely thought it was just a weird personality trait she had. Then I went around and met more people and saw that so many of them were doing it! They would baby talk and throw pretend fits and refer to themselves as bad babies? It was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.

Also, many of the officers there are consistently inappropriate and having relationships and sex with some of the inmates. I had one in particular ask if he could lick my toes, a girl I knew had sex with one and he snuck her in vodka.

Dental care is horrific. Have a tooth ache? They want to pull it out. Have something seriously wrong with your health and you can’t get out of bed? Too bad, if you don’t go to work you get a “ticket” and if you get one of those you can no longer make phone calls home or order commissary. And if you go to medical they just tell you to drink more water, it’s their one size fits all medical advice.

Lots of sexual relationships between the inmates. Caused a lot of drama but endless entertainment. Many people develop weird nicknames, I can’t tell you how many girls nicknamed “Breezy” or “Flaca” that I met.

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u/GreenGoozi May 25 '22

I work with a woman that goes by breezy lol does it mean anything in particular or just a cute name kind of deal for women with bri-whatever names?

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u/PigLatin99 May 25 '22

My father worked in prisons for over 25 years. One thing he told me that stuck with me was inmates saying how they missed the feeling of their body being submerged in water. There are only showers in jail and prisons and some of these men were locked up for decades. Imagine never feeling that weightless feeling again if you were serving a life sentence.

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u/Triple_C_ May 25 '22

One of my best friends did 6 1/2 years on a white collar crime. However, he was at a medical facility because of his diabetes. Therefore, there were individuals from all the Federal security levels. He said something that I thought was interesting - in prison he met the worst, most despicable human beings he'd ever met...and he met the finest human beings he'd ever met.

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u/EricClaptonsDeadSon May 25 '22

Sometimes they are the same guy!

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u/SublimeNitemare82663 May 25 '22 Platinum

Spend over 12 yrs behind the Walls, a few different facilities but all the same Inside. I missed pay phones, CD players, microwave’s ect all things I had no idea what they were when I got out. I was taken out & forgotten. I didn’t know how to Act people treated me differently & I still have a hard time adjusting, I spend 90% of my life alone I don’t trust nor want to be around people anymore. I only go to food store’s that’s it. I stay by myself. I find I brought a lot of institution life home with me, it’s what ai know, simple safe. Can’t sit with my back to the exits, Ramen Noodles w/ tuna mayo skip jack ect. Put on bread making sandwiches. Still do that too. My wtf happened to me?!?

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u/Sir_Distic May 25 '22
  1. Rape doesn't happen nearly as much as you think. In reality there are plenty of gay guys willing to be sold. Rape happens mostly as punishment, especially for owing someone. "Don't drop the soap." Yes because soap costs money and the prison shower floors are some of the nastiest places you can imagine.
  2. You're going to have to fight. If someone tests you you're going to have to fight. Even if you lose. If you don't fight you will be a target. Everyone knows they can take anything from you. They'll come to your cell and make you give it to them. Gangs will do it to. They may even make you give them your phone pin so they can call people outside.
  3. Mostly it's boring, unless you're caught up in some drama. For many people they treat it like high school.
  4. Keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut. Keep your head on a swivel so you don't get blindsided but more importantly is stay out of other people's business. You see two guys dealing drugs? Walk away and act like you didn't see shit. Seen a guy tattooing in his cell? No the fuck you didn't.
  5. There is a disturbing amount of people in US jails with mental health issues. Many are not on meds.
  6. Prisons do not care about you. At all. They will give you enough food to keep you alive. The same with medicine and medical care. Most of the time anyway. If you complain a lot about being sick and can't show symptoms they make think you're faking and will ignore you. Hope you don't have serious issues or you'll die screaming in your bed.
  7. Deaths happen often in prison. Suicides, old age, cancer, the occasional murder but not daily. You'll never hear about it on the outside.
  8. When you get out it's extremely hard to fully readjust to society. It gets worse the longer you are locked up.
  9. You'll meet many, many, many people. Many of them will try to get over on you. Many will be cool and you'll get to know them. They won't stick around. They'll go to seg then to another building. Or to another prison.
  10. Drugs, knives, booze, and tons of outside things are smuggled in. You can get almost anything for a price.
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u/RealGrendel May 25 '22 Gold

I spent a year and a day in a Federal Prison Camp in Oregon. I went in completely terrified of what my new life would be like and left with more friends than I had ever had in my entire life. My days were spent playing softball, reading books, playing pickle ball and watching movies, to name a few. I had a solid core group of friends that we ate every meal together and played board games daily. Within a few weeks of being there, all my stress was gone and found my stay there to be oddly enjoyable. I looked forward to waking up every day and spending time with my friends. I think I laughed more frequently the year I spent in prison than I had in at least 10 years prior. I am still friends with a handful of guys I met there and we see each other often and all are now close with each other’s families. Definitely not what I expected going in.

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u/Ragtimedude77 May 26 '22

That’s fascinating. I’m glad your experience turned out this way. I wonder if this holds true for all low-level federal prisons…

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u/Easetres May 25 '22

If you had black friends before going in and you're white. you no longer have black friends. if you are mexican and had black friends before going in. You no longer have them as friends. Color with color. race with race.

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u/Riktorislove May 25 '22

I’ve always wondering about how this works with mixed races

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u/asm129 May 25 '22

What do Asians and Indians do in jail? There doesn't seem to be enough of them to defend against all the other groups.

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u/supertoilet99 May 25 '22

Poop throwing occurs more often than you'd think. Most of the time the C.Os are the targets. A C.O will be bringing meals to the SHU block and suddenly as he opens the feed slot he'll get shit or a cup of piss thrown at him. If you piss off the wrong C.O tho he may get the ok from the LT to "throw" your cell. A few guards will come over, take you out of your cell in handcuffs, 1 will search your cell while the rest escort you somewhere there is a blind spot for the cameras and they'll beat tf out of you then throw you back in the cell and act like it never happened.

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u/Duke_Shambles May 26 '22

The idea of what a prison hustle is. Most prison hustles are really just providing a perfectly legitimate service to your fellow inmates for compensation in the form of commissary items. Things like cutting hair or hand washing laundry. You can make a lot of friends by being good at something people need. I knew people who did taxes for other inmates (not everyone in prison is destitute, some have income from businesses they own outside), I knew real lawyers that helped people with their cases, I knew people that were just diplomats basically. Of course there are plenty of people running very illegal or at least against regulation, hustles. but the vast majority were just offering services that made life more convenient for those that could afford them.

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u/HeadGivingMan May 26 '22

On the one off chance the cell block takes part in killing a pedophile, unless you got lucky the week before and ended up in the infirmary (like I did), you're expected to take part in the killing even if it add time or even life to your sentence. If you don't take part, you'll be seen as sympathetic to said pedophile which means you'll end up getting killed next.

My cell mate made it clear to the rest of the cell block I was injured in infirmary when all this went down so I when I return, no one came after me.

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u/TheGreatDingALing May 25 '22

Everyone would use the "I have heart condition!" All for attention. Guards just blew them off till one guy actually had a heart condition. Bastard didn't survive but from what he did that ended up him in there, was well deserved. Raped and murdered his wife and 2 daughters.

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u/Buchaven May 25 '22 edited May 25 '22

You should check out Larry Lawton on YT. He did something like 12 years in various US facilities for armed robbery. Served his time, got released, then made a career out of talking about his experience. He basically covers his whole book in a video series and it’s very enlightening.

Edit: “Racketeering and Robbery” not “Armed robbery”.

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u/Conscious_Lynx_8641 May 25 '22

People come out of prison and they’re very neat and organized. They’ll clean something right after they use it. Including the whole toilet after using it many times. Bedroom spotless with a bed made every morning. They’ll follow somewhat of a schedule when they first come home. I’ve never personally been to jail most of my family have spent a fair amount of time in prison.

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u/wisammy May 26 '22

two things: the moment I got out all of the clothes I was wearing and the things in my pockets when I first got locked up were returned to me. They were vacuum sealed. It was like being completely transported back to a different life. Everything even smelled the same.

Second: I had dreamed about all the things I would eat when I got out. I had this whole amazing meal planned. I got out and all I wanted to eat was the peanut butter and jelly and ramen I was used to.

Go figure

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u/[deleted] May 25 '22 edited May 25 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

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u/IZz_Zz May 25 '22 edited May 25 '22

One of my uncles who was an inmate for coming to the US illegally called us when they deported him it was 4:50 in the morning and said the dropped him in the middle of a small town and he didn’t have any money or clothes.

Edit: they didn’t give him a place to stay or anything some church people took him in since it is a very cartel based place and they don’t want people to get hurt.

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u/MadameLucario May 26 '22 edited May 26 '22

• No privacy for using the toilet. I was so struck with fear and embarrassment that I was too afraid to use the toilet.

• The showers in the female designated correctional facility granted false privacy. They were blocked off by these weird foam/plastic doors with a gap in the middle. Likely to be able to watch through the door so make sure you're not going to be attacked by an inmate or for the officers to make sure you weren't harming yourself.

• If you're new, they will pair you up with someone that is definitely a problem inmate. (She thankfully wasn't aggressive towards me because I was scared to death of her but she was on relapse from crack cocaine and was pregnant, but she was very much aggressive towards the officers).

• Spreading your pubic areas (anus and vaginal opening) and coughing in front of an officer to prove I wasn't smuggling/hiding anything felt more unnatural than having to pretend cough in front of a doctor to check my muscles in the same area. It felt humiliating.

• Police Officers (from personal experience of where I was kept) 90% of the time in correctional facilities will treat you like garbage regardless of what you're in there for. They act very indifferent to people who got arrested that have been injured either by the officers themselves or by people they were defending themselves against. I knew someone long ago that was defending herself against a crazy ex and she ended up causing more fatal injuries to said ex in order to protect herself and her 2 year old daughter. The man was put in the hospital with a collapsed lung while she escaped the scuffle with knife wounds (thankfully none were fatal) on her arms and legs). They labeled her crazy and sent her off to the psychiatric ward portion of the correctional facility.

• Most of the female inmates I was sat down with during the processing portion of my arrest in the waiting area were very friendly and comforted me when I was crying over my wrongful arrest and applauded me for calling my sister because most felt like they would be too fearful or ashamed to reach out to another family member for help. It was the most comfort I've ever felt in years in that small amount of time compared to living with my abusive father for as long as I did.

• The bedsheets that they give you are insult to injury. They hardly give you any warmth and it's not long enough to cover you completely, so you're stuck with having to be scrunched up in the fetal position in hopes that you can manage to generate your own heat to make up for how thin the sheet is.

• Having to be constantly woken up by another person is the most aggravating and most terrifying thing on the planet. I never knew if an officer was going to yank me by my hair suddenly. I was having enough trouble sleeping as it was when I was first placed in the cell and once I was finally able to rest, I would hear banging on the door and I would have to stand around lethargic and delirious from lack of sleep only to then be sent either back to bed or to be told that I could go have a snack or play basketball in the weird court cage.

• There was a video shown to any new inmates regarding sexual harassment and assault. Additionally, rape in prison does not in fact happen as often as people have rumored it to be. I would still be cautious and occasionally look over my shoulder while showering but nobody bothered to approach the shower I was in and they were off doing their own thing.

• Most of the inmates I was surrounded by when l was processed and assigned a room were actually very polite and approachable. They were very understanding of me being fearful and just wary of my surroundings and were overall very kind. Nobody would bother you if you were reading a book. It was a very interesting experience on that end despite all the other gravely traumatic parts.

Long story short, the experience is a hellish emotional rollercoaster and a lot of people who haven't experienced will never understand.

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u/Obi_Wan_Benobi May 25 '22

If you do your own time, don’t hassle anyone, DO NOT SNITCH, chances are you’ll be just fine. Watch out for those guards though. They’re the real ones to worry about.

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u/FireBack May 25 '22

(US)The food was good. I spent a month or so in a local county jail and the food was terrible. Once I got to prison though, it was really good. I spent time in three different facilities in my eight months but each time the food just got better.

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u/HurtMyKnee_Granger May 25 '22 edited May 25 '22

My dad said they didn’t get any good food because the kitchen staff would keep all the good stuff for themselves or sell it for profit. The best food he had was during the holidays.

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u/JPKtoxicwaste May 25 '22

Can i ask, what food served in particular was really good? Were there certain meals that were to be looked forward to?

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u/unoriginal5 May 25 '22

County jail where I grew up was terrible. Cup of rice crispys and a glass of milk for breakfast, 1 slice of bologna and cheese on dry white bread for lunch, and a cheap T.V. dinner for supper.

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u/BODYREMOVER88 May 25 '22

That Prisons populations are ALOT MORE RACIST than any country ever was.

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u/catsandalcohol13 May 25 '22

That was a big shock to me. I never really encountered racism until I went and worked in prisons. Then holy hell. You guys are still clinging to this hey? We had racial wars all the time, some very bad assaults, constant graffiti and the tatoos! Most have no idea what they are even angry about. They're just trying to act tough.

One white supremacist was playing N.W.A in his cell and I asked him if he knew what N.W.A stood for. He didn't.

Very ironic.

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u/tblackjacks May 25 '22

My grandfather spent most of his life in prison. One of the first things he told me about prison vs its portrayal in media is that there's a lot less raping and "prison bitches" than is shown in movies and TV, but there's as much if not more killing and murder that goes on in real life. He spent most of his time in the Walpole and Shirley prisons in Massachusetts and at one point there was a rate of one murder per week in the prison he lived in.

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u/Technobucket May 25 '22

The best comparison I can make to serving time in prison like the day to day life is a close comparison to soldiers who get sent overseas. Obviously Not so much in the obvious aspects and freedoms but with the camaraderie you build with the group of guys you get in tight with while you are in there. We ate together, we laughed together, we went to war together, we bled together. We were regimented , we had each other’s backs. The only other time I’ve heard of anyone else speak like that is when people describe what it is like overseas. Their friends and fellow soldiers. You create lifelong bonds, some of my best friends I’ve ever ever made in my life are never getting out. They’ll never go home. I’ve been out for almost 15 years now. Feel blessed to never go back so far, and never intend to. But when I hear soldiers telling their stories from overseas I get it, obviously we weren’t hero’s or anything special but I get it.

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u/_catfarts_eww May 25 '22

Do you keep in touch with those friends still inside? Would you ever go back and see them?

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u/Technobucket May 25 '22

I replied in another comment that I do still keep in touch with a good friend of mine. One of the smartest men I’ve ever met tbh. I have never went back to actually visit anyone though, I’m not sure how that would feel. Being on the other side of things. Times have definitely changed. From writing checks and hand written letters to emails now and electronic payments.

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u/I_am_Jo_Pitt May 25 '22

Yeah, after 8 years in the Navy, prison just sounds like deployment, but with more time to sleep.

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u/Technobucket May 25 '22

That was the word I was looking for. Deployment. Hearing people talk about their friends from deployment always hit weird. Talking to family and friends on the phone or through glass etc. strange how closely the two worlds get while being on the opposite end of the social spectrum.

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u/mommyv1 May 25 '22

My ex was in prison for quite a few years and he HATED having any plastic cups, plates, and utensils in our house... he said it reminded him of being locked up...

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u/gonejahman May 26 '22 edited May 26 '22

You would be surprised about how many people commit to just learning and reading. I myself knocked out nearly "every book you need to read in your life" the years I was in. Some of the guys in there are very knowledgeable and it sucks just thinking they will never use it and no one knows or even cares. I was a good chess player too, but there were I swear to god a few masters in there. Interesting time in my life. I'm strangely thankful for experiencing it.

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