Prison is a place the vast majority of us will never see away from the television or big screen. For most of us, we follow the laws and rules of society, get along with other people and don’t do anything stupid. For a small group of the population, this doesn’t hold true. People who break the law and get arrested often spend a little time in jail and/or pay a fine. Those who break the more serious laws and commit crimes like murder, assault and theft are probably looking at some serious time behind bars in a larger facility complete with matching jump suit and stainless steel toilet-sink combo. This is ‘real’ jail, a place where convicts are removed from society to serve out long time.
In general, a convict’s time in prison isn’t meant to torture but it most certainly isn’t meant to be a vacation or day spa experience. Prisoners often sleep in small cells, either isolated or crammed in with others, dress in drab clothing and follow a routine which can be rather dull at times. Sometimes certain inmates can get fed up with the routine, food or conditions of their surroundings and make demands to the prison officials or even government. Demands related to better hygiene or treatment from the guards is something you’d expect from someone locked up. But what about some of the other demands which can make us on the outside raise an eyebrow or laugh out loud?
The following looks at 10 of the most outrageous demands made by prisoners. From food and drinks to television and video games, these demands are outrageous when you consider specifically who is making them. Many people believe inmates shouldn’t get anything beyond the bare necessities when it comes to serving time. As taxpayers, those on the outside are often irate when they see prisoners demanding and getting items which law-abiding citizens have to pay for. Beyond this, there are also the less-conventional outrageous demands which, as you’ll see, show some of these prisoners are off their rocker or mocking the system which has put them behind bars. In any event, they are all outrageous in their own ways.
10. More Sports Channels
Prison is not meant to be a particularly enjoyable time for the convicts. Guilty of a crime, you are meant to be removed from the population and handed a certain amount of time to think about what you did wrong. Of course, one can’t think about bad behaviour all the time and that’s why prisoners often fill the void by watching a little television. You’d think convicts would be happy with any channels available but that wasn’t the case in one South Wales prison. The inmates of this UK facility were angered that they only got one channel to watch football. Not wanting to miss out on all the other matches, they threatened legal action if the prison didn’t sign up for the bigger sports package. Here’s an idea – don’t go to jail and you can watch all the sports you want.
9. A Real Diva Housewife
Anyone who has watched an episode of any of the Real Housewives series has seen the amount of money thrown around by the various characters. Real Housewives of New Jersey personality, Teresa Giudice, was sentenced to 15 months jail time (her husband got 41 months) for her part in bankruptcy, mail and wire fraud. The on air diva reportedly didn’t change her ways when she went behind bars. Former inmates report that the reality star demanded special treatment and meals. The worst part? She reportedly received special treatment which upset some of the other inmates. From special meals and jobs to being able to bring in crafts made by her kids, it turns out this demanding diva’s attitude, while making some enemies, is actually working in her favor.
8. A Feast Fit for a King
For death row inmates in the United States, the time between conviction and having their sentence carried out can be considerable. When the day of execution comes, traditionally the inmate is allowed one last meal of their own choosing – whether it be a big bowl of spaghetti or a T-bone steak. Some inmates go above and beyond others, however, when it comes to ordering their last meal. Steven Woods, convicted in the murder of two people, ordered a final meal which was indeed extravagant. The Texas inmate ordered two pounds of bacon, a four-meat pizza, four fried chicken breasts, five chicken fried steaks, two pints of ice cream, two hamburgers with bacon, French fries, garlic bread and two drinks each of Pepsi, Mountain Dew, root beer and tea.
7. An Autopsy for a Pet
Sometimes the demands of prisoners can not only be outrageous but just plain bizarre. Serial killer Rose West’s demand in 2007 definitely qualifies for this. Known as the House of Horrors murderer, West is currently serving 10 life sentences thanks to the 10 murders she was convicted of in 1995. So, when her pet Guinea pig died suddenly, there’s a good chance a lot of people looked to West as the culprit. She denied it and immediately demanded a full autopsy and investigation for her furry little pet. West gave interviews where she stated the culprits were two other prisoners she had become enemies with. If the rodent was murdered is anyone really surprised? After all, we all know that in prison, no one likes a rat.
6. Union Demands
When you head to prison it’s safe to say you aren’t really in a position to make demands. Someone clearly forgot to tell Julian Knight about this. Knight is serving time in an Australian jail after killing seven and injuring 19 during a shooting rampage in 1987. Not content with rotting behind bars, Knight heads a prison committee made up of other rapists and murderers who ‘negotiate’ with their jailers. In 2011, Knight and his committee demanded more jelly, a bigger variety of chips, sunglasses, bigger bottles of Coke, more money for phone calls and lollipops. They also wanted the prisoners to be notified beforehand when prison staff were having their morning meetings as this would mean the prisoners could sleep in past 8am.
5. Dinner for 10 for 1
As we’ve already seen, the last meal demands of prisoners on death row can get extreme at times. Taking the pole position for outrageous final meal requests surely belongs to Lawrence Russell Brewer. The convicted murderer ordered two chicken steaks, a triple bacon cheeseburger, fried okra, three fajitas, a pizza, a pint of ice cream and a slab of peanut butter fudge. The cherry on top of this high-fat, high-calorie meal was that Brewer didn’t take a single bite of it. Instead, he just left the meal to sit there as a final middle-finger to the justice system and the American tax payer. As a result, Texas no longer allows death row inmates special requests for their final meals.
4. A Lawsuit or Two
Harry Franklin a prisoner in Oregon’s State Penitentiary loves a good lawsuit. Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Franklin filed dozens of lawsuits and made more than one judge laugh with a long list of frivolous demands. What was so outrageous? For starters, Franklin sued because the prison used aluminum cookware instead of stainless steel. He also sued because he could not find a dry place to sit down when the prison sprinkler system was in use and when he tried to sleep the guards’ boots made a loud sound on the floor. Taking the crazy up a notch, the Oregon inmate sought damages from a Portland television station after they incorrectly identified a 14-wheeler transport truck as an 18 wheeler. Even the President wasn’t safe. Franklin demanded $8.9 million in damages from Ronald Reagan because the seatbelt laws didn’t apply to riding horses or bicycles.
3. Charles in Charge
Perhaps you know a little bit about English inmate Charlie Salvador after watching Tom Hardy play him on the big screen. In any event, the story of Salvador (aka Charlie Bronson) is a strange one no matter how you look at it. Often labelled the most violent and notorious prisoner in English history, Salvador has spent the bulk of his life in prisons – at least those that would keep him. His propensity to beat up guards, take people hostage and stage protests and strikes meant no prison really wanted to hold him. Complementing this behaviour was Salvador’s bizarre demands whenever he took hostages or staged protests. These demands included a blow-up doll, uzi submachine guns and ammunition and a helicopter to Cuba. One incident also saw him demand that his hostages tickle his feet and call him ‘General.’
2. Better Video Games
Anders Breivik is a far-right terrorist who murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011. Breivik was sentenced to 21 years (which is Norway’s maximum) but will likely never see daylight again as his sentence will be continually extended. While many hope this mass murderer rots in a concrete cell, it seems the Norwegian is demanding when it comes to comforts inside the prison – a prison he has described as ‘hell.’ Breivik has reportedly demanded a better sofa and larger gym to use. He also made the threat to go on hunger strike if a better selection of video games wasn’t provided. It turns out he was unhappy with the older Playstation 2 available and wanted a more modern PS3 with games selected by himself. We doubt anyone will lose a wink of sleep if Breivik’s outrageous demands aren’t met.
1. My Own Country
Blow-up dolls, Playstations, demanding divas and extra sports channels – these all pale in comparison to Johnathan Pinney’s demands. The Illinois inmate filed a lawsuit in 2011 stating his rights had been regularly violated following what he deemed a false arrest for aggravated battery. As compensation, Pinney made some rather outrageous and ridiculous demands. First, he demanded his own country, big enough for at least 5000 people and added that Alaska would be acceptable. Second, Pinney demanded $50 billion from the US Government and full diplomatic immunity. Not done there, the convict then demanded access to all research and advancements made by the United States, including all secrets. Nuttier than a Christmas cake, we’re banking that Pinney won’t see any of these demands met.