People on the outside looking in have a certain fascination with the prison system. But how much do we really know about it? Most of what we think we know is learned from Hollywood films, TV shows, or strange rumors that have been passed around over the years. But the truth of the matter is that only those who have actually been in prison know what it's like. And most people don't actually know someone who has been to prison. But for those of us who really want to know what it's like in prison, the truth is just a click away. A quick search on Reddit will reveal scores of ex-inmates who have all kinds of stories to tell, and some of these stories can be quite disturbing.
We like to think we've heard it all, but there are many shocking stories from what goes on inside prisons that defy even the darkest corners of our imaginations. There's a reason people are sent to prison as a punishment. It's not meant to be pleasant. It's supposed to be a terrible experience, so that you never want to go there again. These inmates have been released from prison, and have the luxury of talking about their experiences on the Internet. But while they are free, their memories still hold the nightmarish details of the things they've witnessed while behind bars. Do you really want to know what they've seen?
15 Viciously Beaten For Killing A Kid
One prisoner confesses to witnessing a violent attack on a guy who had accidentally killed a child with his car. When the prisoners found out what he did, they all ganged up on him and beat him to within an inch of his life. But the worst part about this was that the guards knew that the attack was about to take place and decided to take a smoke break exactly when the attack occurred. Prison truly is a nasty place.
"There was this one black guy from NY. He was arrested for being drunk and backing his car into a kid. They found out what he was there for and treated him accordingly. It's a big building with the first floor and a second wrap-around tier with bunks all along it. He had to make it from one end of the top tier to the stairs, down the stairs and out the front door. There was like 25 dudes throwing punches and kicks at him the entire way, including when he was trying to make it down the stairs. Someone pushed him down the stairs and he almost broke his neck on the way down. He made it out the front door and was never seen again. Crazy thing is the C/O that was working in the dorm knew it was gonna happen and went out for a smoke right before."
14 He Saw A Murder But "Minded His Own Business"
There are all kinds of unwritten rules in prison. The golden rule, however, is that you mind your own damn business. Don't get involved in things that don't concern you. If someone is getting beaten up or even killed, that's their problem. You have to look out for number one, and do your time without getting into trouble. Such was the logic of one particular inmate who witnessed a lot of crazy stuff go down, and even heard someone being murdered in a room and just walked by, pretending he never saw it:
"Hmm, just about every day, you never know when people might jump on you, I would say I seen two gangs riot against each other in the main chow hall around December of last year though, two aryan gangs, ARM and AC, and it was literally a massive melee and the police couldn't even control it, they were screaming they needed more people and everything and started pepper spraying the entire chow hall and we were all trapped in there. Seen some people beat really bad. Besides that, another time I walked by a TV room type area and heard somebody getting killed in there and the sounds gave me chills for a long time, I didn't actually see it first hand because I minded my business and kept going, but it was one of those things, hearing someone choking to death isn't pleasant."
13 The Oreo Cookie
Homosexual behavior is something that everyone associates with jail. Not only is it the brunt of many prison jokes, but it's also something Hollywood obsesses over. Pretty much every prison movie has the token rape scene or alludes to male on male sexual behavior. Although many inmates claim that rape isn't as big of a problem as the movies make it out to be, there is no questioning that consensual gay activities do happen in jail. There are a lot of openly gay people in prison, and it isn't really frowned upon by the general prison population - it's just accepted as a reality. One inmate confesses to walking into the showers and seeing something that he found pretty disturbing:
"Woke up for work to take a shower at 2:30 am (I worked in the mess hall) and saw a literal, sexual "oreo cookie" - made up of 3 dudes in the shower. You can use your imagination as to what that looked like. I walked away and took a shower AFTER work."
12 "He Just Watched"
There are a lot of disturbing things people have witnessed in prison, but probably the most disturbing thing imaginable is murder. And sadly, murder is pretty common in jail, at least more so than on the outside. The people inside are criminals, after all, and some are very violent people. Can you imagine watching someone being bludgeoned to death before your very eyes? Well that's what this inmate experienced...
"[I watched] a man get beat to death with a lock on a rope 2 feet away from my bed. I just watched. He was a pedo. And he was always bitching about smoking indoors - he told on one dude who was smoking. He got 30 days in the hole and the jail covered it up. Said he fell out of his bunk. No bull sh*t."
11 Cans Of Mackerels As A Form Of Currency
This is a probably a welcome break from the more disturbing stories that inmates have told thus far. Although this confession isn't necessarily disturbing per se, it is confusing and even amusing. It's certainly an illuminating confession that gives us a look inside the bizarre world of the prison barter system. You see, this particular inmate was in a prison where all trade revolved around cans of Mackerels as a form of universal currency. Yes, this actually happened:
"$10 (paid in cans of mackerel fish) for a joint. They would look for gaps in the guard coverage. Oftentimes we didn't have guards in the unit. When I first heard the word "cans" in relation to a financial transaction, I nearly lost it. Services were severely deflated, for instance, hair cuts were two cans. You'd think stamps would be better, but you can always eat fish... For the most part, you only needed about ten cans to get what you wanted. For amounts more than that, people would send money directly to the commissary funds. Two hundred cans looks ridiculous."
10 How They Treat Child Molesters In Prison
There are many things that only prisoners know, things you only find out if you've done a stint in jail. But there are certain stories and facts of prison life that make their way out of the prison walls, and become common knowledge for the general public. One of those facts is the way inmates treat child molesters if they find out what they're guilty of. And it's not pretty. It almost always ends in violence and even death. One inmate tells a story about what happened to one guy who was found out to be a child molester:
"Guards bring a white inmate into housing unit and let us know that he's charged with molesting a 6-year-old black kid. One black inmate tells the newly admitted inmate that the kid he molested is his nephew. Makes the terrified white inmate strip naked and tells him to run around the dorm. As he's running around the other inmates punch, kick, and trip him. He starts crying, but still gets up every time he's tripped and keeps running around. Eventually, he stays on the floor in the fetal position. Three inmates gather around and kick him until he's inanimate and blood is leaking from his head. After 10 minutes of this the officers walk in, disperse the crowd and the bleeding inmate is carried out on a stretcher. Turns out he was mistakenly placed in GP instead of adseg."
9 Stabbed In The Showers
Of course, sometimes beating and murders occur even to people who have seemingly done nothing wrong. You don't have to be a pedophile to earn a savage attack in prison. The smallest insult can set off the wrong guys who have short tempers. And you don't want to be around these people when they get angry. One inmate tells a story about a guy who took too long using the phone, and paid with his life:
"One morning after sleeping in late, I woke up and prepared my customary mochachino, rolled up a Bugler cigarette and went outside the cell block/pole barn to greet the day. As I lit the cigarette another inmate came running past me screaming. This inmate was completely nude and bleeding, screaming hysterically before collapsing on an outdoor basketball court. He proceeded to die right there on the concrete, 30 feet away from me. He had been stabbed in the shower for making two phone calls in a row while other inmates were waiting to use the phone."
8 Tried To Cut His Own Head Off With Barbed Wire
Sometimes prison life can be too much for some people to bear. Some are mentally unstable even before they go behind bars, while others are driven slowly insane by the world that they have found themselves in. These psychologically unstable people are usually separated from the rest of the prison population, but sometimes mistakes are made. One inmate tells a story of how he witnessed a man who was mistakenly put into general prison population, and before they could do anything he immediately attempted suicide:
"Did 7 in Pennsylvania state prison. Saw a guy who was accidentally cleared by psych to be in general population go out to yard and try to cut his own head off with the razor wire. It was morning yard, not alot of people out, and he sprinted toward the fence as soon as he got out there. We all thought, oh sh*t, we've never seen someone try to get over these forests of razor wire, but then this f**ker turns around with his back right up against the fence, cops coming from three directions yelling into their radios, and he loops a circle of razor wire around his neck and starts sawing. A f**king waterfall of blood. Cops froze, everyone froze. That sh*t was really unexpected. They told us he lived, but f**k me if I know how."
7 How Prisons Treat Mental Illness
We've seen what can happen to a mentally unstable inmate when he's released into general population. But what's it like to be segregated from the rest of the prisoners along with all the other suicidal and unstable inmates? One inmate found this out the hard way, and the worst part was that he wasn't even suicidal, he was just mistakenly diagnosed as unstable by one of the guards who pretended to be his friend. What he experienced in there was even worse than prison:
"One of the guards invited me to come talk to him. I made the mistake of thinking he was a friend and was talking about the meaning of life and why things happened. He decided he thought I was suicidal, which I wasn't. The next day I was shipped off to a maximum security prison in the upper peninsula of Michigan, stripped down naked and given a kevlar smock to wear. They keep the temperature down at 60 degrees which means that you have to stay huddled in a corner to conserve body heat. Because this was observation I wasn't allowed to have anything. Nothing to read, watch, etc. Naked and cold for an entire week. If you'd like to see what this is like, turn your thermostat down, then take all your clothes off, and sleep on the floor of your bathroom with the light on for 6 days straight."
6 The Gym Is Not A Safe Place
We've all seen the prison movies where guys spend most of their time at the gym, building their muscles. You might think that this a pretty logical way to spend your days in jail. After all, building muscle makes you stronger, and more able to fight off potential attackers. But one inmate tells a story which paints the prison gym as one of the most dangerous places in the entire facility. This is because the gym was the one place where different gangs were able to mingle. As this inmate reveals, this was bound to lead to violence:
"We approached the 'universal gym' machine where a variety of people were using the various pieces to work out. The guy who offered me the cigarette advised me to follow him to the other side of the basketball court and to stay away from the universal gym. A few minutes later a guy sat down and leaned back to do some bench press when four guys grabbed him (one on each arm and one on each leg). Two other guys pulled out cans of chili (or refried beans as both were available) in socks and proceed to hammer the guy in the face. The guy at the bench press had his face completely caved in."
5 Forced To Kill His Own Cellmate
Another disturbing story told by an inmate involved another case of how pedophiles are treated in prison. It's not just the pedophiles themselves who are in danger while in prison, it's everyone around them. If you're a friend of a pedophile, you're in danger of being attacked just as much as the pedophile himself. Even if you are his cellmate, a relationship you have no control over, you are also in danger. This inmate tells a story of how he was forced to beat up and torment his cellmate who was found out to be a pedophile. If he refused they both would have suffered the same treatment:
"A week goes by and gangs are asking my friend what his cellmate is in for. He tells them he doesn't know and they pretty much tell him if he doesn't find out soon, there is going to be hell to pay. My friend finally confronts his cellmate and the guy tells him he is a sex offender. Immediately, my friend starts beating the sh*t out of him and eventually knocks him out. When the guy wakes up, my friend tells him he owes him rent now to live in the cell."
4 They Murdered A Pedophile
So far, all of the attacks on pedophiles in these stories have resulted in severe injury, but never death. Well that's not always the case. There are plenty of instances where these criminals have been executed by other inmates who exercised their own brand of justice over their fellow prisoners. Is this justice? Do pedophiles deserve to be savagely beaten to death? Some would say yes. Others would say that it's going too far. What's certain, however, is that it does happen, and one inmate witnessed it:
"Anyway one day a guy everyone saw on the news for raping a little kid comes in the door. Someone instantly yells 'gazelle!' (Code for Pedo, because they are in the lions den). Everyone runs out of there cells and starts staring, yelling, throwing sh*t. Telling this dude to get the f**k out and go to PC. Well he just ignores everyone and walks to his cell. After a few minutes a few guys run in there drag him out to the common area and give him a vicious beating. I remember watching and thinking 'no human being could survive this.' You could hear bones snapping and dude's muffled screams for help through the blood. He died on the way to the hospital."
3 What Drug Addicts Do To Get Their Fix
Some people do just fine in the prison system. They keep to themselves, stay out of trouble, and do their time. But for others, the prison life takes a major toll. This is especially difficult for young offenders and drug addicts. But when it's a mixture of both these things, their life can get pretty desperate. Drug addicts will do anything to get their fix. But how far will they go in a prison system where you can't get anything unless you satisfy the right people? One inmate says that he's seen kids that have lowered themselves to performing sex acts on other inmates, in return for not just drugs, but food! It's unclear whether they were doing this because they had sold their own food for drugs, or whether they were just really hungry. But one inmate claims to have seen it with his own eyes:
"The most pathetic sight was seeing what some of these kids would do to get food. I saw a kid come in to serve 30 DAYS for DUI and after a week he was giving handjobs in the shower for soups. Those drug addicts are pathetic sights once they can't get their fix."
2 Sending "Presents" To The Female Inmates
Prepare yourself for one of the most bizarre, disturbing and gross prison stories you'll ever hear. This one sounds like something straight out of an episode of Orange Is The New Black. One inmate claims that he was in a prison where the female prisoners were held in the same building as the men, one floor below the men's rec room. The men would send their semen in Kleenex down through a pulley system so that the women could get pregnant. Why? Because if you get pregnant in prison, apparently you have a higher chance of being released. This story is insane:
"I was on Six South and in the 'rec room' you could look down and see the rec room of the female floor one floor below...through a very thick wire screen. The guys hooked up a car out of dental floss from the sixth to the fifth and did the following: they would jerk off into a tissue, send it down the car, and one of the female detainees would, er...stuff it up there. If a Fed detainee gets pregnant inside, chances are she walks. So the rec room eventually became a load of guys jerking off into Kleenex and sending them down the car. A memory I will unfortunately carry with me forever."
1 He Witnessed A Prison Suicide
As we've seen so far, prison can be a pretty disturbing place. Some people get through it, although the memories of the things they see in jail stay with them forever. But some don't make it out alive. They are driven to terrible things while behind bars, and some are even driven to suicide. One inmate witnessed the sad death of a young inmate who jumped to his death, headfirst into the concrete floor, killing himself instantly:
"This kid was 18 and we were in a 2 story temporary cell right after I got in. He was crying at night time when everyone was trying to sleep and was in for attempted murder. He just got out of his bed and started walking up the stairs. The dep was in the corner just screaming 'inmate get back to your cell NOW!' he walked up the stairs and stood on the top railing. The way the cell was set up the deputy couldn't have gotten over in time, he was standing on the second floor on the railing crying repeating 'my dad is going to kill me.' By then we all knew what was about to happen and got up. This Arabian dude was like 'No he is not no he won't.' But the kid just goes, 'Yes he would,' and then jumped off head first into the concrete floor."