20 Habits Former Inmates Developed While In Prison, According To Members Of This Online Group

Published 2 years ago

Being in prison is a restorative, but awful, process. You may come out completely different than how you entered, depending on the environment you had. If prison were to transform someone, would it be for the better or worse?

Redditor youknowyoulick went to the Ask Reddit community to look for some stories about how prison changes people. His thread, “people who have been in jail, what habits do you still do today that you learned from being in lockup?” has received 15.4k upvotes and 3.9k comments. In this article, we listed down 20 of the greatest, saddest, and most moving stories from the Reddit thread.

Interested in jail and inmate stories? Check out our previous post about some crafts made by prisoners.

More info: Reddit

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Image source: -roarnation, dianaconnolly101

well my brother had a hard time closing the door to poop he said it felt weird to poop alone


Image source: r00tk1ll3r, gurmit singh



Image source: cbauser, Cathy Stanley-Erickson

Save every extra sugar packet I come across in case I get hungry between meals


Image source: shep_ling, Les Infill

Hypervigilant. Size up everyone everywhere I go. Especially public transport and public spaces.


Image source: StubisMcGee, Yuya Tamai

The dorm pod I was in had metal stairs that made loud noises when you walked down them. Almost got in a fight with 3 other people because I woke up at night and had to p**s and woke everyone up.

To this day I can’t fall asleep without peeing immediately before laying down. Like, even if I went less than an hour earlier I have to stand there and focus with yogi-like intensity to squeeze a few drops out or I lay awake feeling like my bladder is full.


Image source: Maleficent-Number-10, in0_m0x0

Friend worked in a bad prison for 10+ years.

Said he become immune to s**t talk.

Nothing, literally nothing, could p**s him off or make him emotional or unbalanced.

In regards to triggers and s**t talk, he reached nirvana


Image source: SirKedyn, John Fowler

In jail I learned the very useful concept of “Program.”

Think of your normal life, all the things that you do in a day or week that fill up the time: hobbies, time with friends and family, the gym, cooking, shopping, a job, etc. All of these activities are what make up your life as you know it, your identity. Responsibilities and obligations are what get most people out of bed every morning. Now take all of that away. You now have tons of free time and nothing to fill it with. The human subconscious needs to be busy, its a holdover from our days as hunter-gatherers since being occupied was necessary for survival, and with absolutely nothing to do people go mad.

Program is how to fill that time in a responsible and productive way. In the simplest terms its making a schedule and sticking to it; deciding how to fill that empty day with activities that serve your goals. During my time inside I got in great shape, did a ton of reading, and learned a lot from various interesting people. When Covid Lockdowns began I wasn’t worried at all because I knew how to Program.


Image source: Fluid-Imagination301, gaelx

My friends baby daddy was in jail, apparently learned how to give really good massages. Now owns his own massage therapy clinic and employs like 30 RMT’s


Image source: twinkies_and_wine, Martin Monroe

My boyfriend was in jail quite some time ago and still holds onto his habits. He washes his clothes in the shower or bathroom sink, he sweeps every morning, he jumps out of bed as soon as he wakes up, he lives pretty minimally, he’s super fit and works out everyday, and (he didn’t learn this in jail but it serves as an example of fitness and self-sufficiency) he rides his bike everywhere. I sometimes have to remind him that he can indulge in luxuries like using the washing machine or sleeping in.


Image source: Sweet-Palpitation473, Rob Mitchell

There was a guy I knew in prison who converted to Islam while he was in there. He would never swear, so instead of “m**********r” he’d say “motherflower” and I still say it. It’s actually been a bit of a conversation starter and I have friends who’ve started saying it too. That man, probably still in prison, has no idea he’s a trend-setter.


Image source: kindalikeacoustic, S B

When my dad came home from prison I remember him being very polite. He was careful not to bump anybody, and he always said excuse me if he were trying to pass somebody.


Image source: throwawaysmetoo, Enrico Razzetti

Out of juvie I had a habit of being quick to aggression….which seems like the opposite of what the goal of juvie systems should be…

Out of jail I noticed that I had a habit of waiting for some person somewhere to operate a door for me. I wasn’t standing there a long time but there was a definite pause until I was like “oh it’s one of them manual doors, I can do this”.

Also, I’m quite good at hiding things (no, not up my a*s, you a*s fanatics). Over here trying to find my weed again.

Also, observing people, noticing what people are doing.


Image source: hungry_hat, alljengi

I eat with my plate tucked between my arms, huddled over it like a trough, shoveling it in as fast as possible.


Image source: LHDC417, gabohalili

I did 12 years in a state institution. The only really strange thing to me was answering the telephone. First off, you don’t receive calls. Second, once the call connects, you can hear them say hello and then a prompt plays letting them know the call is recorded and what not before you then say hello. For about a year people would answer when I call them and I would wait for the recording to play before responding.


Image source: ieatassfordays, PseudoDude

My bedroom is basically set up like my old cell.
In my bedroom I have everything at arms length.
I sit with my back to the wall when I’m out.
I still pace back and forth in small spaces.


Image source: canehdian78, Jaysin Trevino

Never been but I saw this same Q on here and one take away I have is the shower squeegee.

After you shower you use your hands like a squeegee blade and it removes 75% of the water off you.

Now your towel isn’t wet at the end, its damp


Image source: Apart_Advantage6256, Pedro Ribeiro Simões

Made a habit of addressing something that could potentially become a problem. Harshly and immediately. Currently trying to drop the harsh part.


Image source: chut2906, Jonathan Rolande

My husband still makes “jail snacks”, he also turns meals into sandwiches because bread was cheap and filling. Spaghetti between bread slices is an example. If we go somewhere like a restaurant, he’s extremely uncomfortable if he doesn’t have his back against a wall so he can see the room and no one can be behind him. He’s very quick to anger/react if he feels disrespected.

I also know people who hide items they feel are valuable. Even if they live alone, they hide “commodities” like good snacks, Crest Whitestrips, etc.


Image source: No-Improvement-6734, Celeste

Being entertained doing absolutely nothing like staring at a wall I just don’t get bored anymore


Never talk to police period about anything

Source: Vzdubz

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ask reddit, former inmates, habit, habit in jail, inmates, jail, prison, prison experiences, prison habits, reddit
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