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Ex-Cons Share Whether They Found Prison Rehabilitating

Ex-Cons Share Whether They Found Prison Rehabilitating

"Ex convicts of Reddit, did you find prison rehabilitating? Why or why not? What would you change about the system if you could?" –– This was today's burning question from Redditor RamenIsMyKyptonite, and it's a doozy.

According to the National Institute of Justice, about two-thirds (67.8 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested within three years of release. Within five years of release, about three-quarters (76.6 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested.

Clearly the culture within the prison system needs to be changed, as these former inmates can attest.

"Did 4 years..."

Did 4 years in a maximum security penitentiary in Canada.

I don't think the institution itself or its programs had any influence on my rehabilitation, but I decided for myself I was never going back.

They forced us to take certain programs as part of our "correctional plan". Such as an anger management course, a course for drug dealers to tell them to not sell drugs, etc. (All of which were a waste of time imo)

You can get your grade 12 education, which I did.

The most beneficial thing that was occasionally offered in certain institutions (which is no longer available) was you could do certain trades such as carpentry or drywall, and the hours could go towards an apprenticeship on the outside. It is a huge shame that it was discontinued.

If I could change anything I would implement more programs of that nature, that taught skills that could be applied to the outside world and benefit inmates when they are released.

Parole, and living in a halfway house on release are both extremely difficult things to navigate and are imo designed to make parolees reoffend. You are thrown in a house with other convicts, prohibited from associating with any person with a criminal record, which in itself is paradoxical. Any time you leave the halfway house you must tell them exactly where you will be, and must call from a land line (no cellphone) every hour to check in and prove you are where you claim to be. Most people don't own a house phone anymore, and pay phones are almost nonexistent, which makes this very difficult. You can be sent back for the smallest infraction, such as not doing your daily chore at the halfway house (vacuuming, mopping, etc).

You are forced to find immediate employment or can be sent back. Finding a job after being inside for that long can be a very daunting task, especially when certain parole officers demand to meet your employer or meet you at work to prove you're actually employed there.

Overall more programs on the outside to help get parolees jobs, perhaps pre-apprenticeship programs and an example, would be hugely beneficial.

Most ex-cons who rehabilitate do it with their own determination and conscious decision to leave that lifestyle behind. I don't feel the system itself and resources within it play an impactful part in that.


"He went to prison three different times..."

This is not my story, this is my dads.

He went to prison three different times, but he only counts it as one, since he was only really out for less than a month each time he got out, excepting the last one of course. That's a different story.

The last time he went to prison was at Folsom Prison near Sacramento. Yes, from the song. His cellmate was an older man, though, my dad remarked that now, he's older than his cellmate was at the time. My dad was a bit of an arrogant prick and he was bragging about times he got away with some drug smuggling job. They were playing a game of chess and his cellmate just sighed.

"Boy, if you ever listen to a word I say, listen to this. You're still young, you got your whole life ahead of you. Me? I'm here for life. Do you understand that? I'm never getting out of this prison. And when I die, they're going to bury me out in that graveyard with a wooden marker over top my body. I burned all my bridges and now there's no one left to give a shit when I die. You're still a kid, but I was your age when I was put in here. Stop being a dumbass and do something with your life if you don't want to be buried underneath a prison. Now move your fucking piece so we can play some chess."

He was wrong about one thing though. Ive seen my dad cry exactly twice in my life. The second time was last year when we visited Folsom prison and my dad found out that his cellmate, the man who changed his life, passed away years ago. My dad cried over his death, and was probably the only person who did. If that man hadn't verbally slapped my dad across the face, I wouldn't have been born.

So yeah, prison can be rehabilitating, but I'm not sure if it's the system that's responsible.


"A lot of hanging out..."

I haven't been to prison, just in and out of juvie and jail for years. I don't know what was supposed to be rehabilitating. With a lot of the psychological help in juvie they had high staff turnover so there was never really consistency and progress. A lot of drug programming at both levels was just kind of like DARE stuff. And really basic. I've been in a juvie class where another kid was correcting the 'teacher's' info. Jails mostly have AA, don't really like AA.

A lot of hanging out and playing games and entertaining yourself. It rehabilitated some of my basketball skills (though some of that gets a little dirty for an actual game). It rehabilitated my ability to read books.

After the first couple of times going to juvie or jail never concerned me. Once you've figured the place out a bit then you can just hang out.

I have an uncle who had custody of me as a teen and he invested in me. He rehabilitated me, the system just took me and held me for periods of time but he did the real work. He got me competent and consistent mental health care, we found a counselor who I connected with. I got my meds sorted out. I got consistent and competent substance help. I got a good education and directed towards a career. He got himself help in how to parent me. He got me to be a regular human by about 21.

With greater funding and a change of attitude I think the system could implement all of that stuff far more successfully. And I think that a big focus on juveniles and young adults would help too. And stop being obsessed with the act of locking people up.


"Needless to say..."

Did 2 years in 2002. 1 year in a for profit regional jail and 1 year minimum security state prison.

Not rehabilitating in the sense they made any effort to rehab us but I did go straight to stay out of there.

I was 18 and breaking into businesses for the thrill. Hardcore self destruction. Thought my life was over until I saw how worse the other convicts were. The only services jail offers are GED, church and AA/NA so any rehabbing is done there. The discipline isn't like the military where they attempt to teach you honor or anything. Its just stand for count and clean your area once a day.

I already had a GED but took it again out of boredom. Prison is a lot better. Counselors teach community college courses and you have a job. Came out with 9 credits.

Probation sucks. Get downtown twice a week, don't have a shy bladder, keep a job, go to meetings even though I didn't have a drug problem. High stress and a lot of us get indefinite probation which averages 5 years.

But I did good. I'm white and middle class so I was able to blend back into society easy. Waited tables and did community college. My PO let me off probation in two years so I could go to university and ultimately hardly missed a beat. Happily married now with three kids, a mortgage and a career I don't hate.

Honestly the biggest motivation for me was watching WB shows in jail and seeing them all go to college. It was like when Mogli saw other humans and left the jungle on his own. Needless to say I had an unstable childhood.


"I wouldn't say..."

I wouldn't say it was very rehabilitating, though it did make me never want to go back. The worst thing they never tell you is that the COs can do pretty much whatever they want to you. You don't really have "due process" once you're inside, they can send you to solitary confinement whenever they want, move you to the cell of someone who hates you and look the other way as you get beat up, and nothing will happen to them for it. Most of us were more scared of the COs than we were of each other, though of course there were some good COs.

Specific punishments and such vary from prison to prison, but the worst one I always dreaded was "Dog breath." If someone in our cell did something the CO didn't like, they'd come in, order us to sit with our backs to the wall, sometimes cuffed...and then they'd bring in their K9 Officer to search the cell.

Except...well, she'd search the cell, but spend a long-ass time giving us a sniff-over too - with her mouth right on our nose, panting heavily. It was absolutely foul. One guy cursed at a CO one day, and the next day our cell was searched, and he spent 15 minutes getting breathed and slobbered on by these dogs until he was gagging and retching. Complaining about the smell was a surefire way to get more of it.

Nothing to do about it either. What are you going to do, complain that they searched your cell? That'd be a good way to earn another K9 visit the next day.


People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.