Image by Ichigo121212 from Pixabay

Years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman who had spent a few years in prison. He was remarkably kind and open about his experience, particularly about the support he had on the inside that he had thus far been unable to replicate on the outside. It was hard not to reflect on that, the immensity of that privilege.

After Redditor Rizkozrout asked the online community, "Ex-convicts of Reddit, what is your most pleasant prison memory?" people shared their stories and opened our eyes even further.

"About 15 years ago..."

About 15 years ago when I was released from prison, I had nothing to my name, only my $40 gate fee. A dear friend of mine on the inside made sure I had clothes, shoes, and a job to go to. Harold, if you're out there, love you, bro.


"Over the following weeks..."

I spent a little over a decade in prison, from the early 90s to the early 2000s.

In the state where I did my time, all of us had to work a semblance of a job inside the compound (kitchen, inside grounds, maintenance, painting, cleaning, etc.). Being in a program of any kind, including education, counted as having a job (and thus had waiting lists to get into). Programs also needed better-educated inmates to work there as clerks and tutors, and these were the sorts of jobs that the smart inmates tended to gravitate towards (involving more hours than a menial job, but cleaner and less distasteful). Often it meant we had access to older computer hardware (no Internet or anything, though).

PC video games occasionally made their way onto the compound, usually brought in by one or another of the freeworlders (i.e. prison workers who were not guards) who had a soft spot for his clerks. My boss in the education classroom where I worked was like this, though he had something of a policy that the only games he would bring in would be education, strategy, or puzzle-oriented - such that if he ever got asked about it, he could say that it was a critical thinking tool that was part of his teaching curriculum.

The happiest day of my prison life was the day that he brought in Myst. I had read articles about it and wanted to play it someday, but never imagined that I'd get to play it before I got out. It was an absolutely groundbreaking game for its time, with beautiful graphics, soothing music, imaginative puzzles, and an intriguing storyline. I had never seen anything like it; the articles/reviews didn't do it justice!

Over the following weeks, I would lose myself in that world for maybe an hour a day, living out an alternate life in a beautiful and magical world so far removed from the horrible reality of my current existence. I was disappointed when it was all finally over... though in a way it led to my second-happiest prison memory, which was the day (a year later) when he brought in Riven: The Sequel to Myst.


Video games can provide an excellent escape...

...and quite a few video games can spur your critical thinking. I can confirm that Myst is excellent.

"It was a low-security prison farm..."

I wasn't your usual inmate. I was in for a truck accident where someone died. First ever offence, no violence, didn't take drugs, very rarely even drank alcohol, never committed a crime in my life. So I was a polar opposite to pretty much everyone in there.

It was a low-security prison farm, and one day I decided to walk along the boundary fence to the library. Going on the wrong side of the fence technically meant that you escaped, so it was watched... As I'm casually wandering along, two guards drove up and told me to get into the car. They took me for a strip search and demanded to know why I was on the other side of the fence. I wasn't. I asked them if they had cameras, and they said yes, so I told them to double-check the footage because I'm not a nitwit trying to escape. They checked, and let me go.

Everyone in the prison wanted details on what happened. I was a minor celebrity for the afternoon, and I had a bit of respect amongst the other inmates because even someone as straight as me copped shit from the screws.


"This kid in my pod..."

This kid in my pod was being transferred to another prison located clear across the state.. he had no clue why they were moving him.

He started crying uncontrollably, which you would think is the last thing you'd wanna do in jail/prison.

All of the inmates in my pod immediately went to console him. He was hugged and made to feel as comfortable as possible.


A heartwarming moment.

It's important to remember that prisoners are people, too.

"I was in solitary..."

I was in solitary for three months and they allowed cd players there. I had only one disc - DMX, Ruff Riders. I listened to it endlessly and somehow it inspired me to write something, too. I started with rhymes and short poetry and 15 years later I own a copywriting agency and writing makes me a living. Peace DMX, inspiring me for change!


DMX would have no doubt appreciated this.

Through their work, artists have the ability to make us question and challenge our own lives.

"It was amazing."

Late to the game here, but I did time at Maine Correctional Center for Women. I had some of the best laughs, most questionable food, and met some of the strongest women I'll ever meet in there.

My favorite memory was coming 'home' (back to the center) from work release and our taxi driver asked if we could keep a secret. Four girls all doing bids because we didn't roll on our codefendants. Yes, sir, we can.

He stopped and bought us all banana splits on the ride home. It was amazing.


"For me..."

For me, the best feeling is every time that you are placed on a new unit, or transferred to a new jail/prison, and you see some people that you know and are good with as soon as you get there. Landing on a unit where you know nobody, especially if you aren't from the area and have no mutual friends/acquaintances with anybody is the exact opposite of a pleasant feeling. With nobody to vouch for you, it's going to end up in an altercation half of the time, and the other half it takes a while before people will be comfortable socializing with you due to lack of trust.


"I don't know..."

I don't know if I would say pleasant, but I will say there was a weird comradery and mutual understanding amongst most of the inmates that I've never felt again in the outside world.


"It was so refreshing..."

I would say seeing my son but no child should have to see their parent in prison. So I would say the Friday Buddhist meditation sessions we would have. It was so refreshing to sit with a group and quiet our minds and sit in stillness.


Speak to some former prisoners sometime.

You might learn something valuable. Prison is not what you might see on television; I daresay television shows give us the idea that everyone in prison is out to get each other, but that is far from the truth.

Have some of your own stories to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!

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