Prison guards have to maintain order and are responsible for the supervision, safety, and security of the prisoners in their care. We've all heard tales of terrible corrections officers, and while they do exist, there are quite a few out there doing what they can to make sure that prisoners' lives maintain some level of dignity.
After Redditor CowWarrior2 asked the online community, "Dear prison Guards of Reddit, was there ever a prisoner that you felt bad for? Why?" many came forward to share their stories.
Warning: Sensitive subject matter ahead.
"Most of us..."
I currently work as a correctional officer.
There's one inmate in particular I think about all the time, and it breaks my heart.
Most of us don't usually get involved with charges or how they got there, we just do our job and look at everyone equally.
This guy was about 50+, balding and skinnier looking. He was on a suicide watch, which is when they have to be checked in every 10 minutes. The cell he was in was across from our desk. We usually keep higher-risk people here. I came in to relieve the day shift and took over. Naturally he sits in the staff's eyesight at all times.
All night, he was reading a book watching tv and minding his own business. Whenever we ask how he was doing, he would nod and continue reading his book until he went to sleep.
In the morning about an hour before shift change, he started crying on his bunk. The soft crying turned to all out sobbing, and he was also grabbing his head and squeezing it. We asked if he was ok but wouldn't even acknowledge us. We kept a close eye on him and I decided to look into his history a bit.
Turns out this guy murdered his wife with a knife, and the niece who was staying with them temporarily saw the whole thing. The reports said he was compliant with police and correctional staff. It was odd, so I did a bit of research.
The guy used to be a plump, jolly dude and was loved in the community, owns a bakery, wife is the baker and family runs it. Not a mean bone in his body. It was a shock to look at a photo of him months before compared to now.
After reading that the guy starts seizing.
We took him into the hospital and I was with him again that night. He was talking and doing ok at this point, but was delusional. He would say things like "have you met my wife? She's a fantastic baker! You would love her apple fritters, swing by the bakery and I'll give you guys one on the house!".
Turns out the guy had multiple cancerous brain tumours and was in the last stages. His mind started to go and one night he snapped and stabbed his wife. He has no idea where he is most of the time, but Every now and then, he would snap back to reality and realize where he was and what he'd done, and he would break down, only to forget everything minutes later.
His family would come visit him at the hospital while I was working and I would talk with them. They explained the whole story and I let them know he was in good hands with us. They even brought him and us a doughnut from their bakery (we don't let inmates have anything from the outside unless it's searched and approved by management, but in this guys case I let it slide) the family of his wife even say it wasn't his fault and they still love him.
"My county was pretty progressive..."
I worked in a jail as a deputy for a little under two years.
My county was pretty progressive and the jail was pretty nice, all things considered. Most inmates had come to terms with why they were there and life wasn't too bad, just boring. I don't know of any inmates who maintained that they were innocent, or that they didn't belong in jail. There were plenty of people that seemed like good people that had just done a bad thing, and plenty of people that seemed like they were actively trying to improve themselves. I know a lot that got GEDs while in jail.
There were a few times that I really felt sorry for any of them. Once when a repeat offender got a much longer sentence than he expected (because he was a repeat offender). The thing was, he had actually misunderstood the judge. He was sentenced to I think 9 years, with 4 suspended (so 5 total) and didn't really understand what that meant. So he was walking around all morose, he got kinda happy when I got to knock 4 years off his sentence!
The other circumstance was whenever I would have to notify an inmate that a close family member had died. I had to do this a total of five times, for some reason it always happened on my shift. Often they weren't able to go to the funeral service because they were incarcerated.
Being in jail, those guys had to act like they were tough, try not to cry when hearing that their mom or brother passed away, but of course that's always emotional. It was always hard to keep myself from crying. I pretty much have those guys the key to the city, unlimited phone use, extra food if they wanted it, unlimited rec time, and I'd let them have a friend or two out on rec with them so they had someone to talk to, chaplain on speed dial. I can't imagine having to go through that under those circumstances.
One killed his niece's rapist. And yes, it was proven that the niece was raped by the "victim"...it's just my inmate got to him before the police. He has been released though, a year or two ago. After doing 20+ years.
The second guy was an inmate who was the getaway driver for three other dudes. He was 16 iirc at the time of the crime. He never flipped on the other three and ended up doing 40~ yrs before finally being paroled about 2-3 years ago. He literally grew up in prison. He has an amazing support system though, thankfully, and he stayed local to the facility, so a few of my coworkers have seen him on the outside and caught up with him. He's doing great. It just amazed and saddened me that it took so long. His accomplices had been in and out of the system multiple times, they kept getting those chances, and he didn't. Pissed a lot of us COs off too that it took so long.
The third one...he was a(n) Hasidic Jew, from NYS. I think 18-19 yrs old when we got him. Very high up on the Hasidic Jew totem pole. He threw a Molotov cocktail through the window of another HJ's house. No casualties, I believe just an arson charge, and he got a flat 8 yr bid. Now, the reason I felt bad for him...in these communities, grooming runs rampant, and no one talks about it, and certainly no one steps up to accuse an abuser a lot of the times. At the age of 12, the inmate was sent to live with the "grand poobah" of rabbis, to be like his house boy or whatever.
The victim was a dude who wouldn't go to temple where grand poobah rabbi held services, choosing to pray with old folks at the adult home, or hospitals, etc. This didn't sit well with GPR. Then this kid, who was pretty much sheltered (and I believe groomed) all of a sudden shows up with a Molotov cocktail, and now he's in prison? I truly believe he was coerced/forced into doing this to send a msg to the victim and every higher up washes their hands of it and let him take the blame. I even said as much to the inmate, and his response was a half grin as he walked away. I can't remember the kid's name, but with the info given, I'm sure you can find the articles. I read the articles and it just screamed "THIS KID WAS GROOMED AND FORCED INTO THIS".
We have a couple prisons and we respond to them. One is a max prison. Got a call there for a 21 year old having seizures. He's in segregation (literally what they call it), which is pretty much a room by himself. No one can tell us how long he's been seizing. Straight up in status epilepticus - a seizure without any breaks. It's so bad that his airway is going and I was ventilating him on the way to the hospital.
He shares the same birthday as my younger brother. He was admitted to the hospital and in the ICU for over a month. Thankfully he made a recovery but never found out the cause of his seizure.
I looked up what he did.
Possession of Marijuana.
The key to any successful relationship is communication.
The ability to be open and receptive to what a significant other has to say, as well as the ability to be able to convey something weighing on one's mind, can be healing.
But depending on the circumstance, some things are better left unsaid.
Curious to hear examples of what those might be, Redditor FamiliarFarmer8356 asked:
"What's something you wish you could tell your partner without upsetting them?"
If there is conflict, there is a way to discuss and address the issue in a civil and respectful manner.
Things Just Happen
"Every bad thing that happens doesn't require someone to be blamed for it. And that someone doesn't always have to be me."
A Cornerstone Of A Successful Union
"One of the cornerstones of a good marriage, is knowing how to argue. I’d actually say that before a couple get married, they should check how their potential partner behaves in an argument. What are they like when they get angry. It’s important because no two individuals are going to agree all the time. And on those occasions, it’s important to remember not to belittle the other. Deal with the issue at hand. And especially, don’t argue in front of the kids. You have no idea how much lasting damage this causes."
"All married couples should learn the art of battle as they should learn the art of making love. Good battle is objective and honest - never vicious or cruel. Good battle is healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principles of equal partnership."
It's Not That Deep
"please stop complaining about everything."
"If you keep seeking out reasons to be miserable, you will find them."
"I'm tired of being dragged down with you."
There's no need to get defensive when there's something to discuss.
It's Not About You
"That some days I’m just tired from class and work and just want some me time, it’s not that I hate you my social battery is just running out."
"Her first reaction to something adverse doesn't have to be anger."
In The Words Of A Pirate
"In the wise words of captain Jack Sparrow sometimes:"
'the problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude toward the problem.'
It Takes Two To Tango
"That I wish she’d be more independent so she didn’t need my help for everything outside the house."
"That it’s a little disturbing how aggressively he drives when he’s grumpy… heavy on both gas and brakes, zooming in and out of traffic, swearing at people who make mistakes… very unlike him."
Sometimes the truth hurts when talking about members of the family.
A Real Assessment
"That her mother is not a good person."
"I told my husband that it's not that his family is nosy and overbearing, it's that I hate watching him cave and negotiate as if they have a right to behave like this, and I really hate when I'm the bad guy for wanting reasonable limits."
"It got worse, then it got better, FYI."
"His parents are greedy, selfish people and treat him like an atm."
There's definitely a fine line between withholding your thoughts to protect the person you love and being brutally honest.
If coming clean isn't going to resolve an issue, then it might be better to suck it up and deal with whatever frustrations you have about the other person.
It's up to you, but make sure the delivery doesn't come from a place of rage if you do decided to be totally transparent about your negative thoughts.
Every family has a black sheep or every family in its entirety are black sheep.
What is a "black sheep" anyway?
It used to mean a person who brought shame or embarrassment to a family, but it's more often used now to mean the member who is just very different from everyone else—sometimes in a good way.
Redditor Frozen_yoghurt123 asked:
"Who is the 'black sheep' of your family?"
I'm the black sheep or at least I'd like to think so.
"Probably my dad's cousin, who went to prison for murdering his lover's husband."
DW_555Oh My Wow GIFGiphy
"My Dad. He is the only one of 6 siblings who wasn't a huge f**k up. And yet, before my Grandma died she stated that he was her 'biggest disappointment.' He is estranged from his surviving siblings... not by his choice. It honestly blows my mind."
"Toxicity is often a group mindset thing; people don't want you to leave because they are dysfunctionally co-dependent on each other and need each other to justify their own shortcomings in life. A lot of the 'family loyalty' stuff is typically shouted loudest by those who are the least good idea to stay loyal towards."
"My great uncle who stole my great grandfathers identity, stole a couple million dollars, and ran off. No one even knew he was alive until my great grandfathers funeral in 2009. No one has seen him since. My grandma started to cry because she honestly thought he was dead."
"Everyone else just kind of nodded on his direction and went on with the rest of the funeral. I just remember being very confused because I was 9 and I had never met this guy who my dad pulled me aside and told me he was my great uncle. It was a few years later that I got the full story."
"According to my mean aunt, the 'matriarch' in her own mind, it's my twin brother because "he doesn't care about family now that he's a doctor." (He's a resident. Chief resident. He works ridiculous hours and spends the rest of the time recovering from work.)"
"According to my ex-MIL (who still counts because she's Son's grandma), it's me, for divorcing her son."
"According to everyone else, it's Mean Aunt. The rest of us are warm and caring and compassionate. We have our moments; all of us have been accidentally thoughtless or done something selfish once in a while, but we're not deliberately mean and snarky all the time."
"My immediate family are the black sheep of the entire family."
DarthDreganJohn Stamos Cheers GIF by GrandfatheredGiphy
Sounds like everyone has a little black sheep in them.
"By now, my brother for cutting off everyone because he prefers his rude, selfish, paranoid, narcissist wife over all of us."
"My wife is the black sheep of her family in the sense that she's the only one who isn't a rude, selfish, paranoid narcissist."
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"Me. My granddaddy told me 'I’ve only had the sheriff knock on my door two times in my 80 years, and both times he was looking for you! 'I did some dumb sh*t, caused a little trouble, burned a few bridges but always managed to stay out of jail. Partly because my sister has kept an attorney on retainer for me since I was 16."
"My younger brother (2nd of 4) is a compulsive liar and it got him in a lot of little trouble as a teen, then he told his wife he graduated a big college when we're not even sure if he got his GED because he failed to graduate HS, went to some GED school and eventually just stopped going."
"IF he graduated college, he never mentioned he was going in the 4+ years it takes nor mention graduation or have a diploma. He's not a bad dude, but now family time is super awkward when he and his wife are talking about 'their' college team."
The NOT good girl...
"My aunt's daughter. She’s been in jail for drugs, stolen money from my aunt and other family members to use on drugs and physically abused my aunt. My aunt has tried getting her help, but nothing has worked. She’s just not a good person, and everyone in my family, except my aunt, doesn’t want anything to do with her. I haven’t seen her in 8 years now, and I’m happy about that."
"A former nun - my great aunt - left the religious life and got married. She called herself 'the black sheep of the family' because her habit was black."
Back2BachExcited Julie Andrews GIF by The Rodgers & Hammerstein OrganizationGiphy
Well the black sheep sound like the most interesting family members.
Sex is great, but there are more ways than one to accomplish that euphoric feeling without sex.
There are so many small, ordinary aspects of life that can just send a person and we come across them daily.
A good steak.
A home repair.
The things that make you say...
"I tingle all over."
Redditor OldAboba asked:
"What is the best non-sexual physical feeling you’ve ever felt?"
Adele. Adele live. She sends me.
FloatingRelaxed Exit Strategy GIF by Hannah Bronfman Giphy
"I got a professional full body (everything but my man parts) massage a few years back for the first and so far only time at a spa after the recommendation from a coworker. I felt like I was floating on a cloud for the next few days."
Through your nose...
"Sneezing when you're sick. Then you get that about 20 second feeling of breathing through your nose again and you like ahh that's what I aspire to at the moment."
"Or the very last sneeze of your illness. During a fire drill in high school, I was ambling out after fighting a head old for a few days. The alarm was killing my head which was already throbbing from the sinus pressure."
"I was nearing the field, well away from my classmates, when I cough/sneezed out a huge, green loogie - cleared it about three feet, no icky trail - and by the time I was walking back to the building I was feeling pretty much back to normal. No more head cold after that. Never had something like that ever happen again where there was such an abrupt end to the head cold."
"Right after a migraine goes away. It's almost a spiritual experience."
"This was going to be my answer. I was in the ER one time for a really bad migraine. They gave me what they called a 'migraine cocktail.' When they pushed it through the IV I could feel the cold liquid make its way through my body, up to my head. Once it hit my brain, the migraine was gone. It was pure ecstasy. Even better was that cocktail had Benadryl in it so I fell asleep not long after and slept so good."
"That stretch til you shake when you wake up."
"I once stretched too hard in the morning and got the worst calf cramp ever... it looked like a prune and I thought I would die from the pain. Couldn't stretch in bed for months afterwards out of fear it would happen again."
"When you move over 50, it turns into that stretch til you put your back into a muscle spasm that lasts days."
The ItchScratching Feel Good GIF by 60 Second DocsGiphy
"I had a cast and splint on both my legs for 2 months. When they cut it off, they scratched my legs for me and the itch was just top notch! Yeah."
Itching an itch can change a life.
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"When you're starving all day and devour a bomb a** meal."
Sleep for Life
"When you’ve been up for 20 hours+ and finally get into bed and you just know it’ll be the best sleep of your life."
"But man, after 36+ hours, the body sort of aches and it's hard to fall asleep despite being completely exhausted. Then the restless legs kick in... ugh. I do agree that a 20hr-ish stint is amazing to cuddle into, especially if you don't have to get up at any specific time the next day."
"Makes it better when you’ve been sleep deprived for weeks and know you have NO PLANS tomorrow and can sleep as much as you need."
"When you're absolutely busting for a pee and you can finally go!"
"Apparently there’s a thing called a 'pee-gasm' that people (usually women) have that causes an orgasmic feeling when you pee after holding it for a while! I’ve definitely experienced this and I’ve intentionally waited a while so I could have that good feeling... lol."
I Can Hear!!
"The feeling of water leaving your ear after being there all day."
"I had some impacted earwax for a week in one ear, and when it finally got removed it was the best feeling in the world. Initially it was like having a tv or radio in my ear that only had static, but then I could hear. Good god, I could hear. It was amazing."
"Oh man, and it’s WARM from being in your head, and the warmth makes the sensation of leaving even better."
A Good Restdog puppy GIFGiphy
"Sleeping in a warm blanket in winters."
"Or sleeping in a cold blanket in summer."
I am enthralled by all of those things.
People need to stop throwing out unwanted advice.
And when it is requested, think before you speak.
People with mental disorders don't need everyone telling them they have a fix like "exercise" or "herbal supplements."
Redditor Gold-Ad-2827 asked:
"People with mental disorders: What do you hate being told the most?"
I hated being told to just smile. You smile and go away.
Duhseth meyers GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
"It's all in your head. Where else would it?! My colon?"
"Everybody goes through that."
"This saying makes my blood boil. Or the 'I was that age once too ya know' yeah no sh*t you were that age once. And just because you were that age once doesn’t mean we have the same experience."
"They try to minimize it."
"You're worried? Just stop."
"You're sad? Just don't be."
"You're compulsively binge eating? Eat less."
"Thanks for that stellar advice."
"Or even better, 'Just do it!' As if ADHD paralysis can be stopped with a can-do attitude."
"I get so frustrated when people treat the idea of 'holistic medicine' as some kind of woo. How does it escape so many people that the body works holistically? Even a lot of doctors seem to ignore this. It's very frustrating when you have 2 or 3 or 4 illnesses that are all affecting each other, and your 'physical health' is held distinct from your mental health, and nothing anyone is doing to treat you works because no one's looking at the whole system."
"I just got a lecture from a psychiatrist I am seeing about nutrition, and he apologized to me for doing so but I told him, 'No, I appreciate it. Do it for all your patients.' because it told me he's trying to look at the whole picture and actually fix what's wrong. It gave me faith in him."
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"You need to calm down."
"Never is the history of calm down has calm down ever caused anyone to calm down."
Calm down. I hate that one. You calm down.
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"When they try to give me tips on what to do, like bruh as if I didn't already try that."
"You don't look sad. No crap... that's so I can avoid having this conversation. Also depression isn't 'being sad' like people think."
"God, I hate this. It's because saying 'I'm depressed' has been standard for people expressing that they're slightly unhappy about something dumb like not getting enough croutons on their salad or some crap. Now that's just what everyone assumes you mean when you say you have depression."
"'Stop being lazy.'"
“'Lazy' is when you don’t want to do anything at all. 'Executive disfunction' is when you can do everything at all, but that one easy quick thing that you do want to do just makes you and your brain freeze completely days ahead. I’m tired of people not understand that even when I explain and look at me like I’m bullshitting instead."
Ways to Cope
"Maybe you should try praying harder. I did, He prescribed medication."
"Praying is a way to cope for a lot of people, I think. That's totally fine, but insisting on praying in lieu of getting real help or actually addressing the issue is when it is not only unhelpful, but dangerously detrimental."
"Religious people will bypass everyone’s cultures, identity, views, and feelings just to be right and make a point. it’s disgusting. I read somewhere that real so called Christianity is all wrong. The real faith is from the Aramaic history and all the meanings were misinterpreted and the stories and all were made up by Catholics wanting to control their people. Yuck."
'contamination'Disgusted Season 6 GIF by Brooklyn Nine-NineGiphy
"As someone with OCD with a lot of attention to 'contamination', having someone try to explain contradictions in why I'm doing something that is technically unclean when I wouldn't do something that is technically clean due to OCD. There are a few doorknobs that I will not touch no matter how much you clean them in front of me and I know it makes no sense, if it made sense I wouldn't have OCD i'd just be cleanly."
Stop trying to be an armchair therapist. Be empathetic to people first.