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 amount of frivolous personal complaints seems to have hit new levels.
Whether it's complaints from co-workers or customers, nonsense is nonsense. The things I've heard people complain about in the workplace boggles my mind.
"Your smile isn't bright enough."
"I didn't feel appreciated."
"The color of your shirt is too loud."
"Your name is offensive."
Redditor InfiniteCalendar1 wanted to hear about some of the drama that's been thrown people's way, so they asked:
"What is the most ridiculous thing someone has filed a complaint against you or someone you know about?"
I once had a customer complain I didn't read the menu to her.
Not make suggestions, but literally read the menu to her.
"you guys have a great day"Giphy
"Working in retail I once said 'you guys have a great day' I was reported by an elderly women who objected to not being addressed as 'ma'am'."
"She also objected to 'have a great day' because she had come into the aquarium store because her fish was dead and she was upset that someone would tell her to 'have a great day' when her fish had died."
A measly grand?
"I got sued in small claims court by a mentally ill man who said I stole $1000 worth of roast beef and 2 sun tanning lights from him."
"It got continued twice and by the time we had our day in court, he forgot what he sued me for and just went off on a tirade about me being an a**hole."
"I once had a complaint filed against me for calling someone a slur in the elevator. My boss called me in, and we watched the camera footage from the elevator."
"Me and the other person were talking and having a good conversation and laughing with each other. My boss just said 'yeah I watched it earlier and I have no idea what they are talking about'."
"So someone tried to get me fired for no reason."
(manager and up)
"I once was told there was a high-level (manager and up) meeting being held about me… on account of my emails being written too well. :/ "
"I can write quick, well-worded emails, and someone in upper management thought that I must have been spending too much time writing my emails, possibly as a means of appearing to be superior to others."
"I worked at McDonalds. A man put a complaint in because I wouldn't let him in after we'd already shut."
Yeah, closed means closed.
You had time to get there during open hours. See you tomorrow.
We have lives too.
No thank you...Giphy
"Got a complaint filed against me by a customer for unnecessary rudeness because I turned down a guy's offer to take me out on a date."
"He asked me (repeatedly) while I was working. Dude was at least in his mid 40s; I was 16."
a scarlet letter...
"When I was a teenager working at an ice cream store, a secret shopper wrote that I was 'friendly but did not smile'."
"This write up was posted on the bulletin board like it was a scarlet letter of shame and the manager talked to me about smiling more."
"30 years later, I am still friendly but unsmiling."
A Little Off
"I had a coworker from a different department call me this morning and threatened me for something his boss had done regarding something I have no control over."
"I eventually got him to sheepishly admit that there was nothing I had control over in the situation and he was mad his boss had made the decision without consulting him first."
"Government work attracts some odd balls."
I hate retail!
"I was working in a lighting store (ceiling lights, chandeliers, etc). Secret shoppers would get sent over to us every so often and they were usually pretty obvious."
"This guy claimed he needed ceiling fans for his home so I go through the whole thing finding fans that work in his rooms, suit the design of his home, airflow needs, etc. But obviously without a specific need to buy something requiring electrical wiring this guy left without purchasing."
"He wrote that I was excellent in every way but didn't try to upsell him anything."
"At the next staff meeting the manager read this out, tried shame me in front of everyone and stressed that we need to try and sell people crap they don't even need."
"How the heck do I upsell a damn ceiling fan? 'Hey would you like a $2000 crystal chandelier with your fans? How about a set of garden lights?' I hate retail."
Stay Literate...Read Friends Tv GIFGiphy
"I once had a coworker file an HR complaint against me for reading books at lunch."
"I told HR that he's probably just offended I'm not reading hardcore pornography magazines on the clock like he does."
I'm so glad I work at home with only dogs and a cat.
And when I go outside I avoid eye contact for all of these reasons.
Find some inner peace folks.
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Death is coming for all of us.
I hate that fact about life, so I do my best to ignore it. But I know it's there. So every once in a while I can't help but wonder about it.
My biggest hope is the end is quick and painless, but some warning would be nice, so I have time to do a few things.
I often ponder what that list of "things" would entail if I was given a warning.
And what if that ending was coming fast? How do you sufficiently spend a few hours wrapping up a life?
Redditor Valleygawd wanted to hear about how we would spend those final, precious moments by asking:
"You have 24 hours left alive, what do you do for your last day on earth?"
"Say goodbye to all my friends, go outside and take my dog on a long walk and then back home to have pizza and await my fate."
"Eat McDonald's at a Burger King. What they gonna do, send me to jail for life."
"I'd buy two large fries and two large cokes at Mcdonald's and take them over to Burger King and order two whoppers for lunch."
"I know this is satire, but a buddy of mine once got kicked out of a McDonald's lobby for bringing in KFC. We were all in high school and meeting to do homework but instead we all ended up leaving."
You've Got Mail
"Send out a chain message to everyone I know saying that if you don't share this with 10 people, the person you received this message from will die tomorrow."
"Plus add on that if the people they share it to don't share it to 10 other people, they will die themselves."
"If I'm guaranteed 24 hours alive I will do a ton of extremely dangerous crap because I can't die until the 24 hours are up."
"Morphine drip is how a lot of us go anyhow. Doesn't seem so bad."
Well that should keep the time lively, but I don't understand doing things that could cut short what little time there already is.
To each their own, I guess.
Out & AboutGiphy
"If I'm gonna die, then they might as well know. I'm coming out, doing what I want for once and having the most comforting day in my life."
Expose it All
"Tell everyone I love how I feel and then get all my passwords and crap in order so people can close out all my online activities. Then go hold my wife until I die... well, probably I'll go sit in the emergency room to die so my wife doesn't have to remember me dying in her arms the rest of her life."
"Rack up as much debt as I can buying expensive things and hiding them for my family to find later (after the estate has been sorted out)."
"Makes me wonder if I have 50k in CC debt and 75k in the bank, does my family get all 75 or will the bank be legally entitled to get 50k back?"
"The banks get 50k and your family gets the leftovers. If you don't have enough money then your estate is dissolved and your family gets nothing, the debt goes away (unless someone tricks your fam into paying the debt with their money)."
Send the Message
"Spend the 24 hours with my kids and family cultivating a few last precious memories for them. Also a few hours staving off sleep recording messages for them to be able to listen to when they are older - things they aren't old enough to hear, but I would like them to hear from me when they are ready for the message."
I don't know anymore...
"Well, I wouldn't live long enough to face the consequences for whatever I do, so I'd do some things I see as bad ideas at the moment:"
"I'd cuss out my most hated person in the world. Forget that guy."
"I'd tell my best friend (former best friend? I don't know anymore...) how I feel about them, and apologize for hiding it."
"Other than that, I dunno what I'd do, maybe spend time with friends or family or panic. Make sure to let everyone know that I wouldn't be around much longer."
Where to Begin?Giphy
"Fix my will, delete all electronics, call a firm to take my stuff to goodwill, call a real estate agent and put apartment for sale, give my organs to hospital. And if time, I reckon a good nap and massage would be nice too."
Is there really a best way to spend your last 24 hours?
You can't travel, that's time consuming. There will always be so much more to do.
Que será, será, I suppose.
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You never really know the people you meet.
Sound a little too much? You'd be surprised.
Who was the most dangerous person you've meet?
You can meet people randomly, anywhere, who might possess more than what's on the surface. Either their past, or their present, dictates their capabilities, and if you say or do the wrong thing, they could lash out at you at any moment.
Say More Right Now!
"My ex. He was handsome and charismatic and very charming. Like a monster in beautiful sheep's clothing. Suddenly after a few fingers of Brandy, he made Charles Manson look inviting. It took 4.5 years, a hostage situation, a SWAT team, and me changing my name and moving 5 states to get away."
"Some people need warning labels."
Needing Something To Help Change
"A guy who I knew for a long time, was extremely friendly and overall a nice guy, we used to live in the same building but didn't hang out often."
"Time passed and I didn't see him for years, though he headed back to the state his family lives at, pretty far from where I live, instead, I learned after he got released that he went to prison for 7 years for drug dealing and [selling] illegal guns, turns out the guy was kind of a big shot in organized crime [around] the area, never suspected a thing."
"Now days he did a completely 180°, his daughter was born and he's working in a honest job, I'm glad things are looking better for him, still kinda weird, I used to play soccer with the guy and thought I knew him well, when in fact I knew nothing about him..."
Not Full Of It
"So seems like everyone is naming off various criminals. I was in the military (not me or any of my close buddies, I was a mechanic). One of the instructors in my training company was a sniper with many deployments and a slew of confirmed kills. Sometimes instructors like to hype themselves or fellow instructors up to scare recruits. Well I ended up running into him a few years later on deployment and turns out he was indeed not full of sh-t. He was about to board one of birds to go out on a mission. One that ended being "successful". Also, outside of boot camp, he was a very calm and genuinely nice guy. Unless you were the enemy of course"
"I once met a violent felon from England who had just been released from prison. My cousin took me to a random house party, I started a conversation with the other person that seemed awkward there. Turns out they had just been released from prison recently for violent offense. To make matters worse, instead of flashing him the peace sign as I left, apparently I made a vulgar gesture and I had to get to the vehicle quickly."
It's always the ones you least expect, right? The ones who are maybe a little too quiet, or maybe a little too nice, who reveal themselves to be the most deadly.
A Lot For Someone Under 18
"Grew up with a kid on my street in a small town. He was a few years older than kinda a punk as a kid, but we all were. Used to skateboard, rollerblade and he would show me Explicit music when I was too young to get it myself. Come high school time we never really associated because he had gotten heavily into drugs. Got into a bad meth deal and went back and blew their heads off a few blocks from our houses… After the whole story came out, it turns out they had tied him to a chair and burnt him with cigarettes repeatedly. Obviously killing someone is wrong but, I'm fairly certain a child doesn't deserve full punishment for killing 2 men who tortured him. I'm pretty sure he got life in prison before he even turned 18"
Almost Hired Them
"We had a young carpenter come to our home to discuss a remodeling job when we had young children."
"Very soon afterward there was an article in the newspaper about him - how he had been accidentally released from prison. He had murdered a small child, and was sent back to jail."
"I've always wondered what could have happened if we had hired him, and our children had been rambunctious and annoyed him....."
Not Where I'm Supposed To Be
"Some guy I met in county jail. GP was filled up, so they put me on the psych floor. I figured he was just there for a minor thing because he didn't seem like a bad guy. Turns out he killed two people over a drug deal gone bad. Dismembered their bodies then just left them like that in an open field to send a message."
"Why were you in the same pod as them? What crimes were you in for damn"
"Warrant for unpaid speeding tickets. Back then, county was so full, they just put you wherever there's space to fit a new body. They didn't care."
You Think You Know Someone...
"The security guard at my office building was the nicest guy. Always greeted everyone by name, always remembered little details about people, like, "Hey, how is your dog doing? Did everything check out at the vet?" And so on. Told me he was patrolling the lot, and noticed the air in my tires was getting a bit low, and to be careful."
"One morning, he came in, was telling jokes, smiling as always."
"Later that evening found out he had killed his wife and young son the night before, and came into work like nothing happened!"
Never Let Age Or Stature Indicate Capability
"Something similar happened to me. This girl I wouldn't say was scary in the sense of stature or physically scary at all, though she was pretty weird. So I worked at phone store a couple years ago and she came in with her mom, she's probably high school aged if I recall correctly, so they come in and this is the 2nd time in a week or so so I help them out again, they buy 2 phones and 2 smart watches and finance it all on their account, both happy as can be laughing and making conversation."
"I show up to work the next day and my manger is talking about something in the news, apparently [Insert girls name] had taken her best friend out into the woods and shot her in the back of the head the day before she came in and bought some stuff from me. I spent probably a good 2 hours with her. Pretty crazy stuff."
Dungeons & Dragons & Murder
"Similar - A guy I used to play D&D with ran the game from his basement. He told us one week to move our stuff from the table to a shelf if we were going to leave it there because he was going to do "spring cleaning" in the late summer. The room looked clean but what ever. He "forgot" to do it that week and had us to it the next week (2nd friday). Then the third friday when we gamed again he got a call from the cops asking if he knew anything about his ex from 10 years ago that was missing. He told us all he had nothing to do with it. That following monday he was swated, the cops searched his house and took his truck. A month later they found an odd stop on his trucks GPS. After checking that stop they found her body."
"The entire time he was acting like his normal self other then "being tired from cleaning". He is now sitting in jail. I wrote him once. He acts like nothing is wrong and that he will be out "soon" even though its been a full year. I hope he rots."
You never know who you're talking with.
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Humans can connect with everything.
Which fictional character's death made you cry?
Let's get the notable ones out of the way, the ones that hit us as kids that we've never truly gotten over.
Feeling That Real World Connection
"Sirius Black; I sobbbbbbed my first read through of Order of the Phoenix ."
"As someone who's parents are dead and who's uncle became the parent by default, I can't agree more with this. I watched his death while running on the treadmill the other day and had to stop because I was crying from all orifices"
The Song Is Called "Married Life." You're Welcome.
"Ellie from Up! "
"Gets me every time"
Gotta Watch Them Bees
"Too many to count but I remember crying my eyes out at the end of My Girl when I was like, seven or eight watching it on VHS, probably the first character death that made me cry"
"His glasses! He can't see without his glasses." Gets me EVERY time"
Just When You Think There's Only One To Deal With...
"Tara from Buffy"
"Also Joyce, I bawled my eyes out"
"I'm showing Buffy to a friend for the first time and Joyce's death basically just happened. Buffy's reaction is so heartbreaking. We watched Once More With Feeling last night so Tara's death is only a few episodes away now. I'm dreading it."
Maybe it's the nature of the death, or how we feel a character didn't deserve their untimely fate, that resonates with us the most. "They didn't deserve that!" we'll scream to no one because we're in a theater or at home, watching Netflix at 3 in the morning.
You Know There's Only Going To Be One
"Ali in squid game"
"I actually cried"
"There are other scenes that made me cry in the show, but Ali's is the only one that's literally so goddamn hard for me to watch."
I'm Tired, Boss
"John Coffey from The Green Mile."
"Ughhh. It's "Don't put me in the dark boss, I'm scared of the dark" gets me every time. That and hanks grabbing his hand."
That's Somehow Worse Than Crying?
"Leslie in Bridge to Terabithia"
"I didn't cry, but I still remember vivid dreams about trying to find her in a search party on more than one occasion."
And then there's these, characters who sacrificed everything for the ensuring safety of their friends, family, and loved ones.
Men Are Imperfect
"Borimir, he died with honor, you wanna make a man cry show him a gripping scene of a man restoring his honor and being strong in the face of great adversity at the cost of his own life. The scene with him as he dies holding aragorns hand asking forgiveness and receiving it, im tearing up rn f-ck."
"Disappointing how far I had to scroll to find this response."
"Boromir was a true representative of mankind. An extremely complex character that was good at heart, but was overcome with desperation. He didn't know what would happen with his community and acted how he thought was right."
"At the end of the day, he did the right thing when his friends were in danger."
"One of the best characters ever to be created. He causes such internal strife for me every time I watch the movies. Depending how my life is at the time, I will agree with different aspects of his actions. But at the end of the day I will always respect him and cry when he dies."
He Might Have Been Your Father...
"Since I watched it again last night, Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. The Ravager funeral always gets to me, especially Kraglin's reaction to it."
"He may have been your father, boy, but he wasn't your daddy!"
"My wife had a six year old daughter when we met. She'd gone no contract with the father when my step daughter was 2 because he was unstable and had violent tendencies. My step daughter tracked him down when she was about 14 and started rebuilding their relationship. He'd gotten mental health treatment in the twelve years since my wife met him, so we were okay with this and she even went live with him for a while. That didn't last because he didn't have the patience to cope with the unique challenges of being a parent to her (she has her own mental health issues) and she came back home, saying that she was glad to have gotten to know him but that I was her real dad."
"Yeah, I ugly cried in the theater when Yondu died."
You Can Rest, Now
"Tony Stark, he was the first hero I watched in high school. By the time he died, I realized I'd known the guy through movies for over 10 years at that point. I had graduated college, grad school, and started a new job. All those memories of my friends learning how to play the iron man theme song were some of the best years."
"This one was harsh. I was not expecting it."
"And then you start thinking about his kid and Pepper who he left behind. Damn, I'm going to get choked up thinking about it."
I'm not crying.