We don't really think about lockup too much in our every day lives. But for some people, it's their whole life. Can you even conceive of that? And with an extreme situation comes extreme circumstances.
Here were some of the answers.
Stick It To The ManGiphy
not a CO but know maintenance staff.
one inmate had a court date so left for the day. apparently during his day out he managed to aquire a loose screw. not big or anything, apparently he found it on the floor of the transport van.
anyway once back in his cell he decides to use the screw to drill a hole in the plexiglass window of his door. mind you the doors are a layer of plexiglass and then steel grating.
anyway he drills two holes one at the top and one at the bottom of about a 2ft tall window. he does this between CO patrols who are supposed to do a walk around every 15min.
the inmate then proceeds to tear his bedding and ravel it into a string which he feeds through the upper hole and back down through the lower hole. using the friction of the bedding he literally saws a giant hole in the plexiglass using nothing but his bedding.
when questioned he informed the guards that this took him roughly 11hrs to accomplish without a single CO noticing it.
he didnt escape; like i said there is still the steel grating. he literally just did this as a f--- you to the guards and he "had the spare time."
I did a bid in Florida about 4 years ago. While I was inside, they let my cell block come into the common area to watch the IHeartRadio awards. Never would have watched it on my own, but it was nice to have the distraction. This was the summer that Ariana Grande had that "One Less Problem" song, and she performed it right before JLo came to the stage. Now, I'm in with MOSTLY Puerto Rican inmates, so JLo being on was a big goddamn deal. Some dude just loses his s*** during the Ariana Grande song... and throws a very lightweight plastic chair at the TV. Didn't think it would do much damage, but it busted the LCD. Hell. Broke. Loose. Dudes weren't gonna get a chance to see JLo's butt, and they wanted blood for it. I ran my gringo behind back to my cell, and a 60-man brawl ensued.
All of this to say, in the midst of the insanity, one guy bit another guy's thumb off.
And swallowed it.
My husband is a guard. I'm not going to be able to tell this as well as he could but you'll get the point. He was doing count one night and there was an inmate that was bleeding so they went in to see what was happening. The inmate had bitten the inside of his wrist and forearm and pulled the skin off down to the muscle and tendons. He was also chewing on something and when he was told to spit it out he did and it was a chunk of his flesh. They rushed him to medical and he ended up having to be in the psych building (clearly) after he recovered.
Fine, Fresh, Fierce
With all the serious ones, I thought I would give a funny one too.
Worked in a youth correctional facility. The units were Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, etc... On Charlie dorm there were three openly homosexual youth who were WAY over the top when it came to stereotypical gay behavior (talked in lisps, used red kool aid powder to make lipstick, tied their sweater arms together to make a purse, etc..)
Well one day they are walking down the hall together, see me in my office and said "Hey AKteach, check this out" then the three of them dropped and did the Charlie's Angels pose. I laughed my *ss off.
The Worst Cases
Currently a CO. I work in one of the "reformed" mental health facilities for my state. Basically we're a prison with a strong focus on mental health rehabilitation. We deal with some of the state's finest (worst) cases. I've seen a man with a literal hole in his body from his chest to below his belly button. He put it there. It started after he ripped his intestines out and bit through them. He then proceeded to enlarge the hole slowly over time. Longest 4 point restraint inmate in the state's history.
I (female) teach (volunteer) in a minimum-security male prison. Security level of an incarcerated person doesn't correlate directly with the crimes they're incarcerated for, it's more about their public safety risks (such as reoffending). What that means is my class of minimum-security guys has all sorts of offenders in it (including rape, child abuse, murder). Our class is held a few times a week in a separate building than the main prison (trailer / portable).
My MoSt ExTrEmE story is one from spring time. It couldn't have been a more gorgeous day, and everyone was chatty about it. Suddenly, a bit of commotion in the back of the class. "Hey, Miss uh... hey Teacher Lady!" I head to the back of the trailer to check things out- everyone's gathered around a window. What, is there some new CO on the block or maybe a transfer inmate they're all ragging on, I swear these guys are just... I thought to myself, preparing for some juvenile nonsense.
At that moment, I saw what they could see: a momma cat and her three kittens trotting across the yard and settling in under some daffodils for a nap. A collective "aw" rose up from the trailer- quickly covered up with abrupt subject changes, sh*t-talking and class questions, of course. I can't help but smile every time I think about it.
Moral of the story: They're just people. Maybe they did some shi**y things (like, real shi**y things), or maybe they didn't and they're in there wrongly. Maybe they've been rehabilitated, or maybe they haven't. Hell, maybe they never will be. But everyone likes kittens.
Always The Quiet Ones
I have a family member who worked as staff (not a guard) at a state prison in California. Their job required them to work inside the prison. This was in 2010. There was another staffer who worked there, we'll call her Samantha. Samantha was an attractive 30 year old who was happily married and had two kids. She was generally well liked and nobody thought her behavior was strange or different.
One day the prison started having a major issue with cell phones being smuggled in. LOTS of cell phones. The prison launched a huge investigation complete with shakedown, squeezing troublemaker inmates, the whole 9 yards. In one of the sweeps they found a love note between one of the inmates and Samantha.
For anybody who doesn't know, prison guards and staff are absolutely prohibited from any sex with inmates. It's a serious crime that is prosecuted on a frighteningly regular basis.
Turns out Samantha was not only having a sexual relationship with the inmate who had the letter, but she was having sex with six other inmates. So, she was exchanging long love letters with a total of SEVEN inmates simultaneously!
One of the inmates had convinced her to smuggle in cell phones through the dry cleaning inmate work program. They estimate she smuggled in at least 50 phones this way. One of the other inmates she was involved with had been having his drug dealing proceeds from the street deposited into her personal savings account on the outside so they had money to run away together when the inmate got out. (The inmate was serving a 17 year prison term).
When this was discovered there was major fallout for the staff and inmates at the prison. Security was tightened considerably, the dry cleaning work program was suspended and Samantha was arrested and eventually sentenced to just over 3 years in prison.
The craziest thing about the whole situation? Samantha's husband stayed with her. She got out of prison several years ago and they are a seemingly happy family once again.
This is taking the word "extreme" to a different level, but when I was a prison guard (female working in a men's max) I worked in the kitchen. I tried to be firm, fair and consistent and it worked, I mean, I went home whole every night. Somehow a few of the prisoners found out it was my birthday and towards the middle of my shift they had me come around the office and there on the table was a 4 layer industrial size cake with pink frosting. I was touched. They told me to get my piece before everyone else did, and not even 10 minutes later it was gone.
Ignored Yet Attempted
My dad was a PE Officer in the prison service for a a couple decades, he has a few stories. One that I always remember was about there was this one kid who was about 16 but he was about 6'4 and built like a tank. He also had a bit of a temper. One day when my dad is supervising the gym workout he looks over towards the benches and this kid picks up a 34kg dumbbell, lifts it above his head and starts to swing it down onto another inmates head who is laying on one of the benches. My dad manages to sprint over, grab this kid and pin him against the wall, just in time to stop him from killing the other inmate. At this point my dad is thinking "If this kid wants to fight, he is probably going to win", but luckily he had a good reputation so the kid didn't fight but also other inmates alerted other guards.
If he was able to carry through with that swing, that inmates head would literally have exploded. There is no other outcome to that. It was straight up attempted murder.
Nothing ended up happening with the kid, the Prison head didn't deem it to be much of an issue because no one was hurt so my dad brought the 34kg dumbbell into the meeting to show her. She didn't care, ignored it because it makes her prison look better on paper.
My dad worked in a maximum security prison for ~25 years.
Said they were watching the cameras and one inmate snuck up on and stabbed another inmate, over and over again, like 10s of times over and over and over again, so the guards are scrambling to get there and try to save this guys life, they get there and there's no blood and they're still fighting. They break up the fight and turns out the sharpened toothbrush the inmate had made wasn't sharp at all, he didn't even break the guys skin with all those stabs.
Asked him what's the most inventive thing he's seen made, said they found two pull up bars (a c shaped handle attached to an inmates ceiling for pull ups) made out of oatmeal (or something like oatmeal) and toilet paper, like a paper mache. He said it was so strong, not only could it support a grown man hanging from it, he had to hit it off piece by piece with his flashlight and it took a lot of hits before it came down.
I'm no longer in corrections but definitely have a few stories from my time behind the fence. A tall, lanky, older gentleman that I'll call Suave was in segregation to be under watch. He was in an observation cell which is monitored 24 hours a day by camera from the Segregation control cab. I was out on a walk when a call came over the radio to check on Suave. I met another officer there to find this man stark *ss naked and prancing around his cell. He proceeded to lay on his bed and bring his legs to his knees to his shoulder in what appeared to be an attempt to suck his own dick. In retrospect, that would have been better than what he actually had planned.
Suave takes a full sized shampoo bottle and begins trying to shove it up his *ss. We tried to stop him and talk him out of it but the act continued. Suave didn't even bother lubricating the damn thing with the shampoo from the bottle. No, he was intent on this bottle going in dry. After approximately 30 minutes of struggle this man successfully shoved an entire shampoo bottle up his rectum.
Not being satisfied with the distance he had achieved he took a tooth brush and upon standing and bending over Suave began shoving the bottle further in his *ss by stabbing it with said toothbrush. By this time there was a considerable amount of blood involved. Once he was satisfied with his achievement Suave decided he needed to clean himself up by taking paper towels and wiping his legs, between his butt cheeks, and his bloody asshole. Then turning to me and looking me square in the eyes he proceeded to stick his tongue entirely out of his mouth and lick this bloody, shitty, nasty paper towel.
Suave then decides he needs to pee. Still naked and bleeding he stands facing the toilet visibly having difficulty with his stream. He turns peering over his shoulder and says to us "It sure is hard to take a piss with a shampoo bottle in your ass." with an amusing chuckle.
I have many stories but this is by far my favorite.
One Happy Moment
My dad did some time. Before he go locked up he was into construction, for this reason he was chosen to operate a backhoe off campus. So a guard and him are out there and dad was running the backhoe. Dad was so happy to be outside for a while and was having a blast when the guard told him to shut off the backhoe. The guard asked dad if he wanted to run. Dad said hell no, he wanted to get out of prison asap. Then the guard tells him he's gonna run into town and get lunch and leaves my dad unattended! When he came back he brought dad some left over pizza hut. So for the first time in three years, he got to go out and work and eat food from the outside. He said it was the only time he was happy in prison.
Corrections here: When I was first on the job, I was doing an overtime shift in the maximum security unit. It was my Friday, one hour to go, and my birthday weekend at that.
At 1400, while counting the minutes, a call comes out on the radio, "Central control, activate IMS, housing unit 3, inmate is refusing to cuff up and has broken the fire sprinklers in his cell. Requesting A-Team response, put B-Team on standby." IMS is code for locking down EVERYTHING. When you hear an IMS call, that means every inmate that is not in a cell must be secured. It's serious sh*t because when an event like this occurs, other officers must leave their respective posts to assist, which means officers that remain on their units while their counterparts assist are now even more outnumbered and that can easily spiral out of control. In short, any event like this is a serious security threat. In this case, max was put on lockdown while the rest of the institution kept about their business. Interesting thing is, when an IMS comes out for max, the collective prison sphincter cinches up a bit because max is where the real violent shit goes down.
An A-Team is always the first to respond. But the kicker with this one was the command to put the B-Team on standby. This means shit has hit the fan and anyone not immediately supervising inmates would be required to respond if so commanded. A B-Team deployment to max would send the rest of the 7,000 bed institution into a complete lockdown. All doctor appointments, visits, movement throughout the buildings is completely locked down. You'd hear sally port doors slamming shut everywhere. Really cool to experience it honestly. There's also C, D, and E teams. If those were ever called... Well, it shouldn't ever get to that point.
Anyway, being the new guy, I was elected to respond. When I arrived at the briefing area, we were immediately ordered to put on our riot gear and biohazard coveralls. Other officers helped us suit up so no skin was exposed. Only being a few weeks out of the academy, I did shit myself. This was not only my first A-Team response, but it was also a biohazard. "Blood, semen, urine, shit? Which is it, Sergeant?" "All of them." I don't believe in Jesus but I did briefly for that moment.
When we were escorted onto the unit, it was a warzone. The entire housing unit was full of gas, fire alarms blaring, red lights flashing everywhere. Even though we had our gas masks on, it didn't help as we had to put them on in a hurry. The first responding officers had to go in without any protective gear. The motherfucker was still in his cell. He had been gassed, maced, and hosed. He was unrelenting. I thought, "He's gotta be on PCP." Then I remembered this is max. Nothing gets in or out.
The inmate was ass naked covered in god knows what. Screaming unintelligibly. He was bleeding from his arms due to having bitten full chunks out of them. His cell was watered down from the sprinklers and from getting sprayed with any number of OC variants. The best part: this man, in all his naked splendor and rage, was 120% erect. The fullest boner you've ever seen. Something deep inside his primordial mind had gotten irrevocably turned on through all this. Even his penis being exposed to OC spray did nothing to stop it.
We stack up in a line. For cell breaches, 6 of us would line up in a "stick". The guy on point always had the shield. 2-5 had the cuffs. The last guy was the "moderator". He or she would give the inmate a final opportunity to comply, because the pain was fucking coming. "Inmate, this is your last opportunity to approach the door and cuff up. Do you comply?" Of course not.
When this inmate saw us line up, however, something changed, as if the holy spirit spoke to him. He cuffed up, was dragged out of his cell, still erect btw, and thrown into a shower. I didn't even get to breach the cell. The sight of 6 officers in full riot gear lining up outside your door, and you knowing full well they're gonna find a way to all fit in your cell in less than 3 seconds, can be a really humbling experience.
Big Old Riot
I worked part time at a prison, and as such was limited to low security wings that were also staffed by primarily women. Little short black women with very carefully sculpted hair. As a part timer I was also not allowed to engage belligerent prisoners. One day a fight broke out in one of the blocks, and I had to call it in and watch helplessly from my guard hut. A few moments later, the door burst open and a bunch of short, chubby black women with rainbow colored hair came pouring through with batons and began whipping *ss as all the prisoners covered their heads and ran into their cells.
Too Much Happens
My dad worked at the jail in Boston and has a ton of stories. I'm just learning about them now since I'm old enough to hear them.
Once when I was 7 my dad came home COVERED in human feces bc of a fight that broke out.
neo nazis and the like were dads LEAST favorite group. He said there were gangs and stuff going on but he remembers you would get a white guy that had "kill n****" written on his boots and my dad would love to put him on the floor with the majority of the black ppl. My dad said one guy said they would "own them" or whatever and one jailguard that worked with my dad said to him they're gonna distract us and get you. And then a few hours later that guy was begging to come out.
Also my dad used to bring home rubber pens bc you can sharpen real pens into a weapon. My sister and I used to like the rubber ones. Picture the ink tube inside of a regular pen surrounded by rubber. No story there. Just a fun fact.
Messed Up Dynamics
Not in USA. I knew a guy who did some time for weed possession on a tough prison. He told me about this kid around 18-20 who would get harassed and beaten by one particular fellow all the time.
One day the kid mom goes to visit and the abuser gets a look of her and apparently finds her attractive, so he actually threatens the kid and demands to have sex with her. Word is that the woman had to do it several times.
My friend told me that pretty much everyone agreed that the only solution for this kid problems would be for him to kill that guy even if it meant a longer sentence. Not sure what happened in the end.