Top Stories

Ex-Cons With Long Sentences Reveal What The Days Leading Up To Release Were Like

It's just like The Shawshank Redemption, right?

Being shut in prison for a long time must be incredibly hard. And then as the time comes up to be let out, how would it feel? When your new reality has become being an inmate, what is the next step like?

u/usernamecensored asked:

Ex-prisoners of reddit who have served long sentences, what were the last few days like leading up to your release?

Here were some of the answers.

Anger For Doing Their Jobs


I did 15 yrs 9 mths. Got paroled, and I didn't want anyone to know. Too many prisoners get flopped by the parole board (I did a six-month flop), and they get angry at the guys who get paroled. Guys will fight you just to try and get your parole taken, or some will see it at a chance to steal ("Hey, he's going home. He don't need that, and he sure ain't gonna fight for it."). I gave most of my stuff to lifers/long-timers who didn't have family to send them money. So, the last few days were really spent trying to take up the boredom of no way to pass the time. Didn't really work about work, already had a place to live (I'm one of the fortunate ones), just worked at keeping my head down and getting out of the gate.



I did 2 years, 6 months, 19 days for a violent crime I committed as a dumb 21 yr old. In the months leading up, I was basically walking on eggshells trying my best to make sure I didn't get into any fights, or any sort of trouble for that matter, that would get me put into solitary and could extend my time.

The night of I was just giving all my belongings away to friends: extra sneakers and clothes, soap and shampoo, polos for visits, cassette tapes, cooking utensils, food, books, etc. Everyone was grateful but definitely an odd experience to go through. Some of the younger dudes messed with me a little and roughed me up, more like in a friendly wrestling way and not actually fighting, but there was some added aggression in there as I could tell they were pretty jealous. I also made my last phone call from the in house phone booth to make sure my ride was going to be ready the next day.

That morning I woke up and was just like wait, this is really happening? Gave away any last minute stuff and said my goodbyes, traded a few addresses, and then was led down to the transport building for final preparations. After changing into street clothes, I sat there from 7:30-10:45, all the while with the guards telling me nobody was there to pick me up (I damn well knew my mom was there) and I had to wait until they showed up.

Finally they said my ride came, put me in the van and took me to the main admin building where I literally just walked up and through the front doors. I remember looking around like, really, I'm just allowed to walk right out?

Idk how to explain it, just a crazy thought to process after being locked up for those 2.5 years and being ordered to do everything and then suddenly, just go ahead, walk right out.

Got out, walked right up to my mom's car (she had been there waiting since 7 am, screw you COs for that last ploy), gave her one of the more emotional hugs of my life and then got in the car and she drove me out of there.

This October will be 8 years since my release. Not a day goes by that I don't think about it in some way.



I did a year in rehab and met a guy who did 25 years in prison for murder. I asked him a lot about what it was like inside and getting out and what it was like now that he was out.

He said he felt scared when he was getting out and kind of sad, because of all the people he was leaving. He'd been in that specific prison for over 8 years and knew almost everyone and had some close friendships that he missed. He felt lonely after he left and was actually glad that his halfway house was a live-in, year long rehab, if felt familiar to him. He did have a lot of trouble getting work though.


Unclear Futures

I asked my friend this since we are sitting at a diner. He said, you get excited and depressed at the same time. Excited for the freedom, depressed because you will have a hard time getting a job. He had been sentenced for 18 serving just shy of 13. He's doing well for himself and works on hot water heaters for a living.


Long Flights

Paraphrased from an old friend of mine: Excited but also scared and anxious. Partly because he was convinced that somehow they'd reverse his parole, partly because he was terrified he wouldn't be able to readjust. Was also afraid his relationships with his kids wouldn't be able to recover. Overall until he actually got out, he was more stressed than excited. But the last few hours, when he realized he was actually getting out, he said those were the longest hours of his life. Simultaneously happy but also thinking "OK they decided I get to go, why the heck can't I leave already?!" Said it was like taking a plane to go on your dream vacation, but the flight takes forever, there's no movie and you forgot to bring a book.


Fix The System

You should read The Prison Diaries by Jeffery Archer, it' s a real eye opener. Some of the long termers get released gradually back into society, but they struggle to deal with basic things such as using a supermarket -they've had so long where every decision is made for them, making their own decisions suddenly becomes too much to deal with.

Your instincts are to lock bad people up and throw away the key but for many prisoners this is counterproductive and they spend the rest of their lives costing the taxpayer instead of contributing to society.

The prison system is broken.


Dreaming Ain't Livin', Kid

I did 5 years. By that time I made it to a minimum security prison. That means a jail with no walls and no locks. You could easily escape if you wanted but you would just be an idiot too. The days dragged on slow. I couldn't sleep for the last few weeks. I was anxious and nervous. I had plans to have all types of sex and eat all types of food but none of my plans panned out the way I imagined they would.


Staying Out

I was stoked. You know that sense of euphoria you got on Christmas morning as a kid? It's like that, but it lasts a good year after you get out too.

Then life sets in and you realize it's hard to do anything as a convict. Most people just go back to prison, I managed to land a good job in the oil field and stay free.

I had all my tattoos removed, made sure nobody I used to know knew my number or where I was, then basically just hit the restart button. Most of the people you meet in prison are toxic, gotta disassociate with them and it makes things much easier.



I did 11 months, was a year but got out a little early. A lot of guys told me there was a lot of anxiety and the weirdest thing was being able to wake up, leave their house and go to bed at whatever time. Being so dependent on the government for so long and then just being released all of a sudden to take care of your own was a lot even for a lot of adults. Most of them being introduced to probation/parole so there are added hoops to your life as far as getting a job and doing everyday things.

When I was released I had a lot of things lined up for me like going back to school and had a good place to live, so when I got out I was ready to be out. The days leading up were very long days just watching the clock knowing you're finally going to be out in the real world. I was really nervous knowing I could have not gotten out on that day, but lucky for me I was and have got back into school since.


Getting Around To More Life


My husband is in prison and thinking about his transition home is always kind of nerve wracking.

He is going to need so much. A car, a job, clothes, personal items, a phone, etc. So now that he is halfway through his sentence we have started talking about saving, and he's begun to save money from his paychecks.

We also won't be living together right away because we have never lived together outside of prison, and we have to ease into being around each other for more than 9 hours a week.

He's really looking forward to getting out but I see him interact with all of his buddies and I know leaving them will be hard for him.

He is lucky enough to have a job lined up when he gets out but u can't imagine how hard it would be for someone who doesn't. 15 years on the inside doesn't look so good on a resume.


County Without Sun

I did 14 months in a county jail. The days were long. I played a lot of cards, chess and I made everyone laugh (including the co's) Honestly, jail saved my life.

The days leading to processing out was weird to say the least. I hadn't seen the sun in soooo long. The weirdest thing was using silverware. I went to eat at a Denny's that morning and my eggs tasted like metal. I didn't know what the fuck and then it dawned on me. I've only been using plastic utensils.


A New World

You go in as a person people around you know. after doing a stretch, even if you keep in contact when you get out your whole family is strangers. There has been births, deaths, divorces, etc. You don't know these people anymore. Wondering what family life will be like was a thought on my mind.


I honestly can't remember much about the days leading up to release, I do remember the bus ride back home though. I've never felt that unreasonably happy. i was smiling like an idiot the entire ride, which was substantial. It was a surreal experience. I still feel the buzz of freedom years later after shit tons of probation and rehab. sometimes I'm in a grocery store and it feels crazy to be completely free and anonymous.


A Careless Life


I came out completely different socially. I used to love crowds, people, festivals, outside concerts, etc. I came out afraid of those things. My crime was non-sexual, non-violent. I would stay at home in complete silence for days. I had never gotten into any trouble before or since. And I've never been the same.

People don't understand prison in America. They think they do, but they don't. They really think there's all this education, good food, and heath care...But prisoners can't complain. There isn't ANY of that. Not in a real sense. Like you would recognize it. Rehabilitation? Thats a joke. No it's a joke, the running joke with the people who work there. They just want you to shut up, stop bothering them, so they can finish their blah blah story. Oh, there's someone having a heart attack? We'll call the infirmary as soon as the game is over.



4 years. It was surreal & scary. It didn't feel real the few days before getting out, when I found out my release was coming a few months earlier than I'd originally thought. I thought it was all a mistake. I felt so used to being there I thought they'd tell me it was a mixup & I must stay.

Even the next few months at home I thought they'd arrest me & say it was a mistake & I must return to prison. I was overwhelmed & scared to go in public, out with friends, etc. I always thought something would happen to make me go back.

All the choices in stores freaked me out after having so little choice for so long. I remember standing in a lotion aisle for 30 minutes wondering if I needed lotion for dry skin, aloe, extra moisture, scented, etc. I gave my list to my uncle & asked him to get my things while I sat in the car.

The last few days in prison though were just surreal. I was excited, but cautious about getting my hopes up even though it was a sure thing. You're expected to give all your things away. I did but again was scared I'd have to stay & my stuff would be gone. I was very institutionalized.


Andy Dufresne Moments

I think The Shashank Redemption represents it very well.

After so many years in prison you become institutionalized. It's like being born again but without adults to guide you, protect you and take care of you . You're on your own, you have responsibilities and the world doesn't help you. Get busy living or get busy dying.


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.