What a lot of people don't realize about being stuck in the prison system for a long time, is that you're completely cut off to what is happening in the world. So by the time you get out of prison, things have radically changed. We can certainly sympathize with the idea of being newly accustomed to a brand new world, after having spent most of your life away from it. Here are a few examples of this, straight from the people of Reddit.
u/thebunnybullet asked: Prisoners of Reddit that served long sentences, what was the biggest culture shock to you once you were released?
They are pretty cool.
Worked with a guy that became obsessed with electronics in new vehicles, like he was impressed with the stock radio in my work truck. When he got a car a couple of the guys helped install a radio with on star in it.
I wonder if he knows about Tesla and their autopilot.
Those are the best.Giphy
First day out I went to McDonald's and they changed the soda fountains to touch screen and let you add flavors and stuff blew my mind.
The machines are connected to the internet for automatic software updates and such. This also let's the app send it your custom mix.
I've never cared to do it but it's cool nonetheless.
That must be really nice.
I've heard it said that carpeted floors are pleasantly shocking after years of walking on nothing but cement.
I can relate to this. I worked as a tree planter for an entire summer, where you're walking around on bumpy forest terrain, dodging roots, mud, dips, etc for 12 hours everyday. Coming back to civilization and walking on a carpet felt like I was floating.
I can only imagine how it would've felt after years.
Cars are totally different now.
I interviewed a dude who went in for murder in the early 80s and was released a few years ago because of DNA testing. It wasn't cell phones or the internet that threw him, he knew about that stuff pretty well. It was the cars. He was a mechanic before he was sentenced and he said cars now are so different and have so much electronics.
- The switch from carburetors to fuel injection
- The phasing out of drum brakes in favor of disc
- Introduction of airbags
- Massive changes in headlight configuration and technology
- The shift from manual controls to power controls, to keyless entry, and then to smart keys
- Dual clutch transmissions
- On-board diagnostics
- Tire pressure monitoring
- Backup cameras
And that's just scratching the surface.
Me, I hate it. I miss being able to make a quick and easy repair for something basic, instead of needing to waste an entire day (or longer) on something that should be a five-minute job.
The dishwasher at my old job served 26 years for murder. He was 21 when he went in, came out to a completely different world.
I remember him constantly asking me questions to look up on my smart phone, and I never got why. Finally I convinced him to get one and spent hours walking him through it. Then I realized he thought my phones sole functionality was to look up info and was taken aback at how much other stuff smartphones can do.
Nicest man in the world, still keep up with him to this day.
For those interested in the story, I'll share. Also might add that he is very open with sharing his story because he's served his time and moved on.
He grew up in a very poor area, his parents worked in the custodial arts at a well known public university. His description of the town he lived in was a total culture shock to me. Very ghetto, tons of crime. Some guy had been repeatedly assaulting his girlfriend at the time and told him if he did her one more time, he'd kill him. After it happened again, he said he went to his house, buried a clip in his chest, went home and waited for the police to arrive. I remember him saying how he told his dad what he did when he got home and had already accepted the fact he's going to prison.
He was 21. He's around 58 now, and still works harder than anyone in the restaurant. He admits how stupid he was when he was a kid, and wishes it never happened but he's accepted his circumstances and moved on.
I work at a global fast food chain, and one guy and a woman entered, the guy was covered with tattoos. I was at the register taking orders and overheard the guy say "What the hell is this?" Referring to the kiosk. He and the woman ended up ordering from me and not the kiosk. The dude said to me, "You go away for a while and everything changes. It's crazy!" He was a really nice dude and it was kind of wholesome to see the woman teaching him about new technology.
Tinder and Uber are pretty neat.
A friends brother went away for about 10 years. Hit and run while he was smoking a bit of weed in his car before school and ended up killing an old man who was our walking. He was a nice kid and the man seemed like a nice guy family guy too. Sad situation all around.
He was pretty shocked by everything smartphone apps could do. He knew about this stuff because he was in a low security unit, but he really had a hard adjusting to actually using it. Seeing and hearing about this stuff second hand is a huge difference to actually using it. His mind was blown by tinder and uber. He had a hard time grasping touch screens or couldn't really see why they were better than buttons. He's never even had a debit card and paid for everything in cash before he went in. He lost it when he saw people tapping their phones to pay for stuff. I think he really struggled applying to jobs online.
My friend told me he struggled being in big open spaces for a bit. He didn't like to sit facing a wall with his back to all the people and stuff like that. Got really annoyed when people moved or touched his stuff.
Also, told me that he was pretty lonely. She didn't go into too much detail, but all of his friends had moved on with life, gone to school, gotten jobs, many were married with kids. They were still friendly to him when he got out, but they were all almost 30 and had moved on. He was basically just starting at 18 with a criminal record.
That was 2ish years ago though. He's finishing up a city college program and going to a state school starting next year. Actually feel pretty bad for him because his family was planning on making this whole big surprise thing for him for finishing city college and it all had to be put on hold because of COVID-19. I know their are bigger worries in the world now, but it's a bummer that he doesn't get to really celebrate his first big accomplishment since prison or really in his adult life at all.
That is a big change.Giphy
Not me personally, but a guy once gave a talk at my school after wrongfully being on death row for over 20 years. He was from the same town as me, and he went on and on about how when he was growing up there it was almost farmland, and when he got out he was suddenly surrounded by fast food, industry, and development.
Remember reading a story about a British criminal (might have been one of the great train robbers?) who came out after a long sentence, and said the biggest change for him was the noise cars made. When he went in, he could tell if a car was accelerating, slowing down and how fast it was going by the noise it made.
When he got out, he had trouble crossing roads if a car was approaching because he couldn't work out the speed of oncoming traffic. Maybe in some ways the world isn't noisier than it used to be?
To be fair, I freaked out the first time I saw this too.
Not me, but my uncle came back from prison after 20 years or something because of something that I am not informed about, probably robbery based on what I've heard. But regardless, here's a funny story.
So essentially he came back from jail and he came back to our house just to see the family. And I thought I'd mess with him knowing that he wasn't accustomed to Future capabilities.
I just told my house bot to turn on the lights in the living room as we walked in, I look back, and his face was like he just saw a ghost. Funniest sh*t I'd ever seen.