What do you think of when you hear the word “prisoner?” It probably conjures up an image of someone scary locked behind bars. When most people think of criminals in prison, they don’t usually think of kindness. But according to a lot of people who work in, have spent time in, or know people who’ve been in prison, that isn’t always the case.
Prisoners are people too and they have a capacity for kindness just like everyone else. They can help others, share, care for animals, learn from each other, and even help to take care of the people who are guarding them.
Apparently, prison isn’t always a terrible place full of hardened criminals. According to these people on Reddit who have spent time in prisons, they have witness criminals do plenty of good, kind, wholesome, and even funny acts. Read on for the best stories of prisoners being exactly the opposite of what you might expect.
This is so kind.
Working as a jail nurse, I had an inmate that had a family member pass while they were in. He was clearly upset that he was unable to attend the funeral, the other inmates in his pod held a memorial for him to speak and have support. –Pinknurse81
Just because you are in prison doesn’t mean you aren’t an animal lover.
I’m not a prison guard, but I was a prisoner. Out in the yard, a frog found its way into the enclosure from under the door. A group of inmates found it and started pushing other inmates that wanted to step on it.
They protected it until it went back under the door. It was sweet seeing these other inmates, who were in jail for violent crimes, ready to throw down to let the frog live. –Trannysaurus-Sex
Sometimes prisoners aren’t what they expected.
Not in prison, but locked inpatient psych unit. We had a prisoner shipped to us bc he needed chemo during his life-long sentence. I was only 21 (female) at the time and he was 6’5, in his forties. I was assigned as his 1:1 sitter and transport companion. I was terrified to be 1:1 with him bc he was so much bigger than me and had murdered 3 people about 15 years ago.
One day, after his chemo session, I was sitting with him and we were both eating a sandwich. He looked over and said “I really hope I don’t scare you. I’m a different person now. Thank you for eating lunch with me.”
So simple but so pure. –parkerlou92
Prisoners putting their talents to good use.
Not a guard, but did some time at a minimum-security facility (for drug possession). My cellmate was a professional tattoo artist before his sentence. You’d think there would be a lot of requests for ink jobs, but he spent most of his time making drawings for other prisoners.
They’d give him things out of commissary in exchange for a picture they could mail to their families. The warden eventually just let him hold art class once a week. Even though having to check-in/out the pencils and pens was a stark reminder that yes, we were in prison, those classes were a lot of fun and helped pass the time.
We’d talk trash about each other’s art – ‘your drawing is a crime against the arts, we hereby sentence you to thirty days of finger painting!’ For some of the guys in there, this class was the first time they had any real exposure to art instruction. Seeing someone in their late 30s,40s,50s, get really really excited about shading and blending and in general, just stoked about what they made was pretty cool. –UrsaBuffet
These inmates may have saved her life.
Former CO: In the pod adjacent to mine a nurse was passing meds when an inmate grabbed her and put a pencil to her neck and threatened to stab her. The CO called a code and I took off running the 100 or so yards to respond.
By the time I got there three inmates had tackled and subdued the hostage taker, I walked up and we threw cuffs on the guy and escorted him to seg. The three inmates who helped had a little ceremony and received a reduced sentence. You don’t mess with women and don’t mess with an inmates medication. –The_Waco_Kid7
Prison must be super boring.
I saw inmates playing truth or dare. Like little kids. –daniscienceguy
Wow, this is amazing.
While working the floor one night, one of our officers had a heart attack and collapsed. An inmate rushed over, began CPR, got another inmate to run to the control booth and get help on the way, and saved his life.
The inmates cheered and applauded when the officer revived. Not one inmate in that pod tried to take advantage of the situation.
It gets even more amazing!
There was also an incident with the state facility, where a prison bus was hit and rolled. The inmates did not flee, helped the injured, including the guards, and even directed traffic at the scene until police could take over.
In both cases, the inmates involved received reduced sentences. –Faelwolf
This is wholesome– and also very healthy.
I work non-security. One time I had an inmate walk up to me, super-sketchy like. He reached in his pants. I mentally prepared myself to see his junk.
But instead, he pulled out a piece of fruit.
He then proceeded to pull out twenty pieces of fruit from his pants, handing one to every inmate in the room.
When I went to scold him about taking food out of the dining hall he said, “what? I brought some for everyone!”
OMG! They made slime.
I’ve done volunteer work in prison education programs before and it was just the most-pure, wholesome thing ever. We brought in fun science activities that we usually do with kids and these groups of grown men just lost it with excitement.
They were so bored all the time, all they wanted to do was learn and ask questions, and they were totally respectful about it (this was especially appreciated as I am a tiny woman). We had fascinating discussions about global warming, made slime and volcanoes, it was awesome. A couple of the guys couldn’t read and afterward, they told us they appreciated that we explained everything with pictures and drawings. I love my job.
Most people don’t even volunteer to help other people when they aren’t in prison.
I volunteer tutor in local institutions. I help incarcerated individuals work towards earning their high school diploma, those who are illiterate and people who speak English as a second language.
I’ll never forget how many inmates volunteered their time to help these students work to complete their educational goals. Whether it was to help them study, help translate or just offer moral support. Learning a new language or subject can be frustrating so it’s incredibly beneficial to have such a supportive environment.
Who doesn’t love a plot twist?
I work medical in a jail, and one day while I was doing the evening medication pass in one of our medium security units, a movie was on TV. I was in the unit for 15 or so minutes and it was so funny to see 30 guys crowded around this tiny TV in the day room watching the “Interstellar” so intently.
It was towards the end of the movie, and when it got to the big plot twist, all these guys completely lost it. It was a very humanizing moment, and I’ve never seen a group of grown men so excited and in awe about something.
This is so sweet.
My fiance spent some time in a minimum security prison in his misspent youth and one day he went into one of the activity rooms and accidentally interrupted a Kwanzaa celebration.
He apologized and went to leave but they told him to stay and learn about it with them. So he stayed and they spent the entire time teaching this blond haired, blue eyed punk kid about the true meaning of Kwanzaa. He loved it. –bagzilla
Prisoners are moms, too.
For me as a former female CO, I got to go to the hospital with the pregnant detainees & meet their babies. It’s amazing how people switch roles and put everything aside (most detainees aren’t too big of fans of their CO’s) but they’d always smile so big and ask me to either hold their hand through labor and especially hold their baby.
And the guys are still dads.
I am at a male facility, and these guys see me and they are so proud and excited to show me the newest set of baby pics from their SOs.
They ask me questions about whatever seemingly weird thing is going on with their kids to get advice/be reassured. If I’m working on a festival day or a day one of them knows they’re getting a visit, they want me to come out and see the kiddos and meet their SOs. It’s really touching. –CordeliaGrace
Um, this is adorable. And festive!
Last year we had a group of inmates that one of the program’s instructors had gathered that went around the prison Christmas caroling. –GoldysMassiveArms
They made snow angels!
It snowed at the prison my brother is at, and the prisoners had snowball fights and made snow angels. When I asked if that was a normal thing, my brother said, “oh yeah, we have pillow fights in the summer” (made me laugh). –TheRabadoo
A prison costume contest sounds amazing.
Just a few weeks ago the inmates in my pod held a small Halloween costume contest.
Their costumes were made out of paper bags and toothpaste glue. There was a witch, wizard, tooth fairy, hula girls. It was cute and they let me pick the best costume. –kristalwash
And these inmates aren’t just into Halloween.
There’s also one inmate that makes personalized paper Christmas stockings for each female officer and arranges them over a drawing of a fireplace.
I try to support the wholesome stuff that keeps them busy for a while. –kristalwash
Little things in prison mean a lot.
My father was a prisoner. It was boring visiting him on very long days as a teenager (we would spend the whole day from morning till evening there to make the trips worthwhile). I took the foil wrapper from a Hershey’s bar and made an origami rose out of it.
My dad called a very young guy that was visiting with his young wife over and gave him the rose to give to his wife who was visiting that day. The young couple seemed really happy. Guys on the inside can’t give much to their loved ones, so I could tell that really meant something to them. I’ve also never thought of my dad as being the kind to be helpful in that way. –Damsell
Prisoners and dogs…I’m already crying.
My mum is a prison guard at the local max security. They have this program where the prisoners can foster dogs from the shelter down the road and help to train and socialize them.
The amount of prisoners who and up adopting their prison buddy when they get out or getting a family member to adopt them for them is astonishing! They do a lot of good for each other. –Leah8329
My mum was a nurse in a high-security prison quite a few years ago. She was working when she was pregnant with my younger brother. When the prisoners found out she was pregnant they somehow got hold of a heap pregnancy books and made sure she was eating a proper diet (they met her each morning with a glass of milk), made sure she always had a chair wherever she went, nagged her about having a rest with her feet up every day and made toys for the baby and even held her a baby shower with a cake (the prisoners worked in the kitchen).
They took their job protecting her seriously.
Two weeks before her due date there was a massive riot and a few of the not so nice crims managed to barricade Mum in her office with not so nice plans.
A few of the nice crims managed to break in and rescued mum. The not so nice crims all somehow managed to fall down a lot of stairs that evening before the riot was controlled and all ended up in the hospital with a lot of injuries. Funny that. –DorcasTheCat
They fed and cared for kitties that waltzed through facility. Kinda against rules but nobody was enforcing that one. I mean, kitties yo. –Samuel-L-Chang
They’re just like us.
I was in when Michael [Jackson] died. Never seen so many hard ass convicts bawling and hugging in my life.
The best part is they asked about the cat afterwards.
I dated a former prison guard for a while. She had a lot of good stories, not many of them particularly wholesome but a lot of them were funny.
One of the wholesome ones was a group of inmates were acting like they were hiding something in the yard. Of course, the suspicion was drugs or some other illegal activity. Turns out it was a kitten. They had found her a few days before and were taking care of her. Of course, it wasn’t allowed so they couldn’t keep her, so she decided adopted it rather than bringing her to animal control. Apparently, the inmates would ask about the cat for the rest of the time she worked there. She was a great cat, I must say. Definitely worth risking extra time for.
I would also bake brownies.
There was an incident in a Swedish prison like ten years ago where the guard forgot to lock the cells for the night.
So the prisoners got out, baked brownies, watched a film and went back into their cells to sleep for the night! –JunoPK
This is the holiday spirit.
I did a brief stint as a CO and had to work on Christmas Day. I was on the medium security unit and since I worked a jail, only had 30 guys to watch for the day. The inmate who ran the pod asked me very politely if I would give them a fresh garbage bag so they could cook stew in. I told him I would give him one, but if anyone with rank came in I was denying everything.
I give him the bag and they start cooking. About an hour later I’m doing my check and they ask if I would find some Christmas specials on the TV for them (officers keep the remote) and I do so. So here I am, in jail on Christmas watching Rudolph with some low-risk inmates. They offered me some of their food, which is a huge deal and a massive show of respect.
I did what I could to make the day suck less, and they returned the favor. Probably the most chill day ever worked in jail. –zgh5002
This is very sad.
A few years ago when my brother was in prison a few hours away, our dad passed away unexpectedly. I had to tell my brother over the phone the next time he called. He screamed. He cried. He asked questions.
Apparently, from hearing his end of the conversation, surrounding inmates were able to gather what had happened. I went to visit a few days later and he said that when he hung up the phone, a bunch of the other inmates came over and prayed over him, and just hung out with him while he grieved.
Also, my dad was the type that made friends everywhere he went, and that day I visited, one of the guards our dad had become friends with came over and cried with us. Prison didn’t seem so bad that day. –photoedits123
It must have been so exciting!
In Australia, a prison guard was a contestant on Masterchef– he even made it to the final two.
Every night all the inmates he worked with would watch him on the telly and cheer him on. – (Anonymous)
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