If pop culture is teaching us anything these days, it’s that people are obsessed with anything having to do with prisons and true crime. So we should all love the juicy details from these 13+ corrections officers who struggled with the fact that some of the inmates they interacted with on a daily basis turned out to have committed truly heinous crimes.
#15. Absolutely no remorse
“I tutored in juvie. One of the boys had murdered 3 people for a gang initiation and when asked, had absolutely no remorse for it. He was a very nice, polite, and intelligent kid though who would draw me little pictures and always tried extra hard on his creative writing assignments. Had a very good sense of humor too and often made everyone in the room laugh and smile. I honestly had trouble reminding myself that he was a cold blooded murderer.”
#14. What they did
“My husband is a CO…the guys he talks about actually sound like good people. Then I ask what they did and it will always been a murderer or guy who spent years raping his own kids.”
#13. Only met one or two
“Former CO, current Probation/Parole Officer who still works overtime as a CO. At the end of the day, all the inmates and offenders I’ve dealt with are still people. I’ve seen a group of hardcore gangbangers crack up laughing at another guy farting. I’ve listened to a convicted murderer have very passionate opinions about television and George R.R. Martin books. I’ve only met one or two inmates who were the kind of shark-eyed sociopath that movies make it seem like prisons are full of. Inmates are tough and ruthless, but an overwhelming majority just want to do their time.”
#12. A completely normal guy
“I’m a Senior Officer with my department, and I can say from my perspective that this happens quite a lot. When I was a rookie I worked with an inmate who was serving life with parole for multiple sexual assault charges and escape (from county jail), but I remember always thinking to myself that he seemed like a completely normal guy who hadn’t let the prison politics get to him at all. He was one of my culinary workers and he would always do any job I asked of him without question or attitude. And to top it all off he was a military veteran who would even reminisce with our sergeant, who was also a veteran, about their past deployments. It was so bizarre to see someone who could have very well been my neighbor serving such a lengthy sentence for such an awful crime.”
#11. The day he refused his meds
“I was a federal parolee counselor working in a halfway house / re-acclimation program. Most of my clients were capital offenders coming out of 20+ prison stints. Most of the clients were actually great people at face value. Outside of drug distribution (which most of my clients were in prison for) I had Murderers, rapists, major assault and child molesters as well as some pretty notorious biker gang guys (who all have committed some heinous crimes but usually get busted for a slough of less violent things). Indiana biker gangs for example were big on “rolling casinos” and auto theft. So that’s what they’d get slammed for. I gotta say that I don’t remember having a single client who wasn’t a nice person. It’s easy to read their files and go “holy shit this guy is demented as fuck” but you learn to desensitize to that and do your job at re-acclimating them back into society. I did have one guy who was caught moderating a child porn ring and served 18 years of his 25 year sentence. He was on lithium, chlorpromazine & benztropine. Very strange guy, feeble , soft spoken, very small frame, probably around 65~ years old and genuinely kind… that is until one day when he refused his meds for some goddamn reason. He walked right into my office on a scheduled education verification check and went berserk. Flipped my desk, stabbed him self in the neck with a pencil, threatened to sodomize my whole family and ended up laying on the ground trying to chew the wood leg of my desk. This all happened in about 20~ seconds before we could restrain him and call the police. I’d never seen such a blatant portrayal of a mental health issue in my life. Still fucks me up to this day. I have a lot of random stories about my clients but most are positive and most of those guys were easy to get a long with and great people if you didn’t know their history.”
#10. Never ends well
“From my personal experience the nicest inmates are usually the ones who have committed the worst crimes murder,ect. The ones that always give you problems are the guys that get arrested for minor shit like petit theft, cannabis,loitering,ect they always come in with major attitudes that never ends well.”
#9. Never judge a book by its cover
“My dad worked as a doctor in a prison for a short time, came back with lots of stories of the inmates. He said he talked to one guy who was always friendly and chill, found out the guy had a life sentence and asked the guy why he was in prison. The guy said he had a bad lawyer. My dad looked up his information later on and it turned out he had murdered his own daughter. So yea, never judge a book by its cover.”
#8. Super friendly guy, though
“Not a CO. RN here, I’ve taken care of a fair amount of detained prisoners that have been admitted to the hospital. I usually ask them what got em locked up cause I’m nosy.
I had one super pleasant middle aged guy tell me his story. Apparently he and his wife were going through or had gone through an ugly split. They were already separated when someone broke into his house with a weapon intending to hurt him. He wound up killing the guy in self defense (I assume he had a gun or something), but not before he found out his wife had arranged it…. she hired a hit man to come kill him. But, instead of going to the police after, he went to his wife’s place and killed her outright.
Super friendly guy though. No idea how much of that was true but that’s definitely the craziest story I’ve heard from an inmate.”
#7. For a few hours I forgot
“I got to play softball against the inmates at the Fed-Med here in town. The first time in was pretty scary, but it ended up being the best couple hours of softball I’ve ever played. Everyone was real nice, just joking around the whole time…just like playing with the guys. It was pretty hard to believe that they were hardened criminals when we were all out there enjoying a game together. They had guys with a PA system calling the game while we played, ribbing everyone that got within 10′ of them, inmates would come up to our dugout telling us they had bets on our team so we better win, or hit it to that guy…he sucks. I do remember when I was at bat, the catcher told me to hit to the center fielder who was a Pedophile. He used the prison slang for it (I can’t remember), and I had no idea what he meant.
In the end Everyone was super nice and fun…again for those few hours I forgot I was in a Federal Prison playing against people who did some horrible things.
Edit: The guys calling the game noticed my bright red cleats and called me Dorthy for the rest of the game…so that was nice.”
#6. And that’s what comes to mind
“Corrections nurse here. Never interacted with this inmate, I just see him out on the yard as I come in to work. He collects bread crusts and I always see him feeding the birds, and the birds trust him and fly straight to his hand to eat. He looks like a nice enough guy from a distance, and birds only land on the hands of Disney princesses, right? Well one day I caught him in a moment: A particularly fat pigeon landed on his hand and bent down to eat. He closed his fist on the pigeon’s head and flicked his wrist to snap its neck. Its body was still flailing as he calmly put it into his pocket and then put out his hand again to feed more birds. I was told he was going to cook and eat it, which made me feel a little better, but still.
And that’s what comes to my mind every time an inmate is nice to me.”
#5. They were doing a lot of time
“Former CO here. I had two guys in my unit that strangled their newborns when they wouldn’t stop crying. One of them was drinking and trying to watch a hockey game. His daughter wouldn’t stop crying, he got annoyed, walked over and just choked her until she stopped. The other guy’s story was somewhat similar, but I cant remember the details. They were both porters in that housing unit.
They were doing a lot of time, can’t remember exactly how much they were given. One guy was already at year 16. Probably two of the nicest guys I met while on the job. They didnt come off as crazy degenerates and seemed like genuinely nice guys. I used to stand in the day room and have some interesting convos with them and their little crew they called the “trailer trash circle” or something to that effect.”
#4. He was a delight
“Not a CO but worked in a psych ward, in this case the guy went to prison and was eventually stepped down to our psych ward. He had stabbed his dad multiple times and killed him. He was with us for around a year so I saw him 5-6 times a week, anywhere from 8-14 hours each shift. He was so kind and polite. You would never think he had done anything remotely shocking. When his relationship with his dad would come up he would talk so calmly and normally, no real hatred or anger.. yet he murdered him. If there were ever fights on the ward he would look out for staff and other patients. I won’t lie, he was a delight.
TLDR: worked with a murderer, he was one of my nicest patients.”
#3. Needless to say
“Two stories in one, I worked as a CO for a private prison in TN before I moved with my fiancé to VA, one of our units had a guy who was always generally nice and respectful, he was the stand up comic of the group in that unit. He would speak with any new young guys that came in, led the prayer group for guys on sundays in the dayroom etc etc. My last day in the state before I moved, his name was on the news, turns out he was in jail for vehicular manslaugter while driving under the influence of meth, needless to say I was quite shocked by the crime because he didn’t seem to be that guy. The other story comes from when I was a student in community college, I got the chance to do interviews on death row in TN, most death row inmates were the most respectful and honest men I’ve ever met. We wouldn’t speak about their cases due to legal reasons that could cause problems with their appeals but we would ask a questions about their lives and families. One of the guys was a phenomenal artist, you could give him a picture of something and he would draw it out with pencils, it would look exactly like the picture you had given him. People still look at me in shock when I tell them that death row was the most calm and chilled time I’ve ever spent in a corrections environment, I even felt the safest working with these gentlemen in their unit because they policed their own behavior.”
#2. He nearly got away with it
“Ex CO here. Had a man who shot and killed one state trooper and shot another in the groin. He sat as a sniper in the woods and shot the troopers through the windows of the barracks. It was premeditated and he nearly got away with it. He was on FBI most wanted list for a good 2 months. The Marshall’s caught him as he was getting ready to take off on a hangglider. Anyway, he was the most mild mannered inmate I had met. Always reading, never turned down his hour for REC, always finished his plate, etc. Anyway I was doing an escort with another officer to take him to visitation. He was to wear double locked shackles and cuffs when not in his cell, even in the showers. I was holding his arm and assisting him so he wouldnt trip and I felt his bicep flex and he just stopped walking and looked at me. I realized at that moment that he could overpower me without much effort, shackles or not. Turns out he just had to sneeze… My point is that whether someone is mild mannered or more primitive has no effect on human capabilities. Cold blooded killer. For a more accurate picture I am a 5’8 125 pound female.
Edited to add a closing sentence. Edited again to add that I’m a female.”
#1. Pretty brutal
“Not a CO, but I did work in a prison. Lots of inmates were seemingly decent people. One guy in particular was a hitman. He and his story were well-known at the time. When I met him, I had no idea who he was and wondered what he could have done to land in prison. When I found out who he was, I read one of the books about him. That guy was pretty brutal.”