23 Shocking Facts About Prisons That’ll Surprise You

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The Larch Corrections Center in Washington pairs up “death row” shelter cats with select inmates as part of a rehabilitation program.

2. The Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Mississippi hasn't held any Mississippi prisoners since 2013 but does hold about 1000 prisoners from California and more from other states, too.

3. The Los Angeles County Sheriff Men's Central Jail has a gay wing. Because many straight men want to live in the wing due to how safe it is, officers screen inmates by testing their knowledge on gay bars and their cover charges.

4. During the 1930 Ohio Penitentiary fire, 322 inmates were killed and 150 inmates were injured. Some guards refused to unlock cells, so inmates overpowered guards and took their keys to rescue other prisoners.

5. The Decatur Correctional Center in Decatur, Illinois, allows incarcerated women to keep their babies with them in prison for up to 2 years. The mothers have a 0% recidivism rate compared to the statewide average of 51.3%.

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6California private vegan prison

California private vegan prison

There was a private prison in California that fed vegan meals, gave Bible studies, offered job training, anger management, etc. where violence dramatically decreased and inmates of all races associated with each other, where only 2% were rearrested when the state of California had a rearrest rate of 95%.

7. At the Suomenlinna Prison in Finland, the only thing keeping the inmates in is a yellow picket fence.

8. The Mississippi State Penitentiary issued firearms to trusted inmates to guard other prisoners at night until 1972.

9. In 1828, Eastern State Penitentiary opened with a groundbreaking agenda to rehabilitate prisoners. Prisoners had a cell each, and were comforted with central heating and flush toilets, something which even the White House didn't have at that time.

10. There is a prison for polar bears in Canada. Apparently, they get chucked into jail for roaming around town.

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11Tent City

Tent City

'Tent City' was an Arizona jail built out of old military tents, operational since 1993 and was shut down in 2017.

12. Inmates at the 300-year-old Russian prison called Black Dolphin are not allowed to sit down in their cells for the whole day and are blindfolded when transported. It only houses criminals serving life sentences.

13. In the Louisiana State Penitentiary, conditions got so bad in the 1950s that 31 inmates sliced their Achilles tendons to bring attention to their poor treatment but nothing was done about it.

14. Auburn Correctional Facility in Upstate New York has the statue of a soldier Copper John placed on top of the prison. In 2004, the state learned that the statue was “anatomically correct” and ordered the statue be “incorrected”. Some workers made T-shirts reading “Save Copper John’s Johnson” after the statue’s nickname.

15. At a prison facility in Nuuk, Greenland some inmates reportedly hold the keys to their own cells (to afford them privacy), and others may leave the premises during the day to go to work or school. Perhaps surprisingly, inmates are even allowed to go hunting with rifles to shoot birds and seals.

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16CPDRC dancers

CPDRC dancers

At Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), a maximum security prison in the Philippines, inmates perform dance routines and some have even become online celebrities known as the CPDRC dancers.

17. At the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, a brand of jeans named “Prison Blues” is produced by inmates. This prison jean manufacturing operation is one of the largest prison operations of the state.

18. The colloquial "The Clink" originates from a real prison, of the namesake, located in London, England that operated from the 12th century to 1780.

19. Prisons in the Netherlands are testing an own-cell-key policy. Prisoners are given the key to their cell allowing them to lock and unlock their cell door during the day.

20. The Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York allows pregnant inmates to keep their child with them for up to a year after giving birth.

21Quezon City Jail

Quezon City Jail

Quezon City Jail in the Philippines was originally designed to hold 800 inmates and now holds more than 4000 inmates causing severe overcrowding and unhygienic conditions. A slow court system and a crackdown on drug-related crime since 2016 have resulted in a drastic rise in the jail's population.

22. Bastøy Prison is located on the Bastøy Island in Norway. The island’s only residents are severe criminals (murderers, child molesters, etc). The island is a popular weekend destination for families. The criminal community maintains lovely farms and ecology on the island.

23. In 1931, Sing Sing Correctional Facility established an intramural football team comprised of inmates. The program lasted roughly 4 years, created 2 NFL alumni, and revenue from ticket sales helped support prisoners' families.

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