Former inmates reveal everything cinema get wrong about being imprisoned

Former inmates have revealed what movies get wrong about prison.
Former inmates have revealed what movies get wrong about prison. Photo credit: Getty Images

A viral Reddit thread has revealed everything Hollywood misses the mark on when it comes to actually being in prison. 

Former inmates answered a question posed by user u/Warlock1509 on the subreddit r/AskReddit, which asked: "People who have been to jails, what's something movies get wrong about them?" 

The question has garnered over 500 eye-opening 500 responses. 

One particular annoying activity listed by a large number of former inmates was whistling. 

"You will get yelled at by other people, sh** travels through pipes and sounds awful," said a former inmate. 

"A dude in my friend's jail could whistle without making a face. No one could tell who was doing it - pissed the guards off," said another. 

A common theme was the "sheer boredom" many inmates experienced. 

"Everyone there was actually pretty nice, but damn it was boring as hell," a former inmate shared. 

"People start fights over nothing because of boredom," another former inmate said. 

Fighting because of boredom was also a regular topic, with one inmate revealing how a guard allowed organised fights. 

"A guard in my jail actually let inmates into the back storage room - with no cameras - to fight," they said. 

A similar incident occurred at Mount Eden Prison in Auckland in 2015, when videos were leaked to Youtube and appeared to show organised fights between prisoners.  

One thing movies definitely could not replicate was "the smell inside the jail". 

"It is a smell that can't be described… The stench is something between bad body odour and garbage along with not sufficient ventilation and something else. It is truly disgusting," a former inmate remembered.  

Many former inmates agreed another "terrible inaccuracy" is the prison food shown in movies. 

"It usually looks like some Marriott continental breakfast crap in the movies, but in prison, it's so much worse," a former inmate said.

"The food looks practically like pastel doh and mash. It's no wonder sometimes even McDonalds is too rich for inmates to eat when they get out after being in for an extended stay."  

The thread did not disclose where in the world the former inmates were imprisoned, which can mean some inmates may have completely different experiences. 

"Prisons across the world can be very different… prison in certain places like Brazil is a slaughterhouse," said a user who disclosed they had worked with a "lot of inmates from different parts of the world". 

And finally, a trope that seems to have appeared in every prison movie ever made was debunked: "Dropping the soap will not get you rampantly taken from behind."