A prison is like a little city. It has a library, a beauty shop (which is just a fancy name for a hair cutting room), a medical wing, a rec yard... Of course, facilities vary from institution to institution, but if we exclude countries that have a different philosophy on incarceration altogether, most places are pretty similar.

So we're told. For the average person, life behind bars remains a mystery. And quite an intriguing one. How do people organize themselves under such extreme circumstances? What do they miss? How do they spend their days? A TV show, for example, might give us an idea but if we constructed our worldview based on what we saw on the screen, we'd end up like Truman Burbank. In an illusion.

Instead, let's take a realistic look at how inmates get by — the subreddit r/PrisonWallet is perfect for this job.

#1

Prisoners From Indiana Were Given Cats To Look After As Part Of A Rehabilitation Scheme. Here Is One Prisoner With A Hat He Knitted For His Cat!

Prisoners From Indiana Were Given Cats To Look After As Part Of A Rehabilitation Scheme. Here Is One Prisoner With A Hat He Knitted For His Cat!

log00 Report

karla Meixnerová
Community Member
2 months ago

I read somewhere abou similar project (possibly this one), that it significantly reduced prisoner recidivism.

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#2

“Lady”, An Electric Guitar Built Illegally By An Inmate In A Pennsylvania State Prison

“Lady”, An Electric Guitar Built Illegally By An Inmate In A Pennsylvania State Prison

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Clandestine
Community Member
2 months ago

that is really impressive

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Naturally, not everything that gets made in a cell is as innocent as you see in these pictures. "I'd, unfortunately, say one of the most common items to craft in a prison is a shank, [probably] due to how easy it is and the inadequate system of rehabilitating prisoners," a representative of this subreddit's moderator team told Bored Panda. "Many of them stick to crime or violence while inside of prison."

"Zip guns utilizing .22 ammunition are also popular because [the rounds] are easy to sneak in. Not to mention the fact that when you break down a gun to its bare bones, it's a simple machine that's quite easy to replicate."

However, we decided to leave guns out of the equation. We already know about them, plus there's so much more! "I [also] see a lot are tiny figures or artworks made of what is practically trash," the person running the subreddit added. "It allows prisoners to express their creative intentions while locked up."

#3

These Are The Best Chess Figures I Have Ever Seen And These Were Made In Prison

These Are The Best Chess Figures I Have Ever Seen And These Were Made In Prison

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John Brant
Community Member
2 months ago

Andy Dufrense finally finished his chess pieces before he decided to leave...

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#4

Prison Issued Bleach Soap Carved With A Plastic Spoon And Empty Bic Pen

Prison Issued Bleach Soap Carved With A Plastic Spoon And Empty Bic Pen

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Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

If this is the sort of things that inmates are crafting, I say let them keep them.

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#5

Asked An Inmate To Draw His Interpretation Of The Prison System. They Are Only Allowed A Blue Pen. Color Was Done By Melting Skittles And M&ms

Asked An Inmate To Draw His Interpretation Of The Prison System. They Are Only Allowed A Blue Pen. Color Was Done By Melting Skittles And M&ms

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Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

This displays a great deal of talent and meaning. I hope this is on display somewhere.

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Interestingly, in 2019, the U.S. incarceration rate fell to its lowest level since 1995, according to recently published data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the statistical arm of the Department of Justice. (It is not yet clear how the coronavirus pandemic may have affected these numbers as statistics for 2020 are not expected to be released until later this year.) But despite this downward trend, the United States still puts more people behind bars than any other country for which such data is available. 

The American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,833 state prisons, 110 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,134 local jails, 218 immigration detention facilities, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in U.S. territories.

#6

Made Out Of Rolled Paper, Cardboard, Craft Paint, Bed Sheets, And Floor Wax (Clear Coat)

Made Out Of Rolled Paper, Cardboard, Craft Paint, Bed Sheets, And Floor Wax (Clear Coat)

nesheelahs Report

Clandestine
Community Member
2 months ago

This is one of my favorites, I think. It looks SO GOOD!

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#7

Model Of Hms St George Made By Pows Of The Seven Years War

Model Of Hms St George Made By Pows Of The Seven Years War

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Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

That is amazing.

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#8

The Face Of A Guard Made With Soap By A Prisioner In Brazil. All Made With Soap Even The Eyes

The Face Of A Guard Made With Soap By A Prisioner In Brazil. All Made With Soap Even The Eyes

NarcosdaMouraria Report

Samantha Lomb
Community Member
2 months ago

talented

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#9

Anytime You Feel Life Isn’t Nice, Remember This Brazilian Prisoner Who Dug An Escape Tunnel For 5 Years To Burst Out In A Guard Room...

Anytime You Feel Life Isn’t Nice, Remember This Brazilian Prisoner Who Dug An Escape Tunnel For 5 Years To Burst Out In A Guard Room...

NarcosdaMouraria Report

third molar
Community Member
2 months ago

Shawshank Damnation

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The moderator of r/PrisonWallet who took their time to reply to us considers the subreddit's community pretty diverse in their background and intention of joining. "I've talked to members who are former police officers, former prisoners, some interested in the craftsmanship of the people stripped of their freedom, some similar to me in the way I greatly care about prison system reform."

If you took a look at the subreddit's newest posts, you wouldn't see many. The latest one goes back 21 days. However, members are still engaging with them. "The community is somewhat active but ... and you can even notice older posts getting comments, showing new members are fairly common as well!" Maybe you want to be one of them?

#10

The Paper Mache Heads Made By Frank Morris, John Anglin And Clarence Anglin When They Escaped Alcatraz Prison

The Paper Mache Heads Made By Frank Morris, John Anglin And Clarence Anglin When They Escaped Alcatraz Prison

flysoup84 , whataTyphoon Report

beastmachine.
Community Member
2 months ago

That's one skilled person

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#11

Found This In A Small Town Museum Today. Made By A Prisoner In Angola Prison Out Of Match Sticks And Pebbles From Prison Grounds

Found This In A Small Town Museum Today. Made By A Prisoner In Angola Prison Out Of Match Sticks And Pebbles From Prison Grounds

Itsme_dandelion Report

Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

That is very impressive

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#12

A Way Prisoners Make Rose's For Their Loved Ones Made Of Jolly Ranchers

A Way Prisoners Make Rose's For Their Loved Ones Made Of Jolly Ranchers

VlClOUSLY Report

Bobert Robertson
Community Member
2 months ago

Never bite down on a jolly rancher. They're so sticky.... I had a crown and I was kinda biting one and it stuck to my crown and pulled it right off.

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#13

Asian Prison Art Made By Liv Bao Jin, A Chinese Refugee, Made And Sold To Pay Legal Bills, 1993

Asian Prison Art Made By Liv Bao Jin, A Chinese Refugee, Made And Sold To Pay Legal Bills, 1993

reddit.com Report

Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

Absolutely amazing

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#14

Two Picture Frames Made Out Of Chip Bags An Inmate Had Given My Mom Whilst Working The Jail As A Nurse

Two Picture Frames Made Out Of Chip Bags An Inmate Had Given My Mom Whilst Working The Jail As A Nurse

dickdownchickens Report

Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

that is a beautiful story

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#15

Trained Cockroach Smuggles Cigarette Into Prison Cells, June 1938

Trained Cockroach Smuggles Cigarette Into Prison Cells, June 1938

Gvazeky Report

Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

This is the basis of some CIA projects. Insane!

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#16

Carved By A Death Row Inmate Using Only A Spoon

Carved By A Death Row Inmate Using Only A Spoon

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Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

This is dark and adorable.

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#17

Flashlight Made By Prisoner

Flashlight Made By Prisoner

Gvazeky Report

Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

There is great ingenuity in prison, too bad that took prison to discover it.

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#18

DIY Dumbbell Made Of Old Battery’s Crafted In Jail

DIY Dumbbell Made Of Old Battery’s Crafted In Jail

Gvazeky Report

Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

This is genius

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#19

Hand Crafted Mah-Jong Set By A Japanese Prisoner Of War, Ww2

Hand Crafted Mah-Jong Set By A Japanese Prisoner Of War, Ww2

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Layla Corman
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

I LOVE this game! Beautiful set! *Made the year my dad was born too!

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#20

Toilet Paper Dice

Toilet Paper Dice

definetlynotfbi Report

Katie Lutesinger
Community Member
2 months ago

What - no gambling in prison?

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#21

Pen Art On Prison Linen

Pen Art On Prison Linen

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Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

Such talent. At some point, this person made a very wrong turn...

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#22

Prison Lamp Made From Popsicle Sticks

Prison Lamp Made From Popsicle Sticks

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Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

If this was made by one person eating ice cream, I think he has been locked up for some time now.

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#23

Pokemon Cards Made While In Prison

Pokemon Cards Made While In Prison

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Sheila Stamey
Community Member
2 months ago

This makes me feel so sad....

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#24

Hand Painted Playing Cards Made By French War Prisoners, Hampshire 1796

Hand Painted Playing Cards Made By French War Prisoners, Hampshire 1796

reddit.com Report

Layla Corman
Community Member
2 months ago

Beautiful color and detail!

#25

Prison Chess Set Made In The 1950s - Made Out Of Toilet Paper, Dried Bread & Shoe Paste

Prison Chess Set Made In The 1950s - Made Out Of Toilet Paper, Dried Bread & Shoe Paste

topher181 Report

Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

A travel set, now this is cool.

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#26

Toy Dachshund Made By A Prisoner Of War In Bristol, Gifted To A Family Near The Prison, Ww2

Toy Dachshund Made By A Prisoner Of War In Bristol, Gifted To A Family Near The Prison, Ww2

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Lilou S. Pumpkins
Community Member
2 months ago

This makes me so sad and beyond the obvious, I don't quite know why.

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#27

The Convict Cookbook, Made By Convicts At Washington State Penitentiary For Charity

The Convict Cookbook, Made By Convicts At Washington State Penitentiary For Charity

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SomeCrazyDogLover
Community Member
2 months ago

That is amazing art. They should become a cartoonist

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#28

Prison Made Harley Motorcycle Sculpture

Prison Made Harley Motorcycle Sculpture

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Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

That is cool!

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#29

"The Last Supper" As Carved By An Inmate On A Jailhouse Door

"The Last Supper" As Carved By An Inmate On A Jailhouse Door

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Lilou S. Pumpkins
Community Member
2 months ago

Beautiful.

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#30

Flip Flops

Flip Flops

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Unwelcomed Guest
Community Member
2 months ago

Maxwell Smart’s beech shoe

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#31

Table Made From Ramen Noodles And Masking Tape

Table Made From Ramen Noodles And Masking Tape

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Clandestine
Community Member
2 months ago

was not expecting those two things to make a table...

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#32

Prison Made Celluloid Bakelite Ring, Gifted To A Prison Guard, 1930s Ww2

Prison Made Celluloid Bakelite Ring, Gifted To A Prison Guard, 1930s Ww2

reddit.com Report

Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

This is badass!

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#33

Inmates Bug The Guards’ Rooms With “Bugs” To Listen For Cell Shakedowns

Inmates Bug The Guards’ Rooms With “Bugs” To Listen For Cell Shakedowns

KarmaPharmacy Report

Brian Brown
Community Member
2 months ago

just wow

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#34

This Prison Tattoo Gun

This Prison Tattoo Gun

Gvazeky Report

Oliver
Community Member
2 months ago

And that is an infection waiting to happen

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#35

This Tin Can Grill

This Tin Can Grill

Gvazeky Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
2 months ago

I thought it's this thing for the mosquitos

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Note: this post originally had 74 images. It’s been shortened to the top 35 images based on user votes.

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