This Online Group Shares Wholesome, Creative, And Illegal Things Made By Prisoners Behind Bars (35 Pics)

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!

Image credits: log00

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

Image credits: chicametipo

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

Image credits: shyter351

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

Image credits: tacollama82

#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

Image credits: gendarme_

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)

Image credits: nesheelahs

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

Image credits: NarcosdaMouraria

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

Image credits: flysoup84

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

Image credits: Tzuvembi

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 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…

Image credits: NarcosdaMouraria

#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

Image credits: Itsme_dandelion

#12 A Way Prisoners Make Rose’s For Their Loved Ones Made Of Jolly Ranchers

Image credits: VlClOUSLY

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

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#14 DIY Dumbbell Made Of Old Battery’s Crafted In Jail

Image credits: Gvazeky

#15 Trained Cockroach Smuggles Cigarette Into Prison Cells, June 1938

Image credits: Gvazeky

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

Image credits: dickdownchickens

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

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#18 Carved By A Death Row Inmate Using Only A Spoon

Image credits: gbrook00

#19 Flashlight Made By Prisoner

Image credits: Gvazeky

#20 Pen Art On Prison Linen

Image credits: brownberet45

#21 Toilet Paper Dice

Image credits: definetlynotfbi

#22 Prison Lamp Made From Popsicle Sticks

Image credits: widdidam

#23 Pokemon Cards Made While In Prison

Image credits: mysticwelsh

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

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

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

Image credits: topher181

#27 Prison Made Harley Motorcycle Sculpture

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

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#29 “The Last Supper” As Carved By An Inmate On A Jailhouse Door

Image credits: Glittering_Concern

#30 Table Made From Ramen Noodles And Masking Tape

Image credits: Jamesvaughan711

#31 Flip Flops

Image credits: KarmaPharmacy

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

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

Image credits: KarmaPharmacy

#34 This Prison Tattoo Gun

Image credits: Gvazeky

#35 This Tin Can Grill

Image credits: Gvazeky

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