Someone In This Online Group Asked “People Who Have Been In Jail, What Habits Do You Still Do Today That You Learned From Being In Lockup?” And Got These 36 Answers

We often hear about criminals reoffending once they are released from prison and that makes us believe that people don’t change. But prison is an environment that definitely changes people, whether it is for better or worse.

The inmates have to follow a lot of strict rules and they have a completely different lifestyle there. They might be locked up for several years or even decades, so they must get used to it and view it as normal. It would be interesting to know which of the habits inmates acquired in jail they continued to practice, whether willingly or not.

Conveniently, Reddit user youknowyoulick asked that question and the thread received nearly 4k comments. In this list, you will find the ones that people found most intriguing or surprising.

More info: Reddit


When my dad came home from prison I remember him being very polite. He was careful not to bump anybody, and he always said excuse me if he were trying to pass somebody.

Image credits: kindalikeacoustic


My friends baby daddy was in jail, apparently learned how to give really good massages. Now owns his own massage therapy clinic and employs like 30 RMT’s

Image credits: Fluid-Imagination301


My husband still makes "jail snacks", he also turns meals into sandwiches because bread was cheap and filling. Spaghetti between bread slices is an example. If we go somewhere like a restaurant, he's extremely uncomfortable if he doesn't have his back against a wall so he can see the room and no one can be behind him. He's very quick to anger/react if he feels disrespected.

I also know people who hide items they feel are valuable. Even if they live alone, they hide "commodities" like good snacks, Crest Whitestrips, etc.

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I did 12 years in a state institution. The only really strange thing to me was answering the telephone. First off, you don't receive calls. Second, once the call connects, you can hear them say hello and then a prompt plays letting them know the call is recorded and what not before you then say hello. For about a year people would answer when I call them and I would wait for the recording to play before responding.

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There was a guy I knew in prison who converted to Islam while he was in there. He would never swear, so instead of "m**********r" he'd say "motherflower" and I still say it. It's actually been a bit of a conversation starter and I have friends who've started saying it too. That man, probably still in prison, has no idea he's a trend-setter.

Image credits: Sweet-Palpitation473


Out of juvie I had a habit of being quick to aggression....which seems like the opposite of what the goal of juvie systems should be...

Out of jail I noticed that I had a habit of waiting for some person somewhere to operate a door for me. I wasn't standing there a long time but there was a definite pause until I was like "oh it's one of them manual doors, I can do this".

Also, I'm quite good at hiding things (no, not up my a*s, you a*s fanatics). Over here trying to find my weed again.

Also, observing people, noticing what people are doing.

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In jail I learned the very useful concept of "Program."

Think of your normal life, all the things that you do in a day or week that fill up the time: hobbies, time with friends and family, the gym, cooking, shopping, a job, etc. All of these activities are what make up your life as you know it, your identity. Responsibilities and obligations are what get most people out of bed every morning. Now take all of that away. You now have tons of free time and nothing to fill it with. The human subconscious needs to be busy, its a holdover from our days as hunter-gatherers since being occupied was necessary for survival, and with absolutely nothing to do people go mad.

Program is how to fill that time in a responsible and productive way. In the simplest terms its making a schedule and sticking to it; deciding how to fill that empty day with activities that serve your goals. During my time inside I got in great shape, did a ton of reading, and learned a lot from various interesting people. When Covid Lockdowns began I wasn't worried at all because I knew how to Program.

Image credits: SirKedyn


Made a habit of addressing something that could potentially become a problem. Harshly and immediately. Currently trying to drop the harsh part.

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Former prison librarian. I learned to always look in window reflections to make sure my back was covered. I had to count inmates as they came into the library so that there weren't too many people. I can look in a room full of people and give a really accurate estimate of how many bodies are in a room because of this.

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Flushing before it hits the water on every drop to mitigate the smell everyone has to deal with. Lots of flushes. Work probably wonders what the f**k is going on in the restroom when I’m in there.

And general toilet cleanliness etiquette so it’s nice for the next person. I don’t want to clean up your nastiness, you don’t want to clean up mine. It’s a good way to get into it with someone for the dumbest reason. Just leave it nice.

Edit: There are people being downvoted below for comments about water conversation. They are not wrong, this is wasteful. To be clear, I was not advocating many flushes. I was just answering the question honestly about what stuck with me.

I do advocate the cleanliness part tho. Do that.

To avoid wasting water there are environmentally friendly before-you-go sprays that create a scented oily slick on the water’s surface that mask and trap smells beneath the surface pretty well. Then you only need minimal flushing. I’d suggest looking into that for work/office/communal restroom situations.

Problem is they don’t have that inside, and if I have to choose between flushing a few times, or trying to explain why the smell is good for everyone because I’m saving the planet and we should all be happy about that instead of pissed at me…

Could I lose the habit now? Sure.

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If i dont have dice but want dice and have toilet paper and toothpaste. You make basically a macramé paste with them and put it into a window corner, rotate it while its drying to keep it level. Boom dice.

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I slept on the floor for 10 years after getting out.

Because the first night, to punish me, guards took away my mattress. So to spite them, I slept on the floor the whole time.

It took a good job, and a nice apartment for me to finally sleep on a bed. I haven't slept on the floor in a long time.


Hypervigilant. Size up everyone everywhere I go. Especially public transport and public spaces.

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Mentally practicing music. I am a guitarist/bassist and wrote many songs without the use of a guitar.

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My boyfriend was in jail quite some time ago and still holds onto his habits. He washes his clothes in the shower or bathroom sink, he sweeps every morning, he jumps out of bed as soon as he wakes up, he lives pretty minimally, he's super fit and works out everyday, and (he didn't learn this in jail but it serves as an example of fitness and self-sufficiency) he rides his bike everywhere. I sometimes have to remind him that he can indulge in luxuries like using the washing machine or sleeping in.

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I eat with my plate tucked between my arms, huddled over it like a trough, shoveling it in as fast as possible.

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My bedroom is basically set up like my old cell.

In my bedroom I have everything at arms length.

I sit with my back to the wall when I'm out.

I still pace back and forth in small spaces.

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The dorm pod I was in had metal stairs that made loud noises when you walked down them. Almost got in a fight with 3 other people because I woke up at night and had to p**s and woke everyone up.

To this day I can't fall asleep without peeing immediately before laying down. Like, even if I went less than an hour earlier I have to stand there and focus with yogi-like intensity to squeeze a few drops out or I lay awake feeling like my bladder is full.

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Never talk to police period about anything


Being entertained doing absolutely nothing like staring at a wall I just don’t get bored anymore

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Save every extra sugar packet I come across in case I get hungry between meals

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is patience a habit?

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Friend worked in a bad prison for 10+ years.

Said he become immune to s**t talk.

Nothing, literally nothing, could p**s him off or make him emotional or unbalanced.

In regards to triggers and s**t talk, he reached nirvana

Image credits: Maleficent-Number-10


I became a stoner and developed long term problems with food. I also started compulsively buying books because when I didn’t have a book in solitary it was hard to stay sane and calm. I’m far less talkative and social than I used to be.

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Hey, it's not just people who were in jail but people who worked there too. I haven't worked in a jail in decades but I still use mirrors and reflections to look around corners everywhere.

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Never been but I saw this same Q on here and one take away I have is the shower squeegee.

After you shower you use your hands like a squeegee blade and it removes 75% of the water off you.

Now your towel isn't wet at the end, its damp

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Mind my business

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well my brother had a hard time closing the door to poop he said it felt weird to poop alone

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Not reaching over somebody's food.

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I can play Spades a bit better now

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3 Michelin Star Ramen Meals

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Ice cubes. Spoon. Soup. Eat it as fast as possible this way. Don't let someone have the chance to take your soup

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Stand up for myself, even if the other guy is bigger and stronger. Once you show you're a b***h once, you're always going to be a b***h to everyone. Better to get punched in the face and take it like a man, even if you ultimately lose the fight. This may not work for everyone though. They say I've got good chin.


Cheapest, best way for a single guy to eat, and all the stuff you need is so much cheaper on the outs, compared to buying it on commissary!!

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Wipe the toilet with toilet paper after I pee (even with the seat up). For years I used to wipe the sink with toilet paper every time I used it.

Image credits: --malcolm