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  • Prison.

  • The final frontier for some, a place where they end their days.

  • Others will get to leave, but wish they'd never step foot inside.

  • Here's 50 things nobody tells you about prison.

  • 50.

  • We'll start with the USA, the country that can claim to lock more of its citizens up

  • than any other, and by a long way, too.

  • According to 2020 data, there were 2.3 million US citizens behind bars, but when we say bars,

  • that included federal and state prisons, jails, juvenile correctional facilities, and immigration

  • detention facilities.

  • Just so you know, these numbers are not exactly stable, but close.

  • People enter and leave facilities all the time.

  • 49.

  • It works out at around 639 people behind bars for every 100,000 people.

  • The US is still number one in per capita terms.

  • Here are the countries that follow in the top ten.

  • The number is per 100,000: El Salvador, 562.

  • Turkmenistan, 552.

  • Palau, 552.

  • Rwanda, 511.

  • Cuba, 510.

  • Maldives, 449.

  • Virgin Islands (UK), 447.

  • Thailand, 443.

  • The Bahamas, 442.

  • Let's stick with numbers for now.

  • We'll get around to the messed-up stories soon, we promise.

  • 48.

  • According to the Prison Policy Initiative, in the US, 600,000 people enter prison each

  • year.

  • But that's nothing compared to jail.

  • Around 10.6 million Americans enter jail every year.

  • If you're wondering why that number is so high, it's because many people get out of

  • jail very quickly, once they've got bail.

  • Some of them have already been convicted for small crimes, so stay there for a while.

  • They number about 160,000 people a year.

  • One-quarter of people who go to jail will be there again after release within a year.

  • Another reason for staying in jail is the simple fact that many poor people can't

  • afford to make bail.

  • In 2019, the Chicago Tribune wrote that of the 5,736 inmates in Cook County Jail, 5,390

  • were waiting for a trial.

  • Half of them couldn't afford to pay bail, or they didn't have a place to stay where

  • they could be electronically monitored.

  • That begs the question, how many are innocent?

  • 47.

  • It's hard to say, because statistics tell us that a person is nine times more likely

  • to say they are guilty of a misdemeanor crime if they can't make bail.

  • They just want to move things on, even if they are innocent.

  • In fact, 95 percent of cases never go to trial.

  • People take plea bargains, sometimes if they're innocent.

  • That doesn't mean prisons are teeming with innocent people, but quite a few people have

  • been wrongly convicted of a crime.

  • The Innocence Project says it's between 2.3 percent and 5 percent of prisoners in

  • the US.

  • Other sources put it as high as 10 percent.

  • But why?

  • 46.

  • The answer is for many reasons.

  • Some innocent people take a plea, especially if they think they have a less-than-great

  • lawyer and they've been convinced that if the case goes to trial, they are looking at

  • a hefty prison sentence.

  • In court, an innocent person could lose because of prosecutorial misconduct, or because a

  • witness lied, or even a cop lied.

  • Maybe during the interrogation, the police were somewhat heavy-handed, and the victim

  • was overwhelmed.

  • Let's now look at an extreme case when this happened.

  • 45.

  • We've picked on the US enough, so now we'll sail across the pond to the UK.

  • In 1974, a 17-year old council worker named Stephen Downing confessed to murdering a 32-year-old

  • woman named Wendy Sewell.

  • The case would become known as the greatest miscarriage of justice the UK had ever seen,

  • although that's questionable given witches were burned there.

  • Anyway, this young lad first told cops he'd found the woman at the cemetery where he was

  • working as a groundskeeper.

  • He said he moved her body, and that's why he got blood on him.

  • He was interrogated for nine long hours.

  • He also had learning difficulties, and there wasn't any lawyer with him during the questioning.

  • Guess what?

  • At the end of the grueling interrogation, he said he'd done it.

  • He was given a long sentence, with the condition that he could meet with a parole board after

  • ten years.

  • Inmates believed this guy had hurt a woman, so he was beaten badly and had to change prisons

  • eight times.

  • Later he was caught in something called theInnocent prisoner's dilemma”.

  • He couldn't be paroled because he refused to say he'd committed the crime.

  • Talk about a Catch-22.

  • It's actually not that uncommon.

  • We won't get too much into it, but the whole case was a shambles.

  • He should never have been sent to prison.

  • The cops knew this.

  • One journalist that tried to help Downing told the BBC that police harassed him.

  • He said, “They made my life absolute hell for five or six years.

  • I was pulled up for speeding, stopped and searched, victimized…I was very worried

  • for my family.”

  • Downing got out after 27 years, and subsequent investigations found that the police in the

  • past had done some very sketchy work indeed.

  • On release, he received around $1 million in compensation and became a chef.

  • He told the press, “I never allowed myself to feel angry or bitter.

  • Who could I have taken it out on anyway?

  • I still refuse to.”

  • 44.

  • The vast majority of prisoners in the US are not in for violent offenses.

  • We looked at the latest 2021 data from the US Bureau of Prisons and saw that 46.2 percent

  • of prisoners were in for drug offenses.

  • No other crime came close, although offenses relating to Weapons, Explosives, and Arson

  • accounted for 20.2 percent of prisoners.

  • Every 25 seconds, someone is arrested for drug possession in the US, although they don't

  • all end up in prison, of course.

  • 43.

  • We looked into drug possession offenses, and it is a very, very contentious issue.

  • One reason is that drugs are widely available in prisons.

  • In fact, there are reports stating that people have gone in for possessing soft drugs and

  • got addicted to hard drugs inside to deal with the mental issues they faced.

  • The vast majority of prisoners in for drugs are not trafficking drug kingpins, they are

  • merely addicts.

  • Research shows that importers or high-level suppliers only amount to 11 percent of drug

  • offenders doing hard time.

  • On top of that, there is ample data to suggest that more poor people get stopped by cops,

  • and more of them go to prison for drug offenses than the middle class or wealthy people.

  • As the Marshall Project said, “Rich drug abusers go to treatment, not prison.”

  • The UK Guardian echoed that, saying, “The wealthy 'make mistakes', the poor go to jail.”

  • The story said you're much more likely to have a drug problem if you have suffered trauma

  • growing up or grown up poor.

  • Prison is like a double-whammy.

  • Pew Research said this, “More Imprisonment Does Not Reduce State Drug Problems.”

  • Pew discovered that the deterrent of prison hasn't and doesn't stop people from taking

  • drugs.

  • This is why this is one very big hot potato of a subject.

  • Ok, enough of that.

  • Who's served the most time ever?

  • 42.

  • We found a few names.

  • Paul Geidel served 68 years in the US after being convicted of second-degree murder in

  • 1911.

  • The weird thing is, it was looking like a parole board might have released him in 1926

  • because of his good behavior, but then he was found to be legally insane.

  • He could have gotten out after 63 years, but by then he was so institutionalized he chose

  • to stay in another for five years.

  • He died a free man in 1987, aged 93.

  • 41.

  • Francis Clifford Smith served over 71 years in prison for the murder of a nightwatchman

  • in 1950 in Connecticut.

  • In 2020, he was moved to a nursing home.

  • Now you'll see how innocent men can spend many years behind bars.

  • 40.

  • In 1972, aged 26, Richard Phillips went to prison as an innocent man.

  • He was released 46 years later.

  • He wrote this poem a few years into his incarceration: “Ain't it a crime.

  • When you don't have a dime.

  • To buy back the freedom you've lost?

  • Ain't it odd.

  • That when you pray to God.

  • Your prayers don't seem to be heard?

  • Ain't it sad.

  • When you've never had.

  • The freedom of a soaring bird?”

  • He was finally exonerated in 2018, and later told he'd receive $1.5 million in compensation.

  • He told the media, “I just want to keep a low profile, travel, and enjoy life.

  • That's what I wanted to do in the first place.”

  • 39.

  • In a paper titled, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” it was said that four

  • percent of people in the US on death row are probably innocent in the past and right now.

  • 38.

  • Eighteen people in the US have gotten off death row after DNA testing proved that they

  • were innocent.

  • They had collectively served 229 years.

  • Sometimes innocent people get executed, too, as you'll now see.

  • 37.

  • US man Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 and later his innocence was proved

  • after the case was said to have been heavily flawed.

  • His last words were, “The only statement I want to make is that I am an innocent man

  • - convicted of a crime I did not commit.”

  • This is what an investigator later said, “The whole case was based on the purest form of

  • junk science.”

  • Johnny Garrett was executed in the US in 1992, and later DNA evidence proved he was innocent.

  • It's said he didn't want to share any last words, although some sources say he said,

  • “I'd like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me.

  • The rest of the world can kiss my…”

  • We omitted one word.

  • When innocent Florida man Jesse Tafero was executed in 1990, “Old Sparkymalfunctioned,

  • and witnesses said what they saw was pure horror.

  • The South Florida Sun-Sentinel wrote, “flames and smoke erupted from his head.”

  • Now you'll see that executions of innocent people don't only happen in the USA.

  • 36.

  • In Russia in 1983, a man named Aleksandr Kravchenko was executed for murder.

  • It turned out that the killer was none other thanthe Butcher of Rostov”, Andrei Chikatilo.

  • In 1950, a man named George Kelly was hanged in the UK for murder.

  • There had been unbelievable police corruption in the case.

  • The cops basically set him up.

  • In fact, police had the confession of another man, but since they'd made a mess of the

  • case, they held that information back.

  • In 1989, a man named Teng Xingshan was executed in China for the murder of a woman.That woman

  • later turned up to the surprise of everyone.

  • Xingshan had committed no crime at all.

  • 35.

  • Prisoners get drunk while locked up on alcohol they make themselves.

  • It's sometimes called hooch, or pruno, or prison wine.

  • The best brewers can earn ok money from selling it.

  • One former prisoner said, “You can sell half a gallon of wine for $25.

  • Each pant leg makes two and a half gallons, so you do the math.

  • It's a good hustle.”

  • He said he cut pant legs and sewed the bottoms, and lined them with plastic bags.

  • Then he filled them with water.

  • After that, he threw in five pounds of sugar, a load of diced tomatoes, and tomato paste.

  • He then let all that ferment.

  • Other prisoners have used bread for yeast.

  • As for the sweetness, any kind of fruit works, but you can also add candy.

  • It's important toburpthe bag.

  • We saw a guy on a podcast who said he'd forgotten to do that, and he got covered in

  • the stuff when it exploded.

  • 34.

  • Another thing prisoners will pay good money for is mobile phones.

  • It's not easy getting them in.

  • Sometimes an officer can be tempted with cash, or even threatened.

  • Other times the phones arepluggedin the rear, which you can imagine can be quite

  • uncomfortable.

  • For a run-of-the-mill phone, you might be able to charge US$1000 inside prison.

  • 33.

  • In 2015, Brazilian prison officers discovered a unique way prisoners were getting phones

  • inside.

  • They used cats.

  • One cat that frequently went in and outside of the prison was found with four mobile phones,

  • four chargers, and seven cards attached to it.

  • 32.

  • Just how much a man can plug is anyone's guess, but we saw a documentary where an officer

  • showed how a prisoner had plugged a foldable knife.

  • The British Prime Minister was recently given a lesson on such acts, when he learned some

  • British prisoners were hidingKinder eggsin themselves filled with drugs.

  • 31.

  • Why would people go to such an effort, you might ask?

  • The answer is the mark-up.

  • Drugs in prison are way more expensive than on the outside, so much so, officers might

  • sometimes get in on the dealing.

  • It is a license to print money, and there is no shortage of prisoners wanting something

  • to take the monotony away.

  • In fact, because opiates can't be detected in urine after around 2-3 days, some prisoners

  • get into them even though they just want to smoke weed.

  • Weed can be detected up to 21 days after ingestion.

  • One podcast we watched said he took opiates in prison, but every so often, he got caught

  • out.

  • He said then he went back to the first floor, where he had no privileges.

  • He'd slowly get back to the upper floor, where he'd do more opiates.

  • Then he got caught again and was sent back down.

  • He called it the merry-go-round.

  • 30.