George Martonaro was sentenced to life without parole on non-violent charges. In his 32 years in the prison system, he learned dozens of subjects, taught numerous courses such as creative writing to over 8000 inmates, and authored more than 30 books.
Andreas Mihavecz is an Austrian who was taken into custody and forgotten in his cell for 18 days by policemen. He lost 24 kg (53 pounds) and holds the record of surviving the longest without any food or liquids.
Only one man survived the 1902 Mount Pelee eruption, which killed 30,000 people, because he’d been thrown in jail the day before and his cell was partially underground. It had thick stone walls, a bomb-proof magazine, and a small slit for breathing with no other windows.
Two brothers from a set of triplets fooled a Russian prison when one brother swapped places with the other to give him a brief taste of freedom. Rather than returning, the freed brother ran off with his brother’s girlfriend. It took years for the authorities to realize they had been duped.
Salvador Dali made a painting for Riker’s Island prison in New York, which was eventually moved away from inmates, only to be stolen by guards.
A man was once accidentally released from prison 90 years early due to clerical error. He then started building his life by getting a job, getting married, having kids, coaching youth soccer, being active in his church. Authorities realized the mistake 6 years later and sent him back to prison.
A young Arkansas woman spent 35 days in jail and paid thousands in fines for a $29 bounced check.
Treadmills used to be used as punishment for prisoners in the 1800’s. The treadmills powered grain mills (hence the name treadmill) and pump water.
Louisiana State Penitentiary was founded as a slave plantation, and is still run as a prison farm to this day.
Guards at New Mexico State Penitentiary had a “snitch game”. They would label inmates as snitches, let them be abused, and wait for them to turn into informants to escape their tormentors.