In 1911, inmates on death row played baseball for their lives. If they won, execution was delayed. If they lost, their execution went ahead as scheduled.
In Bolivia, when an inmate enters San Pedro Prison they have to purchase a cell. They can purchase a cell from the prison mayor or freelance agents who typically advertises avaliable cells in restaurants and bulletin boards. Housing in the prison varies between $20 and $5,000 depending on the quality.
In 2015, Neil Moore, a prisoner serving time for a $2.7 million fraud conviction, walked out the front gate of a high security prison by forging his own release papers.
In 1938, a man in prison trained a cockroach to smuggle him cigarettes. He was later released because the warden said “a man who can train a cockroach doesn’t belong in prison”.
Companies such as Wholefoods, Starbucks, Microsoft, IBM make use of prison labor.
Merle Haggard was a 20 year old prisoner at San Quentin when he saw Johnny Cash play his first concert for inmates in 1958. Haggard said it helped turn his life around and inspired him to be a country artist. Cash always told Haggard, “You’re everything that people think I am.”
The Whole Shabang is a brand of chips initially only sold at prison commissary stores. The chips were so popular amongst ex inmates that it became a grey market commodity and finally was sold to the general public.
An increasing number of elderly Japanese people are committing small crimes so they can live in prison for free. People aged 65+ now make up more than a quarter of the prison population in Japan.
In Canada there is a prisoner known as “the Unknown Person” who has been imprisoned since 2013 because he refuses to identify himself.