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Things TV And Movies Get Completely Wrong About Prison

Updated 7 Nov 2017 28.5k views12 items

Hollywood sometimes depicts real-life experiences and events perfectly. At other times, though, they tend to get things very wrong. Prison life, for example, has always tended to be popular movie fodder but Hollywood has only managed to perfectly showcase the unique inmate experience a few times. In an effort to amp up the drama and tension, show business interpretations of prison often fall far short of realism. The everyday pastimes of those in prison tend to be overlooked.

From The Great Escape, Birdman of Alcatraz, and The Shawshank Redemption to Oz, Prison Break, and Orange Is the New Black, there is no shortage of televised jailhouse scenarios. There's the familiar-but-entertaining plot of a prison newcomer who enters an entirely new world of trade and commerce. There's the self-contained prison universe plot that describes a unique set of rules, language, and norms. There's also the good-versus-evil prison narrative set in surroundings where moral lines are easily blurred. Whatever the plot, we're inherently entranced by life behind bars. 

This list will help temper your desire to watch prison-centric shows and movies with the knowledge of what's actually going on in a world many of us will never experience firsthand.