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Christmas in Prison

Maryland Prison System Bans Hugging

Based on personal experience and observation, the prison holiday experience was bleak and dismal. Despite their tough demeanor, the young inmates looked lost during the holiday season. When I walked by the unit’s telephones, I heard the longing for home in the voice of a young man whose arms were covered with violent tattoos. Although some correctional officers acted somewhat nicer, many officers were nastier than usual. The correctional officers serving their shift on the holiday were just as unhappy as the inmates to be in prison on December 25th.

Inmates serving life or long sentences faced the holidays in stride. After so many years, for their own sanity, the older inmates were immune to the holidays. They went about their business as if it was a normal day in their abnormal world.

One bright spot during this bleak period was holiday mail. As you walked by cells, you saw inmate’s looking at their holiday mail and Christmas cards from family and friends.

The visitor’s room was decorated for the holiday season. The visitors and inmates sat on rows of chairs facing each other. Despite the holiday, I watched correctional officers stopping a young child from sitting on her father’s lap. The father gently placed the crying little girl back into her mother’s arms.

Some inmates tried to act as if it was another normal holiday season. For many inmates, it was simply a relief to have the holiday season come to a close.

Sponsored by Uncle Pokey–Greeting Cards for Inmates & Their Families.

By: Bradley Schwartz
Founder of

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4 Responses to Christmas in Prison

  1. PrisonPath December 22, 2015 at 8:10 pm #

    Miguel– What is the point of this post? After spending 25 consective Christmases behind bars, I assure you that the holidays are a terrible time of year for both staff and inmates.

  2. PrisonPath December 23, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

    R.—Keep your head up homies inside

  3. kristy December 26, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

    How I get a copy of the Christmas box list on line?

  4. PrisonPath January 1, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

    Susan– My immediate reaction to this post was sadness, then how do we fix it, but then I don’t know that we can – there is so much more that needs to be fixed in the prison system – ideas?

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