It’s tough out there for an ex-convict who’s been released from jail. It’s hard to get a job, because potential employers don’t trust you. You can’t vote (at least, not if you’re convicted of a felony). Essentially your past mistakes will continue to follow you around in spite of the fact you’ve paid for your crimes. What’s more frustrating, there really aren’t a lot of outlets for ex-cons to constructively vent their rage. So, in the age of the internet, several of the more creative ex-cons have taken to the internet’s variety of review services and let their opinions be known. So here, for your consideration, are some of the weirdest hotel-like prison reviews from ex-cons on Yelp and Google.
1. Wormwood Scrubs is a “great place to get away from the wife and kids.”
Located in west London, Wormwood Scrubs has a reputation reaching back into the storied city’s past. Of course, you wouldn’t know it with reviews from ex-patrons like Michael Pollard, who happily proclaimed the prison a “great place to get away from the wife and kids.” Yet another review from ex-con Steve Hall said that while the food left something to be desired, the location still had “plenty of bars.”
2. Pelican Bay State Prison “is better than time in Hawaii”.
Located in Crescent City, California, Pelican Bay is a world renowned jail. And — according to the reviews — that’s for very good reason. One review claims that time in the prison is better than time in Hawaii, while another praised the “Excellent food and concierge service (sic).” Unfortunately, not all the reviews are glowing; one former inmate who was recommended to the institution by a California judge claimed, “Bellhops are rude, no ice machine, and the staff don’t seem to know the first thing about customer service.”
3. The location offers city and river views and there is plenty of wildlife on hand.
Riker’s Island, New York’s most famous detention facility may not seem like the perfect vacation spot, but a review from mo I. paints a charming picture. The location offers city and river views and there is plenty of wildlife on hand. As mo puts it, “if you like studying creatures such as bed bugs, lice, and mutant water bugs this is the place.” On Thursdays, Riker’s provides a delicious assortment of rare and medium cooked chicken to prisoners, so you know the cuisine is experimental.
4. The population is “extremely outgoing” at Louisiana State Penitentiary.
If the Louisiana State Penitentiary isn’t careful, they’ll elevate their accommodations to the point that no one will want to leave. According to former residents of the prison colloquially know as Angola, the population is “extremely outgoing” and it’s the perfect spot for people who are fond of “bald white men with tattoos… the tattoos were very… angular if that makes sense.”
5. The “honey buns” are delicious at Los Angeles County Jail
Unfortunately, the LA County Jail doesn’t fare as well as some of its counterparts. Several reviews claim that the service is absolutely third-rate. Another customer pointed out that the bathrooms only supplied single-ply toilet paper to patrons, while another former resident claimed that the ambiance was somewhat lacking. Apparently the “honey buns” are delicious, though …
6. Attica Correctional Facility – the turndown service is renowned!
Attica, New York’s world famous prison likes to keep itself a secret. While few of the plentiful 5-star reviews actually have any words, the turndown service is renowned and one visitor, Jan Godfrey, proclaimed, “Excellent dining! Love the vending machines in visitation!”
7. Belmarsh Prison – Home to Notorious Serial Killer The Suffolk Stranger
Home to notorious serial killer the Suffolk Stranger, the Belmarsh Prison isn’t a place you want to end up. At least, on most occasions. Convict Emanuel Berglund proclaimed that time wasn’t so bad. After all, the place has “excellent neighbors” who never throw noisy parties and who always have the lights out at a reasonable hour.
8. United States Penitentiary Atlanta – One of the Most Dangerous Prisons in the Country
The medium security federal penitentiary in Atlanta is considered by some to be one of the most dangerous prisons in the country (which is saying something, because prisons are terrifying in general and the US has lots of them). However, James Dykstra says that USP Atlanta is an all-inclusive getaway, saying the facility was “guaranteed to provide adequate bedding and up to an hour of recreation a day. And, with full service laundry, kitchen, and communal bathrooms, you’ll never have to leave.”
9. Western Europe’s Largest High Security Prison: Wakefield Prison
Home to some of the world’s most infamous criminals, Wakefield Prison has the dubious distinction of being Western Europe’s largest high security prison. Yet, the inside must be quite pleasant as one wordless review from Timothy Kitchin left a simple 5-star rating. Ex-con Philip Horner declared that the officers keeping the peace were, “very supportive.”
10. “My experience here was fantastic! Great gym facilities and fitness programs. Also gay friendly”
Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary may have reputation among civvies for being something of a pit, a place you do not want to end up, even in a nightmare. Of course, you wouldn’t know it from the reviews from former patrons. One review from Grant Moberly was simply ecstatic. He wrote, “My experience here was fantastic! Great gym facilities and fitness programs. Also gay friendly” followed by a thumbs up emoji. Very forward thinking Leavenworth.
11. “Really enjoyed my stay here. Comfortable room with lots of light. Hosts were very welcoming. Will definitely be back.” Kevin DeWynne, Folsom State Prison
It was country crooner Johnny Cash (certified genius) who immortalized Folsom State Prison in “Folsom Prison Blues,” an ode to the men who serve time behind bars. Of course, that song may not have gained traction if it was known how lovely Folsom is. Kevin DeWynne declared, “Really enjoyed my stay here. Comfortable room with lots of light. Hosts were very welcoming. Will definitely be back.”
12. San Quentin State Prison’s North Block, in particular, is a really great community.
The reviews for San Quentin are all over the map. While the prison is home to some of the worst offenders that California has produced, there are several glowing reviews on Yelp, including one from a Daniel M. who said that North Block, in particular, is a really great community. Yet another review praised the institution’s great year-round weather and its policy of handing free food.
13. At Sing Sing, there’s even a certified massage therapist on staff.
No, Ossining, New York’s Sing Sing isn’t home to a musical theater revue (at least not a professional one …), but the prison is home to an eclectic and welcoming community. One review said that the prison’s toilet wine is second to none. Further, the views of the Hudson River are supposed to be unparalleled. There’s even a certified massage therapist on staff … he’ll even work for free. Hope you don’t mind the swastika face tattoo.
14. Holloway Prison is stuffed to the gills with kids.
Britain’s Holloway Prison isn’t home to as many happy customers as they’d perhaps like. One review from a user named Maria Edmonds claimed that not only is the water cold and the food unsavory, but the prison itself is simply stuffed to the gills with kids. And we all know how pesky kids can be.