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People Who Spent the '80s and '90s in Prison Share the Biggest Adjustments to Life on the Outside


When you stop to think about how much has changed about everyday life from the 1980s to today, it's pretty staggering. Even the difference between life in 1998 versus 2008 was dramatically different. For example, we went from cellphones being a rare possession to the advent of the iPhone in that span of time. 

Now imagine spending that decade of your life in prison, only to return to a world with smartphones, Facebook, and YouTube. Talk about culture shock, right? In a recent AskReddit thread, people who spent 10 or more years in prison during the start of the Information age were asked to share what was weirdest about life on the outside after serving their sentences.

1. Email.

One person who processes claims on abandoned funds encountered a woman who was confused when he asked for her email address. "What's email?" she said to him. "I keep hearing about it but you gotta understand I've been in prison a loooooong time." Email didn't really become a thing until internet service providers like AOL became popular in the mid-90s, so understandably someone who spent the '90s in prison wouldn't have any familiarity with it, though many minimum security prisons now have computers with limited access to the internet for text-only messaging.