Have you ever known, or do you now know, any violent criminals?

What did they do? What were they like? What are they like now?

I’ve known a few.

All of them were very kind to me. I believe two were ‘murderers,’ and quite a few for assault.

Several; as individuals, their crimes ranged from simple assault, to manslaughter, to murder. Without exception, they were all dumbass white trash who carried a huge chip on their collective shoulder.

A close male relative of mine was arrested for drunk & disorderly. The police officer who would later arrest him screamed in his face and shoved him. He spit in the officer’s face. The officer punched him, he punched the officer, a group of three other officers beat the living hell out of him with flashlights, feet and fists and arrested him on charges of “felony assault on a police officer” and he ended up doing 18 months in the joint.

Most of the “violent criminals” I’ve known were OK towards me (of course, I didn’t get on their bad side). At least three of 'em are dead.

I spent several years working in kitchens, which tend to be havens for the recently disincarcerated and incubators for future felons. Most felons I knew were your basic low-level scumbags–thieves, druggies, et cetera–but a few were or at least claimed to be violent criminals. It was actually something of a badge of honor to have been put in a maximum security facility; one guy claimed to have been in Folsom, Chino, Pelican Bay, et cetera, all of California’s finest institutions for those who can’t be trusted with a spork (although I think he was full of crap). It was also bragging rights to have assaulted, beaten, or raped a child molester–from the stories told you’d have to believe that every third felon was some kind of rampant child rapist; again, probably exaggeration or bullshit.

In my admittedly limited experience, most career criminals have no interest in being reformed or “corrected” and will do the bare minimum to get parole and then return to being scumbags; this is especially true for violent criminals who tend to have some significant mental disorders (sociopathy, borderline social dissociation, extreme narcissism, et cetera) and little incentive or inclination to improve. Most behave in ways that are not only violent, but are practically caricatures of violent characters on television and movies, these being their closest thing to a role model.


I know an oddly large number, yes.

Poor white trash are disproportionately represented, and violent rape is the most common offense. One is a rapist and murderer (the crimes were perpetrated against two different individuals) who used to manage a J. C. Penny’s.

Sadly… both friends and family… various races.

I posted here about an ex-neighbor of mine who bragged about being willing to rape women; he was eventually arrested for participating in a gang rape.

One of my second-cousins is serving a life sentence for felony murder.

A brother (assault) though most of his crimes were non-violent drug offenses. A couple of guys from HS, those being drug related murders. One ex-girlfriend for armed bank robbery (does that count).

I did a tax return for a rapist in prison*. The irony is that I never met him - I worked through his girlfriend. I keep trying to wrap my head around that one.

*He also committed mortgage fraud and failed to pay hundreds of thousands in taxes, but they didn’t jail him for those last two. That probably says a lot about our current financial predicament.

I’ve known quite a few who were convicted of attempted murder, aggravated assault, that type of thing, no murders that I can think of. They’ve all been OK with me but all have bad tempers and aren’t very trustworthy. Some of them have been pretty smart but they all seem to feel entitled or something, very self-centered.

The biggest jerk I know is a guy who was convicted of rape. I have nothing good to say about him.

As a felony prosecutor I “met,” in the course of my work, several murderers and rapists, and quite a few people who dealt drugs bigtime, stole cars or assaulted other people with varying degrees of severity. Probably an equal mix of blacks and whites, with a few Latinos too. Most were pretty young and didn’t seem especially bright. They had little reason to like me, given my job, but I was courteous to them (as I try to be to everybody) and I had no problems. At one hearing the judge was concerned that either the defendant or his family would freak out when she sentenced him, so she had six armed sheriff’s deputies standing by in the courtroom. I’ve never felt safer!

Most of the violent criminals I’ve known are now in prison, or were when I last checked. Now that I’m a magistrate I have, rarely, had someone appear before me that I prosecuted seven-plus years ago, but never yet has it appeared that there were any hard feelings.

I lived with a man who had murdered another man while in prison. In my opinion it was really self-defense, but he was convicted of murder. He was in prison for embezzling $16 from the gas station he worked at. He was threatened by a tough prisoner, he stashed a sledehammer from the toolshed in his cell, the guy came to his cell, he chased him into the guard captain’s office and beat his head in with the sledgehammer in front of the guard, who testified on his behalf at his trial.

He was a very troubled man who ultimately killed himself.

I briefly knew someone who later robbed a bank. Manic and unstable.

An link broken was later convicted of repeated acts of sexual assault against a child under the age of 13. Ugh. When we lived together, I found that he had downloaded child porn via an Internet account that was in my name, dialed up over my telephone number. I told him that had to stop. The sexual assaults began shortly after he moved out.

I’ve known two murderers (one killed his own child). Two of my best friends growing up are now in prison for assault. Glad I got out of that group.

Have any of these types of felons gone on to totally repent their own ways, become new men (or women), and turn their lives around?

None that I knew. I don’t doubt that a few felons make a sincere effort and may succeed at genuinely turning their lives around, but the vast majority (again, my opinion) don’t know how, don’t have support to do so, or just don’t care. For a lot of scumbags, violent or otherwise, they just don’t even know any other way to be; straight life is just too alien or mundane for them to live that way. And of course for people with genuine emotional or mental disorders who aren’t receiving treatment (and frankly the penal system is not set up to offer the kind of treatment that might have some chance of reversing decades of abuse and neglect that many felons experience in their developmental years) reversion to atavistic behavior is just the least path of resistance, regardless of the ultimate consequences.


Grew up with some violent thugs. One is doing life sentence in Ohio. I don’t talk with anyone I grew up with.

Since I am in a 12 step program, a lot of the people I hang out with *used to be *violent criminals. Many have done long prison terms. They are genuinely loving and supportive people now, though.

I don’t know anyone who’s ‘reformed’, for lack of a better word, without being in recovery.

A friend of mine was a bank robber years ago and to be honest he is one of the nicest guys I know, he has done alot of favors for me and is always polite to me and my family, don’t get me wrong I am always on guard, but a nice guy regardless. Even while he was robbing banks he was apparently known for his nice demeanor.

I’ve met and spent time with terrorists. Bombers, robbers and gunmen. All IRA. All very smart, strongly politically motivated people who were good company and didn’t seem in the least bit violent. Others I’m sure are dfferent but the ones I’ve met, about 10-20 people, have all been like that.

Sure. Lots of them.
I’ve personally known a dozen or so murderers.
I’ve known dozens of people convicted for assault and battery, assault with a deadly weapon, and similar crimes.
I’ve known a couple dozen rapists and about half that many child molesters.
I’m talking here only about the ones I’ve known as my classmates, students, or people from my community. The numbers would go up dramatically if I included the ones I knew in a professional context working as a deputy sheriff or working in residential treatment.
My experience with criminals reforming mirrors that of Stranger On A Train.