Former Prisoner Shares Insights On Rejoining Society After 12 Years Behind Bars

Ashley Hunte
Text overlay on an image of a grocery store chip aisle that reads, "When you come home from prison after 12 years... shopping is too much."
TikTok | @social_wellness

Most of us will never experience the inside of a prison. But for those of us who do, it can be a tough adjustment, both into the prison, and back into the everyday life of the outside.

One TikToker recently shared his experience grocery shopping as a former inmate, showing just how overwhelming the experience can be for people who have been incarcerated.

The TikTok was uploaded earlier in July, and currently has over 890,000 views.

Michael Capers showing the chip aisle of a grocery store.
TikTok | @social_wellness

Michael Capers, who goes by Social wellness (@social_wellness) on TikTok, uploaded his now-viral video on July 18th. It consists of a short clip of a grocery store aisle.

Michael shows both sides of the aisle, which contain several varieties of chips and snacks.

Michael showing the other side of the aisle, which has more options.
TikTok | @social_wellness

The text overlay that displays on the screen for the duration of the video reads, "When you come home from prison after 12 years... shopping is too much."

You can tell that this one aisle is incredibly overwhelming for him.

At the end of the clip, you can hear him say, "It’s just too much to choose from. I can’t even shop yet.

After being in prison for over a decade, Michael explains that the grocery store is a lot different from what he's become accustomed to.

A grocery store aisle with a fridge section at the end.
Unsplash | Franki Chamaki

In a reply in the comment section, he writes, "I came from a commissary that had one page front and back with most of the items not being food. This one isle had more food than the whole commissary."

Many users took to the comments to try and spread positive vibes.

A cloud that's "Raining" positivity.
Giphy | megan motown

One commenter wrote, "Welcome home broski, take your time."

Another commenter encouragingly wrote, "Good luck man! I can hear in your voice that you're a good person and will be successful."

Others did their best to offer advice.

The produce section of a grocery store.
Unsplash | gemma

Many used the comment section to help Michael have an easier time at the store.

One user commented, "having a list definitely helps. I like to get what I need and then look around for anything else I might want."

Some shared their perspectives as people who know former prisoners.

The inside of a hallway in an institution.
Unsplash | Matthew Ansley

One commenter said, "Glad to see you home. I pray that you’re adjusting well. Prison life is no joke. I used to be a CO & I hated the conditions, it broke my heart daily."

Others shared their own experiences transitioning from prison to everyday life.

A barbed wire fence outside of a prison.
Unsplash | H├ędi Benyounes

"Awwwe honey it's okay took me 5 years to be free after being freed. I still have to isolate sometimes but it'll get better," one user shared.

To that, Michael replied with an idea on how to help former inmates who'd just been released.

Two people embraced in a handshake.
Unsplash | Ave Calvar

He wrote, "I think we should go through a 1-2 year decarceration phase. It would make life so much easier when we get back home!"

But, as Michael shared with all of his well-wishers, he's slowly adjusting over time.

Donald and Goofy giving thumbs up as a caption reads, "You got this!"
Giphy | Mickey Mouse

In another reply, he wrote, "The initial was overwhelming. Now, I embrace the agency I have to choose!"

He also took the time to thank many commenters who wished him well.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!