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5 Heartwarming Accomplishments by Hardened Prison Inmates

#2. Winning Gold Medals in an International Choir Contest

Amanda Davidson/The Enquirer

When it comes to extracurricular activities in the big house, the pickings are mighty slim. While some would argue that giving the inmates something productive to fill their time would help lower the risk of repeat violence, a popular counterargument is "Criminals? Fuck 'em."

Thinkstock Images/Photos.com
"What's this under the sink? Is this a book? Oh, this won't do."

So when Warren Correctional Institution started Umoja, a gospel choir for inmates, the general population was elated ... until they realized the sheer volume of incredible beatings being in the prison choir would likely net them. Still, some brave souls joined, and Umoja proved so successful that they were invited to the World Choir Games.

Unfortunately, due to the whole "convicted of heinous crimes against their fellow man" thing, Umoja was unable to attend the competition in Cincinnati. But organizers were so impressed by the convicts' dedication that they decided to make an exception and sent a team of judges to hear them perform.

It should come as no surprise that being incarcerated for half of your life can turn you into one soulful cat, but how did they stack up against professional singers and choirs from around the globe?

Thinkstock/Photos.com
Gladys and the Shady Grove Retirement Home Chorus don't play.

They shivved those other choirs' punk asses, prison style, that's how. Umoja won gold medals in both the gospel and the spiritual category, beating out teams from nearly 50 countries. On top of this, the group has also released three CDs of their music, donating most of the profits to charity, because seriously -- like the prison is going to let them keep it.

#1. Laying the Foundations for a Global Corporation

Wikimedia Commons

Despite having perhaps the most mockable name of the 18th century, Werner von Siemens founded the respected and successful (and Nazi-sympathizing) global corporation Siemens AG. But he didn't grow his company from a basement laboratory into a bustling multinational electronics powerhouse overnight. Wiener von Siemens made many sacrifices: He sacrificed his time, his money, his hard work, and even his freedom for his success. Werner von Semen made most of his start-up capital during his time in prison, which he served for participating in an illegal duel.

Helder Almeida/Photos.com
"Did you fill out the form at the Murder Licensing Office? Is this duel even legal?"

After being arrested in 1841 for standing in as a second in a murder competition, Wiener von Semen was sent to the Magdeburg citadel to serve his time. 1841 was a simpler age, when men were men and attempted murder was just not that big of a deal. So while serving his brief sentence, Wang von Semen was allowed to bring a small laboratory with him into his cell, presumably after pinky swearing not to blow up any guards or start a toilet meth lab. For the next year, he worked tirelessly on various experiments and inventions, until he was eventually pardoned in 1842. But by that time, Siemens had become so used to his prison setup, he actually declined the early release and continued his work behind bars.

Almost two years into his sentence, Dong von Jizz perfected a new technique that radically improved the process of metal galvanization. His brother patented the process in London, and the money they made off of it would become the backbone for Siemens' other projects, funding the rest of his prosperous life of invention (and presumably seeking vicious revenge against everybody who made terrible, juvenile dick jokes about his name).

Wikimedia Commons
Yup, this is a Werner von Siemens bust. Totally a bust with Siemens (written) on it. Just stating the facts.



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For more accomplishments from odd places, check out 5 Whores Who Changed The Course of History and 5 Nuns Who Could Kick Your Ass.

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out Inside Martha Stewart's Creepy Sex Interview With Her Nephew.

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