Inmate turned social media influencer? Yes. Don’t be shocked, but it’s true. And some of them are raking in six figures talking about their jailhouse experiences. And it seems people are fascinated by prison life. Here are six former inmate social media influencers.
“After Prison Show” is a vlog with 1.27 million followers. It was launched three years ago by ex-con Joe Guerrero, who served seven years for cocaine and firearm possession.
Guerrero’s first viral video was about how to make a prison tattoo gun, the Washington Post reported. His channel now has nearly 205 million total views. YouTubing is now Guerrero’s full-time job, earning him a six-figure income.
“Until now, my life had been a constant failure,” Guerrero told the Washington Post. “I told myself that if I’m going to make it this time or if I’m going to fail, I want to show people what it’s like. A lot of people have no idea what it’s like to serve time and then try and restart their life.”
Among Guerrero’s most popular videos is 10 ways to cook ramen in prison (2.7 million views), how to make a lighter in prison (1.5 million views), and a recipe for “prison pizza” (1.3 million-plus views).
The “Lockdown 23and1” channel has 405,000 subscribers and goes to questions many people have about prison but dare to ask, such as “What happens after the lights go out?” and “What happens when someone drops soap in the shower?”
“Fresh Out — Life After The Penitentiary” channel features a segment called “Prison Talk” with popular videos about joining a gang in prison, which has 3.5 million views, and being short and skinny in jail, which has 3.7 million views.
Marcus Timmons, also known as “Big Herc,” runs the popular “Fresh Out” channel, which has more than 450,000 subscribers. An ex-con convicted of bank robbery, Timmons recently told Insider he makes thousands of dollars a month in ad payouts from his popular videos, the New York Post reported.
“A lot of our audience was originally ex-prisoners, but now we’re starting to get people from the outside who have never entertained life in prison — people would come from a more productive environment and they’re watching the show and leaving comments and questions,” Timmons told the Washington Post.
Timmons’ YouTube page inspired former inmate Wes Watson to launch his own channel, “GP- Penitentiary Life Wes Watson,” which has 215,000 subscribers.
Watson claims his monthly income is $10,000, generated from ads on his YouTube videos. Watson also conducts life coaching, does private fitness training, and has plans to launch an online platform priced at $47 monthly.
“(Success) is just helping as many people as I can through my platform,” he said, “and just steering people away from these negative traits.”