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Imagine you close your eyes right now and when you wake up you're in the year 2033. What's changed? Most things. Well this is reality for people doing long stints in jail and one person that knows this is Larry Lawton. In fact, it wasn't until his release that he discovered porn could be accessed on the internet.
Larry, who is known for being one of America's biggest jewel thieves, spent over a decade of his life behind bars. Here he talks about some of the things he experienced and came to realise after he was released:
Larry was initially given the offer to serve a three-year sentence in exchange for disclosing his accomplices but refused the deal and instead spent 12 years behind bars before being released in 2007.
In the days that followed he saw a flip phone for the first time, thought he was being conned with 'Monopoly money' and discovered internet porn.
Speaking to LADbible, the 59-year-old, who was the first ex-con in the United States to be made an honorary police officer (despite insisting he's not a 'cop lover'), explained: "The world changed, I mean, totally changed."
Despite telling us 'yeah p**** is great but you miss food', Larry still had needs other than his stomach. So imagine his delight when he learnt he could watch porn without having to go into Blockbuster and physically renting a movie or buying a magazine.
He explained: "I was away for over a decade, you know what changes?
"The guys were coming in [to prison, before he was released] saying 'wait til you see the internet'. I go 'what do you mean the internet, there's really no internet'."
He continued: "He goes 'no, you wanna go for a porno?' I go 'well you got to go to Blockbuster', he goes 'no, no, no, you just go online, hit this and type whatever you want.'
"I'm not knowing, now he's starting to explain it and I'm like 'holy s***'. There's so much going through your mind."
Moving on to more serious matters, he said: "I was institutionalised. I got out on August 24 2007, they give you $25 what they call 'gate money'.
"They give me my money and I said 'where's my money?' The guy looks at me and said 'here it is,' and I said 'no, where's my money? Where do I cash it in?'
"It looked like Monopoly money to me. In the United States, the money changed three times, the look of money. I'm like 'this ain't no f****** money,' I don't trust them, they would beat me. I had a rough prison run."
Larry, who made $150,000 for 15 minutes' work during his first jewellery store robbery which was an insurance job, went on to talk about the first time he saw a flip phone.
"I hadn't seen a girl in 11 years, so I sat down next to her. She had a phone, she had a Razr flip phone, that was like a big deal.
"When I went to prison they had grey phones they used to beat people with."
He asked the woman whether he could look at her phone and wondered how his 'fat fingers' could touch the little buttons. After giving her the phone back, she got off at the next stop.
On the same bus journey, Larry ended up 'crying like a baby' after a short break resulted in him becoming choked up in the middle of Subway and unable to order a sandwich.
This is something he later realised was a condition called sensory overload.
The same problem occurred when Larry got to the halfway house - where he would be staying while he re-integrated into society.
He was given four hours to get 'hygiene products' and said: "You go there and there's 30 types of toothpaste, you don't know what to buy. Everything you do is crazy.
"Then I get my items, I go up to the counter. It was $4.26 and I gave them a 5 dollar bill, they give me my package and say 'thank you'.
"I get mad. 'Where's my f****** money?' I thought they were trying to beat me out of my 74 cents. 'Where's my f****** money?' The guy's getting nervous, some guy touches me, I almost hit him.
"It came down at the end of the counter. In America they've got the little change things at the end of the counter."
In his final anecdote, Larry remembered playing golf with his friend. When it came to the pair ordering food, Larry would let his mate order and ask for the same.
He said: "My buddy broke me. We go to the golf course, every time we ordered I would just say 'I'll take what he has'. Now he used to order chicken, bland, no cheese.
"So one day he stops and he says 'Larry, we're not golfing until you order, I know you don't like what the f*** I'm eating.' The first thing is I got insulted 'what do you think, I can't read?' It's the defence mode coming out."
"He said 'Larry, order what you want off that menu. We'll take our time,' that's the first time I read a menu and that was a couple of months after prison.
"I'm thinking I'm taking too much time, there's so much s*** that goes through you mind. Then I got what I wanted and was like 'oh my God, this is real food again'.
"It was crazy because you don't realise. Again, educated, a degree, f****** read the paper, high IQ - it doesn't mean anything."
On 24 August 2021 it will be 14 years to the day that Larry was released from prison. Since then, he's gone on to write a book called Gangster Redemption as well as becoming the founder of The Reality Check Program.
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