What Jeffrey Dahmer's Life In Prison Was Really Like

On July 22, 1991, authorities were led to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, apartment of Jeffrey Dahmer by a man who escaped after being held captive. Immediately upon arrival, authorities noted a foul odor inside the apartment. On further inspection, Biography reports they found crates full of chemicals, a drawer full of macabre Polaroid photos, and numerous body parts — including five severed heads.

History reports Dahmer was ultimately charged and convicted of 15 counts of first-degree murder and subsequently sentenced to 15 life terms, which were to be served consecutively, and was given an additional life sentence in 1992 for another murder confession (via AP). 

As reported by Biography, Dahmer arrived at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, in February 1992. Due to the heinous nature of his crimes, Dahmer's case gained international attention. Therefore, in the interest of his own safety, he was placed in protective custody and held in isolation. As reported by Biography, Dahmer was also kept in shackles whenever he was out of his cell.

After serving one year, Dahmer asked prison officials to reconsider their decision to keep him in protective custody. As he had been cooperative and did not have any major infractions, he was moved out of the isolation cell and into a unit for prisoners with emotional and mental health difficulties.

In the new unit, Dahmer had the freedom to interact with others. In addition to sharing meal time, Biography reports he was allowed to attend classes and sign up for work duties. Although some of the activities were not supervised, Dahmer appeared to get along with everyone.

Jeffrey Dahmer found God in prison

Jeffrey Dahmer also began meeting and spending time with prison minister Roy Ratcliff. As reported by Christianity Today, Ratcliff said Dahmer expressed sincere remorse for the crimes he committed and even suggested he "should have been put to death" as punishment. During an interview, Ratcliff said, "He became a real person to me, so I referred to him the same way I would anyone I knew personally."

Dahmer also began taking a Bible correspondence course while he was incarcerated. The course was mailed to him by Curt Booth, who was a member of Oklahoma's Crescent Church of Christ.

As reported by The Christian Chronicle, Booth learned about Dahmer while watching news coverage about his trial. In an interview, which Booth saw on television, Dahmer proclaimed he just wanted to "find a little peace." Booth said he could tell the convicted killer was hurting, and sent him the course material because he wanted to help Dahmer find peace through religion.

After completing the course, Dahmer expressed an interest in being baptized. However, the prison did not have a formal baptismal tank and nobody seemed willing to bring one in. Booth eventually got in touch with Roy Ratcliff and they arranged for the baptism to take place in the prison's whirlpool bathtub. Biography reports Dahmer was baptized in May 1994.

Following his baptism, Dahmer purchased 25 Bible correspondence courses, which he distributed to his fellow inmates.

Jeffrey Dahmer had a gruesome sense of humor

Although Dahmer became a Christian and was baptized, he seemed to maintain a ghoulish sense of humor — which his fellow inmates did not appreciate. As reported by Biography, Dahmer routinely made jokes about cannibalism.

In addition to "mold[ing] his prison food to resemble body parts or severed limbs, with ketchup as blood," he routinely warned guards and his fellow inmates that he may bite them. Dahmer also reportedly posted a sign, which advertised a "Cannibals Anonymous" meeting.

On November 28, 1994, Dahmer and fellow inmates, Jesse Anderson and Christopher Scarver, were cleaning the restrooms in the prison's gym. Biography reports the three men were alone inside the restroom for approximately 20 minutes. When the guards returned, they found Anderson and Dahmer badly beaten. Both men ultimately died as a result of the wounds inflicted by Scarver.

As reported by Independent, Scarver later said he was "unnerved" by Dahmer's behavior, including his habit of making his food look like dismembered bodies. Scarver said Dahmer "crossed the line with some people — prisoners, prison staff. Some people who are in prison are repentant — but he was not one of them"

Scarver said he generally tried to stay away from Dahmer. However, while they were cleaning the restroom, someone poked him in the back with a mop. Scarver said when he turned around, both Anderson and Dahmer were laughing. 

Jeffrey Dahmer was killed by a fellow inmate

Scarver said he was unsure whether Jesse Anderson or Jeffrey Dahmer poked him, but he was not going to let either of them get away with it. As reported by Independent, Scarver followed Dahmer into a locker room. Scarver said he always kept a newspaper article in his pocket, which detailed Dahmer's crimes. When he pulled the article out and confronted him with it, Dahmer reportedly "started looking for the door pretty quick." However, before he could leave, Carver struck him in the head with a metal bar.

As reported by Biography, Dahmer's attorney, Gerald Boyle, believes he knew he would be killed when he asked to be placed in a unit with other inmates. Boyle said, "Dahmer had a death wish, and I know he didn't have the gumption to do it himself, so I predicted that the day would come when he would be killed in prison."