What Teen Mom Star Amber Portwood's Life In Prison Was Really Like

After pleading guilty to a felony drug charge, failing a court-ordered drug screening, and opting out of a mandatory rehab program, "Teen Mom" star Amber Portwood was sentenced to five years in prison on June 5, 2012. 

According to TMZ, Portwood admitted to a judge on May 24, 2012, she hadn't stayed clean during the drug rehabilitation program she had been ordered to complete, hated it, and insisted that she would be a "bad girl" forever. Portwood, who was 22 at the time, asked the judge to sentence her to prison. As one can imagine, both her own attorney and the prosecuting attorney were shocked and dismayed by Portwood's admission. "I just don't think she knew opting out meant five years in prison," Prosecuting Attorney Rodney Cummings later said about Portwood's surprising courtroom move, per CNN

But what was prison life really like for the reality television personality? And how long was she actually in there? The answer just might surprise you.

Amber Portwood worked hard in prison

Amber Portwood went to prison and got to work ... on herself.

"The whole time I was in there I worked my a** off," Portwood told People in March 2015 about her time in prison. "There were hundreds of hours of drug addiction classes. I did extra classes, parenting and anger management and even started teaching. I put myself in there for a reason so I didn't want to make it a waste," she explained. Still, she was adamant that her prison stay was no walk in the park and often left her feeling depleted. "It felt like a nightmare," Amber recalled to In Touch. "Feeling humiliated and vulnerable (from the strip search), you literally have nothing and walk around like a zombie," she said. "There were times I reached a breaking point," she added. 

Fortunately, however, Portwood's time behind bars also helped her focus on what really mattered — her relationship with her daughter, Leah. "Before prison, I never thought about Leah. I was addicted to drugs and didn't care about anything else," she confessed. "Prison saved my life — and gave me a second chance at being a mother."

Amber Portwood only served 16 months in prison

In a surprising turn of events, Amber Portwood was released from prison on November 4, 2013, after serving only 16 months of her five-year sentence. 

Still, Douglas S. Garrison, the chief communications officer of the Indiana Department of Correction told Us Weekly that Portwood's release after only 16 months shouldn't really come as a surprise at all. "She earned a combination of earned credit time for good behavior and completion of programming, which resulted in her period of incarceration being reduced," he explained. According to Garrison, the "earned credit time" is something many offenders have the opportunity to benefit from and is actually anticipated by the courts, so her release date was actually unexpected. But not so fast. Garrison made it clear that Portwood would be on parole for "an unspecified period of time" and that she would be required to submit to random drug testing. 

Immediately upon her release, Portwood told Splash News Online (via TMZ) that she felt "amazing" and wanted to "go get something good to eat." Perhaps the prison food left something to be desired.