Monthly Archives: November 2014

Hair Care

I went to the salon today and had my hair done. I realized how grateful I am to be able to indulge in this way. I love that feeling of walking in with a day old dirty hair, roots grown out and split ends to walking out feeling like a whole new person ready to conquer the days’ battles. I don’t think this stems from vanity as much as being able to have a control of your being. Let me explain hair in prison.

I was a bleach blonde before I was incarcerated. I assumed there would be no hair bleaching options so I decided to go back to my natural color of brown before I took my plea. I did not want to be trapped in prison with 6″ roots. Go figure! I was in jail awaiting sentencing when a couple inmates commented that my hair was turning green. There were no mirrors in jail so i remember trying to pull my shoulder length hair around my head to see the strands myself. I thought it looked like a deep olive green but then blew it off thinking it was the bad lighting. That was until my first visit from my family and my six year old daughter claimed my hair had turned green. I can now laugh at this situation but at the time, I was devastated. I was going to prison with green hair and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.

I arrived at prison and was told the rules on hair:

1. Upon admittance to prison hair is searched for any hidden items. All extensions, braids were removed. (The only person I saw that was above this rule was a mother of a famous basketball player) She walked around with braided extensions to the middle of her back.

2. Hair longer than the collar bone had to be pulled back into a single ponytail. They supplied you with one black hair tie.

3. Ears had to be exposed at all times.

I wanted to cut my hair and realized I would have to wait to be secured on a permanent yard. Once I was admitted to Lumley (High Security Yard) I was enlightened to the fact that we had no barber. There was a inmate barber who cut the guards hair in a small room next the visitation building. She used to own a high end salon in Scottsdale and was accused of killing and dismembering her husband. She was allowed scissors right next to the guards heads. Never understood that one.

The inmates, I, had to cut our hair with toe nail clippers. Yes, strand by strand my hair was finally cut into a cute bob that I didn’t have to put in a ponytail and rid most of the green from my hair. I felt a little more human at that point.

The other hair care options were to move to a lower security yard. There was an inmate barber that was given an electric shaver to trim hair. It was amazing what these women could do with this tool to make a decent cut. There was the final option of waiting for the  Breast Cancer Awareness stylists to come annually. An inmate could donate there hair and have a real haircut. I found it amazing how many women donated their locks with no hesitation. Even though, in may instances it was their only possession.

I joke a lot about the fact that “at least I came home with long hair”, “That I got something from my stay”. but the truth is…I feel grateful for the small things like having my hair shampooed by someone else.


Table Settings with a Spork?

A spork is a spoon-shaped eating utensil with 3-4 small fork tines on the end. It is a hybrid of a fork and spoon. I may of used a spork in grade school at some point but I don’t have any true memories of them, just a familiarity. I never thought they would be the only utensil I would touch for five years.The sporks in prison were a very hard orange plastic and the tines on the end were very small as to prevent stabbing in the cafeteria, I suppose. I always thought they would make a great shiv if it was smuggled back to the cell for some filing. I never did see one weapon made of a spork though.

I did begin to wonder if we ate with sporks for safety reasons or for degradation. The first time I went in to the cafeteria to eat in the beginning of my incarceration, we were lead in a single file line to the fine dining establishment. The cafeteria was a square building placed on each yard. The walls were made up of brick from the ground halfway up and then shatterproof glass to the ceiling. The outside of the building was aligned with an L-shaped enclosed gate that we were to line up in like cattle. The entrance to the cafeteria was a double door with a huge fan above it blowing deliciously cold air onto an inmates head as they passed under it. This was the only delicious thing in the cafeteria.

There was an opening in the wall to the left that an inmate would receive their tray of food. This tray was made of the same plastic as the sporks. It was the shape of a rectangle and had five food slots.  We would then proceed down the line a try to pick a clean  spork and a small yellow drink cup. We were then told to find a seat and eat. There is no talking or wasting time. I felt like a monkey in a cage while the rest of the women were staring at me through the windows waiting for their turn to eat. I wrestled with my spork, most food dropping and the tiny tines unable to cling to even a little piece of lettuce. It was awful but even worse was watching the women give up and use their hands.The guards would watch us and yell for us to hurry up and get out. I was embarrassed when I noticed a guard watching me, like they were normal people and I wasn’t. I tried my best to maintain as much dignity as possible while shoveling food into my mouth with my ugly orange spork.

Needless to say, I will never use a spork again.