I saw new guys avoid the showers because of fear, but that never played out well. You can’t stink in prison
Excerpted with permission from “A Day in Prison” by John Fuller. Copyright 2017, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and IndieBound.
There are six showerheads available in the small, white-and-mold tiled room, but no guards. Terror is probably turning your bowels to water as you try to decide if you really need to shower. You’ve seen the movies. But you’ve probably also had the nervous sweats and so you’ll literally smell scared. Keeping the towel wrapped around you until the last possible second, you’re going to turn on the water and probably decide against waiting for it to get hot. Bust out your tiny green bottle of Pert shampoo, rinse under the tepid stream, and get dressed without taking the time to dry off. Try not to look freaked out, though the amused faces and hoots from the room full of naked men will let you know if you were unsuccessful.
Keeping clean in prison is a necessity, not a luxury. You need to wear clean clothes and take showers not just because that’s what you’re used to on the outside, or because it’s an administrative policy, but also to make sure you aren’t offending anyone with your body odor. You’ve got a cell mate and he is going to care if you stink.
I saw new guys avoid the showers because of fear, but that never played out well. During my first year inside, two different men were harassed into leaving the television room because they smelled so offensive. One of them had his head dunked in a used toilet to encourage him to get under the shower spray. If an inmate starts to stink, other inmates have the right to ask the guy to leave the shared spaces, or move into another cell. If he still refuses to take a shower, his fellow inmates may give him a time frame to check into Administrative Segregation (Ad Seg) or suffer the consequences later. If he’s smart, he will take his shower, but if he absolutely refuses, the correctional officers can write a disciplinary sanction or throw him in Ad Seg. And he better hope that happens before the prisoners enforce their threats.
Put simply: Don’t stink. Take a shower.
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