There’s Nothing Like Working in a Prison to Make You Appreciate Hand Washing

We tried sinks like this, it didn't end well.

I’ve always had a secret loathing of those signs in public restrooms that inform employees that they must wash their hands before returning to work. I’m really peeved about the fact that someone somewhere had to pass a law requiring businesses to post a sign telling their employees to wash their hands. Common sense should really come into play any time now.

If you’re someone who needs to be told to wash your hands before leaving a restroom, I have the ideal training program for you. Come to work with me. For just one day, if that’s all the time you have. You will be cured of your disgusting forgetfulness in no time.

Here’s a typical day in the prison:

6am – Wake the inmates for morning exercises. They’re going to perform these exercises in the comfort of those jumpsuits they’ve been wearing 24hours a day for the past three days. Oh yeah, and they’ve been exercising in them for three days now. And eating in them. And sleeping in them. Do your very best to avoid touching any of the jumpsuits, and that includes the ones that have just come out of the giant washing machine. Just in case, and all.

9am – Inmates go to school. They sit in my desks writing with my pens on my paper, sometimes holding my books. They rub their hands on my computer keyboards and hold my Kindles. You see where I’m going with this.

12pm – It’s lunchtime! All the inmates get to come out of their cells—you know, those little rooms with a stainless steel toilet in them—for meal time.

5pm – More exercises! Yippee! Because you didn’t sweat in your one jumpsuit enough this morning, we’re going to let you loose for an hour on the indoor basketball court.

10pm – Lights Out. This is the time of day when the inmates get to rest their heads on their pillow-less rubber mattresses wearing—you guessed it—their jumpsuits. Under a wool blanket that was issued to them a week ago.

In the empty spaces in this highly regimented cruise ship schedule, the staff get to enjoy random tasks like picking lice out of the inmates’ hair or bandaging a bleeding busted knuckle or helping scrub down the residents (and the jumpsuits) from the scabies outbreak.

NOW do I need to remind you to wash your hands? Seriously? Washing my hands is a luxury that I like to indulge in seven or eight times a day, and that’s just during the working hours. No, I don’t have a psychological hand washing problem because days that I don’t go to work I honestly don’t have to wash any more often than the sign hanging in my bathroom at home tells me to.

5 thoughts on “There’s Nothing Like Working in a Prison to Make You Appreciate Hand Washing

  1. Hooray for hand-sanitizer! Maybe someone needs to invent a discreet little sprayer that you put up your sleeve……

  2. EEEWWW. Speaking of passing a law–how about nobody has to wear the same clothes involuntarily for more than 12 hrs. If I had EVER considered a life of crime–I’m over it! Have they invented a shot for cooties???

  3. I work in a womens prison with 70% mental health and brain injured women. I wahs my hands a lot too. Before and after going to the toilet. Love that photo.

  4. I worked in Child Protective Services with perpetually snotty nosed children who often had some kind of strange goo on them. I washed my hands until they were raw and this was in the days before hand sanitizer was on the market. I would have bought that stuff by the case. What I am saying Lorca is that I can relate!



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