Chapter One….A New Challenge
It was my final day of this stage of my career. As I sat in the Governor’s office, I reflected upon the last eight years.
I was the first female to make rank in the state police, and when Maureen McNair had been elected the first female governor of the state, she tapped me to be the head of her personal security detail. In those eight years, I became extremely close to her, and one of her most trusted confidants. I also secretly had the hots for her, though I never acted on it because she was marries and had a family. I had always known Iwas a lebian, but never acted on it, and stayed firmly in the closet.
Now, Maureen had been elected to the US senate, and the rumor was she was being considered as a Vice Presidential hopeful for the Republicans in 2012. I had been offered a position in Washington by her, but I have an ill mother whom I have to look after. But Maureen still took care of me. She made sure her hand-picked successor chose me to run the soon-to-be built Women’s State Prison, and my new title would be Warden Katherine Kelly, Executive of Female Corrections. Not bad for not quite hitting 35 yet.
“Kathy," the Governor said on my exit interview, “I don’t know how I’ll be able to handle Washington without you. But I picked you for this new job because I think you’ll be perfect. Just keep in mind, this is a very conservative state, and the citizens want convicted prisoners to find prison uncomfortable and no place they would ever want to return to…no “Camp Cupcake" for western state female cons. The old prison is condemned and set to close as soon as the new one is finished….it was too small, and after all, was built in 1898. I want you totally supervise the design and construction of the new prison, then take over when the prisoners are transported in. The current warden, Eliza Jones, has agreed to retire then. I know how good you are Kathy, but your appearance can be deceiving…you’re good looking and well spoken. Show these tough convict women how tough YOU can be. You can’t beat them, but short of that, the citizens of this state want control and discipline. And remember, I went way out on a limb for you….don’t let me down!" I assured her I wouldn’t, and hugged as her limo left for her flight to Reagan Airport.
Chapter 2 – The Tour of The Old Prison
As I pulled through the gate in my state car, I looked at the antiquated, single building and fenced in yard. If not for the razor wire on top of the fence and the swarm of women in blue uniforms milling around the yard, I would have sworn it was an old high school building. The sign said “State Reformatory for Women", but I doubted there was much reforming going on in here. In the past year alone, there had been three separate escapes, two of the escaped convicts still at large. I vowed that would NEVER happen on my watch!
After going through a weak security check, ( I snuck in a hacksaw blade in the band of my panties just to see if it could be done) I was escorted to Warden Jones’ office by an inmate who introduced herself as Corrine McManus, Warden Jones inmate assistant. She was striking….tall with beautiful long red hair and a full, beautiful body. She also seemed quite full of herself, especially for a convict. By the time we made it to the office, she had told me she was three years into a ten year sentence for shooting and nearly killing an abusive boyfriend. She said she had it good as a trusty and the warden’s assistant.
When she introduced me to Warden Jones, I was shocked. She was a petite, frail woman of 74 and the certificates on her wall indicated a background of social work. She seemed weak and world-weary. She said she was glad to be retiring, and was happy when I told her I planned to have the new facility up and running within a year.
We talked as she gave me a tour of the prison. I learned there were 630 inmates in the facility designed for 400, serving sentences of as little as six months, all the way up to life, with two women on death row, though she doubted they would ever actually be executed. Her philosophy was rehabilitation, but admitted they had such a small staff that the inmates were just being “warehoused"….wandering the yard all day in two or three person cells at night. No real work programs, schooling or real discipline. There were 40 solitary confinement cells used for violent infractions of rules, but they were usually only about half-filled.
We toured the empty cellblocks and they were all a mess…beds unmade, inappropriate pictures on the wall, clothes strewn about. “In the old days, we had enough staff to make the girls keep them spic and span, but no more." Ms. Jones said. It sounded like a lame excuse to me.
What really shocked me was a tour of the yard. The women were mostly dirty and unkempt, many with long, uncared for hair. They seemed to be hanging in racially segregated groups, with Caucasians and Latinas seeming to be the largest gatherings. Most of the inmates were to be smoking cigarettes, and there seemed to be lots of trading of packs of cigarettes, right in the open.
There was a softball field in one section with bleachers, and under them were several pairs of inmates engaging in sex acts. Warden Jones simply said “Alright ladies, that’s enough of that." And they dispersed. When the inmates left, she shrugged her shoulders and said “It’s a women’s prison….they’re all like that! Tongues interacting with Va-J-J’s and A-holes is a way of life in here. What are you going to do?" We’d just see about that when I took over!
When I’d seen enough, I got in my car and left. As I drove away, I KNEW I would be making a LOT of major changes.
Chapter Three- Designing and Building The New Prison
The funds had been voted on and approved to build the new prison and staff it appropriately 300 officers. It was to hold up to 1500 inmates, and I had devised some innovative ways to come in under budget. There would be a “super-max" section where inmates would be sent for rules infractions that could hold up to 500 inmates in 500 hundred 6’x9’ solitary “hard cells. The inmates sent there would be confined for 23 ½ hours per day, with 30 minutes in a 4’x4’ “outside exercise" area attached behind each cell. The area had 12’ walls and the only thing “outside" about it was the open sky above the walls. Showers would be given for 10 minutes twice weekly, when the convict would be fully shacked. The 10 minutes would come off the exercise time.
The remaining inmates would all be housed in 50 person open dorms, similar to military barracks. It could be run efficiently with less staff that way, and would also help these cons learn to get along better with other human beings.
I decided that inmates would be classified in three groups….medium security, close security and maximum security. Medium security inmates would wear black horizontal prison-striped dresses, close would wear orange striped ones and the max inmates would wear red striped coveralls. Medium and close would be housed in dorms, with tighter security in the close dorms. Of course maximum security inmates would be confined in the super-max building. Classifications were for one year periods, reviewed on the inmate’s prison arrival anniversary
The emphasis of daily prison life for medium and close security inmates would be on work and production, manufacturing goods to help make the prison self-sufficient. I got experts to design metal and wood-working shops, a shoe factory, commercial laundry, sewing shop and of course a factory to make state license plates.
After much thought and legal review, I made hair styles one of the cornerstones of discipline for the prison. Upon arrival, every inmate would be given “prison haircuts", in one of the three styles depending upon their security classification . They would wear one of the three “hairstyles" (or “lack of hair" styles) for the duration on their confinement.
Construction moved right along, and within 6 months it was completed. 50 foot walls with guard towers surrounded the perimeter, and they enclosed the buildings and agriculture fields. One thing I didn’t provide for was an exercise yard…..the activities at the old reformatory taught me that was a bad concept. Exercise would come in the form of work and group calisthenics in the open area of the dorms, or in the case of super-max, the tiny private outside area attached to each cell the inmates would be allowed in for ½ hour per day.
I started to select staff. No one from the old reformatory would be retained, this being a “right-to-work" state. I chose all females, mostly recently discharged military veterans, who could handle themselves. But perhaps my most important hire wasn’t even an employee, but a family friend who volunteered to help me. Shelly Ambrose had just been released after serving four years in the reformatory for a drunk-driving accident that severely injured a passenger in her car. She said she had been severely abused in prison by other inmates,wanted to see the system changed, and agreed with my ideas. She had been sexually assaulted almost daily in prison, and would have much preferred to serve her sentence under my idea of control and discipline.
She told me the “queen bee" was none other than Corrine McManus, Ms. Jones’ assistant. She ran a lucrative drug and black market merchandise trade between the convicts inside with the help of recently released inmates, and would leave prison a wealthy woman. Currency was cigarettes. She explained the gang situation, segregated between white, black and Latina inmates, with violent fights erupting daily on the yard. Our daily chats gave me knowledge that would be invaluable in running the new State Prison for Women.
She told me McManus’s lover and business partner was Bettina Johanssen, an art burglar. McManus and Johanssen were ruthless businesswomen and predatory rapists, and to Shelly, the two biggest problem inmates in the prison.
I knew I would have to put them in their places quickly when I assumed control.
Chapter Four- The “Discipline and Control" Concept
After tremendous research and networking, the plan was completed and the prisoners of the reformatory were awaiting transport by bus the 45 miles to the new State Prison For Women.
I ultimately decided that the classification system would operate on a “3 strike" program. Shelly helped me a lot in the development, and also with the initial classification process.
First time, non-violent offenders would be the only inmates eligible for medium security. They would be eligible for standard prison haircuts. Shelly, very familiar with the way inmates spoke, nicknamed them “The Bad Girls Bob". I called them “Standard". This would be a haircut administered by another inmate in the prison “salon" and the hair would be cut so it was off the neck and a maximum of 4" long at any spot on the head.
Medium security inmates would be given the preferred prison jobs such as secretarial, mess hall or dorm maintenance. We estimated at any one time approximately 30-40% of the female inmates would be in this category.
Close security was reserved for inmates with one or two “strikes". A strike was awarded for the following:
- conviction of any crime of violence, which counted for one strike that would remain on their classification record for at least five years or until their term was up.
- A recidivist, or inmate who had been sent to prison more than once, with each new sentence being a strike.
- A guilty finding of violent infraction of a prison rule or regulation.
- Two guilty findings of non-violent infractions of a prison rule or regulation. A “½ strike “was awarded for each occurrence.
The prison haircut for close security inmates would be the hair removed from the scalp as close as possible with electrics clippers, and allowed to grow no more than ¼" in length before it was clipped off again. The haircut would be administered by a guard. Shelly called it a “Big House Buzz-cut" or a “Convict Crew-cut."
Close security inmates would be assigned to more physical, menial and tedious work in positions in the fields or factories, and would work 10-12 hours daily, depending on their assignment.
Maximum security was reserved for inmates who had accumulated three strikes. They would spend their miserable existence locked in the solitary cells 23 ½ hours daily, with no interaction with anyone except the guards in charge of them. As for work, they would have to use an elliptical exercise machine 12 hours daily in their cells, 50 minutes per hour with a 10 minute break. The kinetic energy y\generated by pedaling the machines would be converted to electricity to help power the prison….something I was quite proud of!
Maximum security inmates would have their heads shaved totally bald…first with electric clippers then finished with a straight razor. A lotion would then be rubbed on the inmate’s head to retard hair growth, and the procedure would be repeated every other week. Shelly called it a “Con Kojak" or “The Slammer Smoothie" and really seemed to be turned on by the thought of it all.
Maximum and close security inmates would have their status reviewed yearly. I knew that almost every prisoner’s goal would be to make it to medium security that way.
Another major problem with the old reformatory I eliminated was the black market and illegal drug trade. The first thing I did was eliminate smoking and tobacco in all forms, thus removing the currency of cigarettes presently used.
Then I eliminated the prison commissary. The state would provide the necessities of life to inmates…they didn’t need to buy anything, and no comforts of outside food or anything else would be available.
Finally, with my political connections, I had the legislature push through a law against any guard, visitor or any non inmate conveying drugs into a prison, with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of ten years. That would stop or curtail anyone thinking about smuggling in narcotics!
Shelly’s help had been invaluable in me setting the prison system up, and being an ex-con, her job prospects were very limited. So she was my final staff hire. I hade her head prison disciplinary barber….she would personally head-shave the maximum security inmates, and supervise the haircuts of the close security inmates, as well as oversee the prison salon for the medium security cons. She was thrilled to say the least, especially at the prospect of getting back at some of the same women who abused her!
I had sent my rules for the new State Prison For Women over to the reformatory, and had them distributed to the inmates. There were lots of rumblings from them, but I had the National Guard standing by to help make the transition go smoothly. I made the call to start the transfer.
Part Two –“This New Prison Sucks!"
Chapter One – We Make The Move
My name is Bettina Johannsen, but my friends call me “Bett" (like Bette Midler). I was born in Sweden, but my parents moved here when I was 3. The state calls me “Johannsen, B-Inmate #872431". I’m two years into a five year bit in the Women’s Reformatory for Burglary. I’m an art thief, and am here because my boyfriend, who was also my fence, ratted me out for stealing an original M.C Escher lithograph to save his own ass!
I’m 24, tall (5’10), weigh 150 lbs, have long blonde hair, and definitely one of the hottest cons in here. Things aren’t too bad. My girlfriend is Corrine McManus, who pretty much runs things in here. I help her. We’re both trustees….her for the Warden and me for the Commissary manager. As prisons go, we have it good. We’re both making good money and no one dare screw with us. We really enjoy each other during our “alone time", but we also make weaker cons do disgusting things of a sexual nature to us. You get the picture. I’m not really proud of that, but it beats me being the one being raed.
I can definitely see me and Cory staying together once we’re both out.
We were in our cell, having some fun with each other with some of our favorite “toys". I was just about to get off when Gina Marshall came to our door. She was a guard, and one of our main suppliers of drugs for resale in here
“Miss McManus, Miss Johannsen" she said, showing us the respect deserved of someone making her rich, “I’m afraid we’re screwed royally. The new prison is ready to open soon. That bitch new warden Katherine Kelly has canned all the current staff, including me! It looks like we’re out of business. Here’s a copy of the new rule book…trust me, you won’t like it!"
I sat numb as I read the new rules. Discipline and control were stressed over and over….something there sure wasn’t much of here. Hard labor….no smoking….no commissary…..striped uni’s….and those prison haircuts!
Poor Cory was going to be stuck in max for at least five years! She was in on a violent rap, and had lots of violent write-ups before she made trusty. I should be eligible for medium though…a non-violent offense and only one write-up for a minor spat with wmy rat boyfriend when the bastard had the nerve to come visit me once. Nothing violent, and I had to do three days only in the hole. That was my ONLY ticket in here.
The girls thought about rioting, but the new guards and a bunch of National Guardsmen arrived, and that squashed any thought of that! The next day, we were all chained at the ankles, waist and wrists in full transport chains, and loaded onto armored busses by the new guards and Guardsmen.
As we were waiting in the bus line, I saw something that shocked me. Shelly Ambrose was in the uniform of a new guard! She was a con who had just gotten out about six months ago, and Cory and I used to have a lot of sexual fun with her.
As we were standing there fully shackled, she just walked up with an evil smile and started running her fingers through our hair. Then she snapped “Get your asses that bus, you rapist bitches!
Chapter 2 – The New Regime Begins
We rode the hour on the bus to the new prison, trussed up like turkeys….uncomfortable and hardly able to move! When we got there, all 630 of us were marched out onto a field. A small stage was set up, and there was a tall, well-builtwoman up there. She looked familiar to me, but I couldn’t quite place her.
The she spoke into the microphone and said. “Welcome to your new home, State Prison for Women or SPW. My name is Warden Katherine Kelly, but the only way permissible way for you to address me is “ma’am". She barked.
“Unlike your previous Warden, I believe that you are here to be punished, not rehabilitated. The majority of the citizens agree with me, therefore, I will INSURE every one of you is punished each and every minute pof every day that you’re confined here!" she snapped. What a bitch!
Then it hit me. Katherine Kelly was the same woman who spoke at my sentencing hearing. She was a member of the board of directors of the museum I hit, and made a strong statement to the judge that I deserved the maximum sentence…7 years. The judge only gave me five. I hoped Kelly didn’t remember me.
The crazy bitch droned on for two hours solid, telling us every one of her screwed-up rules. Then they sent 500 of us to the maximum security cells to wait for our classification hearing. The rest went to the large intake dorm. I was so tired of hearing the bitch talk, I was glad to go to a cell, even if it was a tiny solitary hard cell!
Hearings were held the rest of the day and next morning. Then, we were all chained up and assembled again to hear what the Warden had decided.
She had personally interviewed and classified 100 inmates, and now she would announce the classification to all of us, then proceed with assigning them, giving them new uniforms, and witnessing their haircuts….all in front of everyone!
The first 3 were all short-term drug offenders, and were given medium security status. After having them strip and cavity searched…right in front of everyone…they were given black-striped, short prison dresses to wear….they looked like something out of those women-in-prison flicks from the seventies, but were striped instead of blue. Their number was stenciled on the front, and a large “SPW" was stenciled on the back.
The “beauty salon" was set up to the left, and three inmates who were hairdressers on the outside gave them their “regular prison haircuts"….not too bad, but short as hell!
The fourth con called to the stage was my lover, soul mate and business partner Cory. With her record, she was pretty much guaranteed max status….but that wasn’t going to make it any easier in seeing her lose that gorgeous red mane of hers!
The warden treated her the same as the first three, even though Cory was the undisputed “queen of the cons" in here. “Inmate #86149- McManus, C, having been convicted of a tier one offense of violence, and having accumulated a total of 6 strikes for violation of prison rules, you are hereby committed to the maximum security unit at hard labor, with no re-classification eligibility for five years. Guards, commence the procedure!"
Poor Cory! Her chains were removed and she was stripped and all of her holes were probed right in front of everyone. It hurt me to see our leader and my girlfriend totally humiliated like that! Then they gave her the ugly red striped coveralls…with no underwear…to put on.
Finally, it was time for her head-shaving. The guards pushed her toward a heavy “restraint chair" on the stage. Cory resisted for a minute, but it was useless. The shoved her in the chair, then fastened the straps to hold her ankles, waist and wrists to the chair. Then a wooden yoke was fastened to her neck to keep her head from moving.
That bitch Shelly Ambrose then stepped up…a few months ago she was in a prison dress just like us, and now she’s wearing a fancy guard’s uniform. She roughly brushed Cory’s long hair out one more time, the gathered it in a long pony tail and put a rubber band around it. “Some poor girl who has lost her hair to cancer will have a new wig." She snapped, as she cut off the pony tail and placed it in a bag.
Then she picked up the clippers. A big set of black Wahl ones. She turned it on, and the buzz was loud and annoying. She quickly ran the clippers over my Cory’s head, and what remained of her beautiful red hair fell to the floor. She tried to look tough, hard and stoic in the chair, but I could tell she was upset. Hell, tears ran down my cheeks as Ambrose clipped her!
Then Ambrose rubbed shaving cream all over the stubble on Cory’s head, and stropped her straight razor on the heavy, massive leather strap hanging from the restraint chair. Ambrose whispered something in Cory’s ear, which made her face turn to a look of sheer terror! Then Ambrose methodically shaved her scalp totally bald. Tears were visible now on Cory’s face, but they were washed away when Ambrose poured a bucket of water on her head to rinse away the shaving cream.
Finally, Ambrose rubbed a lotion on Cory’s head, which made her howl. Apparently it really stung or burned! “This is a growth retardant so I don’t have to fool with head-shaving this foul bitch any more than I have to!" Ambrose barked.
Then the guards let Cory out of the chair and chained her back up. “Take a good luck at your “leader" now, convicts….because none of you will see her again for at least five years. Take her to max!" Kelly said sternly.
I could hardly stand it, seeing my broken and bald baby being led away in shackles! I was sure glad I was eligible for medium security when they got to me!
The Next 96
I stood there, watching with rest of the cons, while the Warden classified the next 96 inmates. After a while, I just got numb, watching girls searched, put in to ugly uniforms, then get their hair cut very short, clipped to the scalp or shaved bald.
Of all the haircuts, it seemed to me that the close security clip job, or “big house buzz-cut" was the ugliest. At least getting totally shaved bald could leave a girl looking halfway sexy if she had a nicely-shaped head. The buzz-cut made you look totally ugly! It was so rough looking.
Lots of the cons actually cried when they were getting their prison haircuts. I never realized most of these inmates even cared about how they looked in here, but it was obvious they did.
Two women’s haircuts that everyone paid attention to were Luz Aguilar and Pilar Ortiz. Luz was the head of the “Reinas Latina" gang, and all the Latinas were very loyal to her. She was a lifer in her late 30’s, very hot, with super long raven-colored hair. A lot of the cons called her “Gloria", because she looked a lot like the Colombian chick on “Modern Family".
Just like Cory, Luz got sent to max for a minimum of five years. When Ambrose shaved her head, Luz swore loudly in Spanish the whole time. She looked great with hair, but her head was shaped kind of funny, and she was a long way from a “bald beauty."
Pilar was to Luz like I was the Cory….prison girlfriend and soul mate. She was only 23 and in for 6 years for armed robbery. We called her “Girlfight" because she looked a lot like Michelle Rodriguez did in that movie….tough and mean! Warden Kelly gave her close security because of her crime and one fight in the yard…2 strikes. She assigned her to the license plate factory….considered the worst factory job because the guards told us it was very hot in there, and tedious work.
When Ambrose cut Pilar’s hair, Pilar just scowled….she was tough, and in her buzz cut, she looked even tougher. She flipped the bird to Warden Kelly as she was taken to the license plate factory, and immediately got a write-up and ½ strike.
When number 100 was done, they took us back to max to wait for the next day.
About 9:00 in the morning, two guards came to my cell and took me to the that bitch Kelley’s office. The time for my hearing had come.
“Well, Inmate Johannsen," Kelly said as I was escorted in chains into her office. “remember me? Your theft of that priceless lithograph was inexcusable…you should have definitely gotten more time."
I just glared at her. “Stand at attention when you’re in my presence!" she snapped." Let’s get down to business. That fight with you boyfriend in the visiting room….one strike!"
“The bastard ratted me out. Plus it wasn’t even violent!" I protested.
“You through the Coke you were drinking in his face. The ice could have blinded him girl! ½ strike more for questioning me!" She said….how chicken-shit! There went my medium security status, and a chance for a decent job and haircut!
“C.O. Ambrose told me what you and inmate McManus did to her when she was an inmate here! If you did that in society, you could get a life sentence! In here….Strike 2 ½ !" Kelly said. Damn, I thought Shelly would be too embarrassed to talk about that!
“Inmate #872431, Johannsen, B, for accumulating 2 ½ strikes, you are hereby classified as close security status . Your work assignment shall be hard labor in the license plate factory for a 12-hour period each day, and you shall be housed in “X dorm", the most restrictive housing here short of maximum security . Said classification and assignment shall be for a minimum of one full year….but probably longer. Take her away!"
I was taken to the shower in maximum security, where the cons who had already had their hearing that day were being held too. They made us take a shower and wash our hair. Then, for “hygienic reasons" the guard shaved my “venus mound" as Cory used to call it…Cory loved me “natural".
Then we were marched out to the big stage in front of all the assembled cons. It was time for the big production of our prison haircuts. First up was Julie Bauer, a lifer who killed her husband and had been down for 11 years already. Even with that, she was real sweetheart everybody here liked. Her crime, and refusal to take crap from the guards over the years had earned her max. She sat stoically, fastened in the restraint chair as Ambrose shaved her bald, then just waved goodbye to the rest of the cons as she was dragged away to max.
Next up was Desiree Johnson, a hooker doing a year for possession of cocaine. She got medium status, and chatted with the inmate giving her a “normal prison haircut" like it was no big deal .
Fourteen more cons got called up before me…one max, five close and eight medium security. Then my number and name was called. My knees were weak as I walked up the steps to the platform.
I listened as bitch Kelly read my sentence. Then I was taken to the side, my chains and blue prison uniform were removed, and I was made to bend over. A fat guard we called “Overweight Kate" roughly shoved her fingers up my a-hole and vagina and probed me very roughly. She went so deep I thought she was digging for oil!
I was given my some “granny scant" type panties and a lightweight sport bra…both with my prison number stenciled on them in large black letters… to put on. A short prison dress with broad orange and white horizontal stripes was handed to me, and I put it on too. My old blue prison uniform looked like Vera Wang threads compared to these rags!
Then the guards pushed me roughly into the restraint chair, and strapped my ankles, waist and wrists down tightly. I could only move my head, and that ended when they locked the “wooden neck yoke" on me. It was kind of like a Colonial-times pillory, but horizontal, with only one hole to hold your neck in place.
Then Shelly Ambrose stepped toward me with a heavy hairbrush in her hand. “If it were up to me, Bett, I’d be “cue-balling" you right now. But we’ll get close enough!" She said as she roughly brushed out my cascading blonde locks. She then gathered it in her hand to make a long pony tail and put a rubber band on each end. “Congratulation, Bett" she said derisively. “Yours will be the biggest single donation from an inmate to the “Wigs for Kids program!" as she picked up the shears and snipped off my long ponytail.
Next, she took the shears and cut the rest of the hair on my scalp to about an inch long….all of which I could plainly see in the mirror in front of me!
“Oh, by the way, sometime over the next several months" she whispered to me, “I’m going to have a private little meeting with you and Cory during one of your monthly “counseling sessions." She lifted the end of the massive razor strap hanging from the chair and said “Your bare behind and “Black Mariah" here are going to become well-acquainted….a little private “payback with old school prison justice session." I shuddered, because I knew she was crazy enough to do it and would hurt like hell. And she could get away with it!
Finally, she picked up the large black Wahl hair clippers, and turned them on. They were very loud…at least twice as loud as normal clippers. I noticed there was a large washer screwed to the body of the clippers over the motor that vibrated and amplified the noise considerably….obviously for psychological affect. It worked.
She moved the clippers close to my head, and I was deafened by the loud noise…"BBBBBBUUUUUUUUUZZZZZZZZZZZZ"
I felt the cold steel being roughly dragged across me scalp, and felt the last remnants of my crowning glory…..my beautiful blonde hair…..fall on my shoulders, then to the floor.
I looked out to the audience of other cons, and saw some of the very women Cory and I used to abuse and rip off in black market prison deals smiling, smirking and/or snickering. I was so full of emotion….I had never experienced such rage in my life, being strapped in a chair with my neck restrained, unable to move….and being sheared like a prized sheep! At the same time, I never felt so humiliated and embarrassed in my life.
Then I glanced in the mirror. I might as well had been shaved totally bald. With my light hair, and Ambrose clipping me right to the scalp, I could barely make out a stubble! I never felt so UGLY in my life either!
I was unrestrained from the chair, brushed off with a whisk broom, and ordered to stand up. Two guards quickly locked me back up in transport chains.
“Guards, escort our Swedish glamour queen to the License Plate factory! She will gain invaluable work experience there!" Kelly barked.
Daily Prison Life
With a strike count of 2 ½, they gave me the worse job in the plate factory. The work in was horrendous. Unbearably hot, with heavy, repetitive, exhausting labor, tremendously tedious to the point of being mind numbing. I was a “press girl." You placed the proper letters and numbers in the die, placed a blank plate in, then had to manually pull the press up and drop it to make the imprint on the plate. It would then go to the next station for hand-painting, a much more desirable job.
Fifty “problem" inmates, ½ strike away from max were assigned as press girls for 12 hours a day. Another 75 inmates with only 1 or 1 ½ strikes were assigned as plate painters for 10 hours daily.
Pilar “Girlfight" Ortiz was assigned to the station across from me, and also slept in the bunk below me in X dorm. It was horrible every minute of every day, but we did the only thing we could…..keep our noses clean to stay out of max.
In X dorm our day started an hour earlier than the rest of the cons, at 4 am, when the bell sounded. We had to put on ugly orange-stripped prison “exercise uniforms" (sweat pants and sweat shirts) and had to do an hour of intense calisthenics led by a female guard who was a former Marine drill instructor.
Then it was breakfast in the “mess room" attached to our dorm. We had 15 minutes to eat in silence, and the food was always the same…whole wheat hot cereal we called “gruel" (pretty nasty stuff), a piece of dried, or very occasionally fresh fruit and a 6 oz glass of milk.
It was off to our hellacious day in the plate factory at 5:30. We worked for six straight hours, then got a 10 minute lunch break. Since we press girls were ½ strike away from max, we had to eat the same thing for lunch the max inmates had to eat for three meals a day. It was a hard baked loaf of homogenized meat, potatoes and peas called “Nutra-loaf," and a 12 oz cup of water.
Then back to our presses until 6:30 pm, when we went back to X dorm for a lean and healthful, but almost tasteless meal of beef, pork, mutton or chicken (raised at the prison), plain rice or mashed potatoes, and canned peas or fresh vegetables in season, with another glass of milk.
Mail call was after dinner…perhaps our only privilege besides visiting day one Sunday per month. We then had one hour to write letters and talk to other inmates…the only time talking was permitted all day…then we took a shower before lights out at 9 pm.
As bad as our daily life was, it was pale compared to the girls in max. Locked in their tiny cells with nothing, eating only Nutra-loaf and water, and having to ride those damned elliptical machines all day to generate electricity had to be totally unbearable. A camera was in each cell aimed at the ellipticals, and the feed was shown on monitors throughout the prison, randomly scanning between cells. Whhen I saw Cory, she was barely recognizable….thin and looking totally broken.
Twice a month we had to get our buzz-cuts repeated…they were done in the dorm by our guards, with the same loud clippers. Quite annoying! They sat us in regular chairs, but if you resisted, they had a restraint chair handy, and it cost you ½ strike if they had to use it!
Once a month, we met with our “counselor" for fifteen minutes. She was a special guard and particularly nasty bitch hired by Kelly to go over our work reports and classification status with us. I still had 2 ½ strikes so far, but was managing to get satisfactory work and dorm behavior reports.
As bad as the food, exercise and work routines were, they did accomplish something. The hard work and nasty but highly nutritious food and not being able to smoke or do drugs for the first time in years had put me in the best physical shape of my life. When the prison nurse checked me and weighed me last week, I was down to 135, and there wasn’t an ounce of fat on me anywhere there shouldn’t be.
I missed Cory like hell, but started lusting for Pilar. She was strong and rough, but beautiful in her own way. During our evening time, we talked about our lives, and her rough childhood in Nicaragua. She taught me speak Spanish and I helped her learn to write and read English better. Of course, with the tight security around here, we couldn’t even get away with “self-satisfaction" let alone anything physical with another con!
My life totally sucks now. Suicide has crossed my mind more than once while sweating in the plate factory. I could stick my head in the plate press and my misery would end.
Epilogue 1 –Two Years Later in the Life of Inmate #872431, Johannsen, B
The past two years have been…interesting. Nothing much has really changed in my life. I’m still a nearly bald con, taking orders doing hard labor. But at the same time, a LOT has changed. I have a new outlook on life, and as much as I hate to admit it, THIS hellhole known as State Prison for Women is responsible.
I’ve really been keeping my nose clean. In my last reclassification hearing, Miss Kelly took away 1 strike, and I was assigned to the laundry. Pilar lost ½ strike and was assigned to the laundry too. Now, instead of really busting our humps in a steaming factory making license plates, we were busting our humps in a steaming laundry.
We were also assigned to a new dorm, but it’s just as restrictive. I’ve become an ace at Spanish at least.
As for the “old school prison justice session" Miss Ambrose promised me, it happened. I’m not going to dwell on it, other than to say the 20 smacks she laid on my bare behind with “Black Mariah", her razor strap, hurt worse than anything I’ve ever experienced. I had to sleep on my belly for a month. I still have bad dreams about being held across her desk by two guards while she beat me. I was told Cory got it too, but not at the time I did. I thought about reporting it, but who would believe me or do anything about it?
Once I got over my suicidal thoughts and realized I had to try to make the best I could of the situation, things were a little easier to bear. I live one day at a time, look forward to being free, and hope I can put this miserable experience behind me. Whatever happens in my life though, I KNOW I’ll never be able to forget my five years here
The most important change is in my own attitude. I realize I did many bad things that put me here….and I NEVER want to do anything again that would put me back in here! SPW is NO JOKE, and I learned that the hard way.
One good thing that happened is a cute guy from high school that had the hots for me named Jason looked me up and started writing to me. He was a jock in high school, and I was too much of a “bad girl" to be bothered with him then. But, it turns out he’s really nice, and we like each other a lot. He’s come to visit me 6 times now, and even though the visit is through plexi-glass, I really enjoy it when he comes. He even thinks my horrible prison buzz-cut is sexy!
Poor Cory is still slaving away in max. I catch her image on a monitor now and then, and she looks like an emaciated 60 year old bald women. I can’t imagine her ever getting over what they’ve done to her!
What will become of me when I finish my sentence next year? Hard to say. Jason wants me to live with him, and has offered to marry me. It might work, though I’m definitely attracted to some women as much as I am to him. Even though Pilar and I have never done anything, my own lust tells me will someday when we both hit the bricks. Surprisingly, I told Jason about that and he’s OK with it…..as long as there’s no other men in my life. He has his own body shop, and says he’ll hire me to do the books. I think I could be good at it.
I believe I am through with crime, though I’m good at it. One thing is for sure though….if things with Jason don’t work out and I have to go back to stealing art to make ends meet, I’m sure as hell going to move out of state first! I through with SPW!!
I really don’t miss my old life that much, other than the sex, and I think Jason and eventually Pilar can handle that for me. Not an hour goes by I wish I didn’t have a cigarette, and I’ll probably start smoking again. I’m through with drugs though, and never drank that much. I told Jason I’ll probably smoke, and he’s not thrilled with it, but said OK. He’ll keep me on the right path otherwise I think.
I told him I’ll try to make it work with him and I will. But we’re going to send our laundry out! I’ll never do laundry, or wear anything with stripes again. And, he says hecan’t wait to run his fingers through my short prison haircut stubble. He’d better enjoy it while he can when I first get out though, because when I hit free side, I may never cut it again!
I hate to admit it, but this place has made me a much better woman….and my ugly horrible prison buzz-cut played a huge part in that!
Epilogue 2 –Two Years Later in the Life of Warden Katherine Kelly
What started out as an experiment in corrections has exceeded even my wildest expectations. Since the new prison opened two years ago, 120 women have completed their sentences and been released. I am extremely proud to report that we had a 0% return rate. That’s right, absolutely no recidivism!! I guess my theory was right…no woman in their right mind who served time here would ever want to return! The fact that no one returned even on a parole violation is particularly impressive.
Just bas impressive, is fewer and fewer women are being committed here. The old reformatory averaged 300 new inmates a year. We average 91, mostly crimes of passion like murder. The word apparently has gotten out. Sell drugs, commit robberies, burglaries and thefts if you will, but NOT in this state!
Thirteen other states are currently studying dropping their current women’s penal system and switching to my “Discipline and Control" concept. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I have twice earned the award of “Warden of the Year" by the National Prison Administrators Society.
As for my personal life, it couldn’t be better. Shelly and I are in a committed relationship, even though in this ultra-conservative state, we keep it very low-key. She sees a therapist regularly to help her deal with the prison rapes she experienced at the hands of McManus and Johanssen….we are both so glad those days are gone forever in this state.
Shelly has been promoted, and is now my second in command at the prison. She no longer is the disciplinary barber on a regular basis. She enjoys it so much though, she occasionally still shaves the head of a maximum security inmate to “stay in practice." I tease her because she insists in staying in practice only on the best-looking of the max-girls!
What is the one thing I most attribute my success too? It has to be the haircuts. Despite all the tough correction, discipline and control we infuse into our inmate’s criminal lives, it all starts with the haircut. Be at a “Bad Girl’s Bob", “Big House Buzz-cut" or a “Con Kojak", from the moment we give it to them, they know they are no longer in charge of anything. They know they have lost control of their lives to us, the prison staff.
We can only pray our success continues until the day comes a place like SPW no longer needs to exist!
The End (for now)
About the Author-The Bad Girl Barber loves to write stories about women (No one under 18 please) getting haircuts (usually involuntary) in a variety of situations.. Please rate this story. I’d love to have you feedback. Please send any comments, criticism, ideas, or suggestions for stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
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