My father told me never to shit where I eat. I can’t take the advice in here because I live in a bathroom. It happens to include a bunk bed for the bathroom’s two inhabitants but it is a 9 x 12 foot bathroom with a counter where I eat, prepare snacks, write, fold clothes and sometimes read if I haven’t finished the article on the throne.
I once refused to poop in public bathrooms like those in restaurants, stores and rest areas. The stalls never afford enough privacy and the sounds and smells always travel. It was an expensive practice, burning gas to drive home every time I had one in the chamber, but it was my routine nonetheless. I haven’t been home in five years so I broke the habit.
The habit would have broken itself when I saw the prison cells. If my cellmate and I are locked in together, I poop exactly one yard away from her. Sometimes the honesty and the intimacy prove to be too much so I try to save up big discharges for times when my cellmate is out, but Nature times herself and I end up defecating a few feet away from another woman while I eat a slice of humble pie. Then we switch places.
If crapping right in someone’s face were not embarrassing enough, a window in every cell door allows the guards to see us on the bowl. Safety and security, the catch-all excuse for any violation of prisoner rights, allows them to see in to see that we are alive, not fighting, un-escaped and possibly mid-turd. I once heard a guard open a squatting woman’s cell door, throw clear garbage bags into her room – the accepted inmate suitcase because no one can hide anything in them as they tote their belongings during a facility move – and tell her “You’re moving Rodriguez. Push the other half out when you get to One South.”
Every time I need to poop, I go to the door and look to see if either guard’s tour of the unit is impending. If I see him coming, I pinch it until he’s gone. I would rather suffer abdominal pain than endure the humiliation that I did when I was sitting on the toilet as one of the guards whom I respect circuited my tier.
“Mr. Wall, I’m on the toilet. Can you stay away from the door?” I should have been embarrassed just by being caught hanging a rat but instead my extreme vanity took over. Does this toilet make my ass look fat? I wondered because that was a vision of myself I hadn’t experienced yet; we have only 4 x 5 inch mirrors and a reflection of the toilet – and my ass – could never fit in those tiny rectangles.
“Bozelko, I have worked here for sixteen years. Do you know how many cheeks I’ve seen on toilet seats?” he shouted from down the hall.
“I’m sure it’s a high number sir, but I’d like to keep it reduced by two,” I called out from my porcelain perch. He walked past my window anyway and, although he never told me, he could see if the toilet made my ass look fat. Eventually I got over it and apparently, he did too.
Another time, when my cell held up the far end of the hallway and it was futile to look out my door’s window to catch an upcoming tourist guard, an officer who was delivering mail backed into my room while speaking to another inmate. I was peeing, mid-stream, when he walked fully into my cell, a big no-no. He should have turned and left when he realized that he had walked in on me in flagrante but instead he froze, staring at me as if he never knew that women in the facility pissed occasionally. The freeze lasted a few seconds too long.
“Dolenz… you need to leave,” I had to remind him. I had already bunched my toilet paper and was poised to go in for the wipe. He could have placed the mail on the bed or even kept it with him until another delivery round but instead he dropped the stack of mail directly on the floor where he stood. He seemed almost angry, as if it were my fault that I expel liquid waste.
Usually the C/O’s get pissed about catching women on the commode only when they believe that the inmate is purposefully exposing herself to him. For the most part, the open-toilet policy forces the guards to treat poop as what it is: an inescapable part of incarceration, the true-life version of getting the shitty end of the stick.
Some low-lying wall that exposed her face and torso yet blocked an inmate’s lower half when she sits on the toilet would not so disrupt the order of the facility that we shouldn’t have them in all of our cells. It’s true that people and things hide easily behind barricades, but the prison allows little partitions to protect the new admissions to the prison in their cells in the inpatient medical unit. If little dividers work safely in these rooms, then they shouldn’t be dangerous in other cells. I guess that, because new admissions to prison are famous for the incessant puking and diarrhea associated with heroin withdrawal, the guards probably petitioned for the walls in that housing unit to censor the more grizzly scenes.
I assume that the guards think that the rest of us don’t need the walls because once a prisoner has been here for a year, she develops a routine that limits her exposure time in her lavatory and her exposure time to him. Of course, a few depraved guards are known to like to catch the inmates on the bowl, but those degenerates are rare as well as well-marked; inmates warn each other when one of them works in our housing units.
Humiliation seems to account for an unreasonable proportion of rehabilitation in here. Remedies for the ill-behaved must include humility, for sure, but not necessarily degradation, which is what public pooping is for me. Surely, the male guards know that even women who want to become ladies take an occasional shit.
The open squat policy is bad because so many women in this facility struggle with boundaries. Some, like me, want walls all the way around them; we never feel safe unless ramparts surround us. Others have no shame and no control on how much they expose; they flash the guards, detail gynecological issues to strangers and expect other inmates to feel equally comfortable when they prance around naked or hug them from behind, by surprise. Every time the facility erases yet another border around acceptable behavior, the exhibitionsts’ confusion only grows and the inhibited inmates like me end up feeling violated.
“Bunkie, you see this thing here? It got a white head? The nurse say that means it a herpes,” one cellmate asked me as she was defecating, pulling up her shirt and asking me to perform clinical analysis of her front end.
“Not…put it away. Put it away! I’m not looking or answering that question,” I yelled and stared at the wall near my bed.
“Yo, I can’t put nothin’ away when I be shittin’, ya know,” she said as she wiped.
I couldn’t argue with her. No one can put her ass away when her ass gets put away. Without washing her hands, she proceeded to write to the nurse who had given her instructions to look for herpetic heads of white. When I got off the top bunk I couldn’t help but watch her do that, too: “Der Miss, I think I have hairpies…” And unfortunately, the open toilet policy allowed each of us to know that the other one had a hairpie from lack of shaving. At least my hairpie had no herpes.
Preparing inmates for re-entry into society involves more than just job training; it should teach prisoners how to live functionally on the outside which includes an understanding of boundaries, social limits. Part of any transgressor’s psyche is that no limits exist for her; it was her disregard for limits that reeled her into prison. Some boundaries fade by necessity when 1,100 women with behavior problems (at least alleged behavior problems) live within an area smaller than a tiny strip-mall. But after the penal experience erases certain borders in the name of safety and security, discharging inmates need to know how to redraw those lines. In short, rehabilitation should teach prisoners to minimize the chaos in their lives, not immortalize it. Thus shitting-in-front-of-everyone should keeps chaos alive.
At least in my opinion, women run straight into dysfunction when they are released, not because of their convictions, but because they are unable to discern their edges from others’. They make mistakes like sharing too much personal information with coworkers, asking strangers to inspect their genitals or sleeping with their bosses and the relationship’s rockiness shakes their workplaces. Because of the lack of boundaries, they lose their jobs when employment is a condition of their release; being fired costs them their freedom. They then return to prison and explain why the halfway house staff remanded them back to York while they stare at me when I move my bowels. This scene has replayed itself so many times in the last five years that I have lost track of all the audiences to my pooping.
Formal toilet-blocking walls might be too much of an investment in this prison since I seem to be one of few who are bothered by public poop. But an etiquette class might help, a little assistance in handling the most chastening scenes of our lives with some class. But no one in here gives a shit to start such a program. “Parenting Skills…” they say, “is what you should enroll yourself in…or Anger Management.” Maybe I will sign up those classes so I don’t have a shit fit when one of the guards passes by my cell, that place where I eat, and finally tells me: “Yeah, Bozelko, that toilet does make your ass look fat.” I know one of them will say it eventually.
FROM RADARONLINE.COM: Teresa Giudice reportedly sits on the toilet seats in Danbury FCI. Other inmates are flabbergasted at this. Are you?
Is it really that shocking or important that a Real Housewife sat on the toilet seat in prison?
- I don't really give a shit what she did. Those women in prison are some bored, catty bitches if they actually watched Teresa on the toilet and talked about it. (100%, 3 Votes)
- No, of course not. Because she took care of her own house she expects that women already in prison clean the big house. Shame on them for leaving the toilets dirty at all. (0%, 0 Votes)
- Yes. I would expect her to shkeev everything in there or at least act like she did. (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 3