One of the most famous saying for anyone going to prison is, ‘Don’t drop the soap’. Most people think that the showers in jail are large community showers where CO’s and other inmates intimately watch over you. However, I found that to be untrue at Herlong Federal Prison Camp.
I admit, I was surprised when I first saw them. They are semi-private shower rooms. It was nothing like what we see on TV or even in this picture. At Herlong FPC, there was a room with twelve showers. The room was divided in half and the showers were on each side of the room. There was a door that covered most of you body that would shield you from peeking eyes. The door was about one to one and a half feet from the floor and the length of the door didn’t cover your head. This allowed inmates that were directly across from you to only see your face. Some inmates preferred more privacy and would use a towel to hide behind. This is a violation of the rules. The CO’s job is to be able to look into the stall at any time he may need to. This type of rule breaking may get you disciplinary action or what we called a ‘shot’.
Showering with others is uncomfortable as it is, so most inmates just showered facing the nozzle which was opposite of the door. The only reason dropping the soap would be a concern would be because people are nasty, so I would never want to pick up anything that fell on the ground there, especially my bar of soap. Inmates used them as toilets and would pee in the shower. They would also use the privacy to masturbate. It’s best that you bring shower shoes or some type of waterproof sandal when showering.
Another thing that is different is you get to decide when to shower. It’s always best to shower when everyone is sleeping or when most people are at work. There is usually a line in the morning around 8:00 am or 9:00 am. There is also a line when everyone is coming from the barracks, which is around 2:45 pm. Another good time to take a shower is when everyone is in the food line. I usually took my shower when I came back from work or from working out. I took a second shower around 8:30 pm after I returned from the library so that I didn’t have to wait in line the next morning.
Showering in prison isn’t as scary as you would think. Remember, TV is for entertainment and you can’t believe everything you watch. If you find yourself going to prison, just remember to shower when most people are busy and you’ll have as much privacy as you can get in a prison shower.