Monday, May 9, 2011

Toilet Talk

At any given moment there are something like 2.5 million persons incarcerated in the United States and 9.25 million worldwide.  Every inmate, no matter how much he or she resists, eventually eats jail food thereby bringing them to that magic moment that those of us not in jail imagine must be incredibly uncomfortable--taking a shit.  Guess what?  You are right.

Taking a dump in jail is just one of those terrible indignities of being in jail, well ... along with everything else.

Obviously, the worse is being in a two or three man cell using the stainless steel jail toilet.  In my case I spent a month + 8 days in the hole using this wonderful device, see pic.  My experience is that you and your cellee(s) work it out amongst one another to minimize embarrassment.  When I was in the HOLE my cellee, Jason and I would announce the need to "make a deposit" and the other guy would roll over in the bunk and face the wall.  Nice.  When I was at CCA and could wander the cell block, you timed your use for when your cellee was out in the common area and vice versa.  Hang and towel or use some other signal you had relative privacy.  Not really, but all in all tolerable.

These stainless steel toilet/sinks are designed for security.  Allegedly it's impossible to kill yourself or injure a cellee with this toilet.  No toilet seat to beat one another to death with.  One of the odd things about the toilet system design you can talk "through the toilet" with other inmates.  Weird, huh?  Why?  Well, I'm not sure I really understand this, but according to a couple of guys who spent considerable time in large metropolitan jails mail and female inmates are sometimes housed on different levels of tiered facilities.  The jail cell toilets are used to "flirt" and odd little relationships blossom via inmate toilets.  An inmate told me that he knew of situations where these marginal relationships formed and fights would break out when their so-called girlfriends were overheard flirting with another inmate.  I actually, thought these guys were pulling my leg, but check the link.

Birdeye view of FCI, Morgantown
 Once I got to Morgantown, the toilets became what you would expect to find in your local college dormitory, doors and all.  Nonetheless prison etiquette mandates that the user flush the toilet CONSTANTLY.  These so-called courtesy flushes executed on commercial toilets by inmates day and night are part of the cacophony of jail. 

Let's face it, there is nothing--absolutely nothing sexy about jail.  And yet certain rules, including the absurd requirement that after a shower you dress IN THE SHOWER. As I thought about this more it occurred to me that this was part of the homophobia of jail.  By doing this individuals announced "I'm not gay, and you aren't gay."  But there was a very definite and apparently unmolested gay population including some pretty flamboyant guys.  In the multi-purpose room at the rec center there was a "gay table."  One evening, Big Gay Al was standing at a Chow Hall table shouting to a friend in line, "Tameeekaaaa, oh Tameeekaaa," while his pals laughed appreciatively.  

Don't do what I did.  Experience all these marvels vicariously. 


  1. Toilet is very important and must be cleaned specially in jail. Toilet in jail is the savior from predator who always snatch the food brought by relatives who visit the jail

  2. How does the sink work, is it a water bubbler too or just a faucet??