Orgasms, tattoos: Women's prison abuzz over electric shavers

Colorado prisoners complain about all sorts of indignities, from the high price of candy bars to the degrading (now banned) "labia lift" procedure some female inmates were subjected to. But not all the recent squawking about a change in hygiene equipment at the Denver women's prison is negative, apparently. Some of it might even be sighs of approval.

A correspondent at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility recently wrote to us to complain that disposable razors in the prison have given way to electric shavers. Cheap shavers at that. The new equipment has its problems, but it also has potential uses that prison authorities didn't intend. Our correspondent wishes to remain anonymous out of concerns about retaliation, but here's her report:

The warden has taken away disposable razors from the women here but not the men next door. They were taken due to a few women cutting themselves. The men have also done this and are far more likely to make a shank.

The warden gave us cheap electric razors. A lot of them broke within the first few months. The warden refuses to replace them and expects women who live off $10.00 a month to buy a $32.00 razor or be hairy. [But] the electric razors have been a hot item -- the ones that still work.

They have been being used as a vibrator for sexual pleasure. Many inmates talk about their orgasms with the razors. Also, electric razors can be made into tattoo guns, spreading AIDS and hep B and C. They are found a lot in shakedowns and cell searches. But women are still taking them to the shower and, due to the shower area being shared, we all have to hear their sexual noise and the hum of the razor.

Should taxpayer money be paying for women's orgasms in prison and tattoos? Please let the public know about this and let them decide.

Public, consider yourself in the know. And let us know what you decide.

More from our Follow That Story archive: "'Labia lift' and other humiliations described in letter from prison."

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast