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Friday, February 16, 2007

My Prison Experience

A fellow blogger asked me to do a post about my experience in prison. Gotcha!!
Actually I am an RN and worked at a mens prison in Nv. for 7 years. It was definately the highlight of my 33 years of nursing. I worked OB most of the time, during the first10 to 15 years. I had my first experience with inmates while I worked at a Nv. hosp back about 1985. At that time the local prison had female inmates and when they would have a pregnant inmate they would deliver at our facility. Yes they did shackle them to the labor bed and the delivery table and an officer was placed outside the door. I remember thinking this was rather barbaric, where were they going when they were trying to push a baby out! But having worked on the "other side of the fence" so to speak, no literally, I can see the necessity. There has to be standards. I know now that inmates are classified with numbers that indicate their risk for violence, or an excape risk. This no. will indicate the level of security required. But to my knowledge when they are off the prison yard there is still a pretty high level for all.
Years later when I worked at the prison we did not have women there, but there was a period of time that we housed about 50 or so at one unit, temporarily. Well ended up being over a year. Since I was the "yard nurse". It fell to me to make rounds daily to that unit and answer complaints, do nursing assessments, and order treatment and care that I was allowed. Mostly all they wanted was laxatives and hormones. When they complained about pimples, I had to blow them off. Their presence took up about 2 hrs. of my time daily out of 8 hrs. that had already been very busy, doing sick call to the lock down units of a couple hundred men and the work camp that joined the main prison. I was so glad to see them all transfered elsewhere. Oh, I forgot after I did it for about 6 mo. they assigned a nurse to handle just the women, 8 hrs a day!! Well I didn't begrudge her the job. Women are the worse, whiney complaining critters.
I got to use my OB experience once with a gal who claimed to have her water break and no labor, so since I had experience they sent her to the clinic for me to see and examine. No one else there, even the dr. didn't know how to examine a laboring patient. Well she was really in labor with ruptured membranes and gross leakage, so it was a no brainer. BUT, See this is how one could plan an excape if not monitored, claim water broke, no labor, but would need to be sent to hosp, and maybe have a boyfriend waiting in the hall to wisk her off to a car and gone. So these are reasons that there has to be security measures.

Some of the women were in for crimes of violence, but a huge number of them were for drug related offenses, 1. theft to support habit 2. selling drugs 3. buying drugs 4. prostitution to earn money. Even in a state with legal prostitution, you can't just work on your own. Alot of the time the women are there because of bad boyfriends or husbands. The guys are the drug dealers and the women get sucked in and when arrests are made they go down with the guys. Did you know that if a member of your family is dealing illigal drugs out of your home, you stand to be arrested and jailed even if you didn't actually buy or sell. I am pretty sure I am right about that. Someone correct me if not.

Well long story, but that is my experience with women inmates. Now I will have to do another post or 2 about the men. They are a long story, or many stories. I rather enjoyed taking care of them, and never felt threatened,{well there was that one guy} I had something they wanted, medical care, which means medication!!

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