Prison takes away the simple pleasures of life for inmates such as getting a fresh treatment or curl. Despite anyone's current circumstance, nothing can make a person see the brighter side of things or feel better like a trip to the hair salon.
While many think of the prison system as a sad existence, some prisons strive to revive life and humanity into the prison system.
Prisons have created hair salons to serve a positive purpose within the prison system. Most prisons use prison hair salons as a way to reward inmates for good behavior and to give those with longer sentences the opportunity to make money to send home to their families or support themselves.
The workers in these salons are people that have shown exemplary behavior during their sentences.
Employees at the prison hair salon come directly from the prison and usually have lengthy sentences. While the time it isn't prison reduced, they gain time out of their cell, garner respect with the other inmates and officers, and earn anywhere between fifteen to thirty cents an hour for their work.
The customers usually are other inmates or officers. It seems surprising that officers would trust those they are supposed to be monitoring to wash, curl and clip their hair but inmates are still people at the end of the day, and they are people that are trustworthy. Often, officers are the ones that choose the best fits for the salon based on the behavior and personality of the inmates.
Inmates that get the opportunity to visit the shop for services are other people that have shown good behavior during their time at the prison. Though the salon is a definite point of the prison, I feel sorry that my girls can't get a sleek frontal or quick weave. A nice twist out or Dominican blow out is fantastic too.
Prison hair salons work a little differently than regular salons. For one, those that work in the salon thoroughly searched before and after they enter and leave the salon for their days work. Workers in the salon are not allowed to take any of their work tools back to their cell, the bathroom, or any other area besides their work zone. Secondly, no booth rent paid by the employees, and employees do not pay any taxes.
Additionally, customers and stylists' participation is dependent upon continuing good behavior.
Hair salons inside of prisons serve as a positive fixture on a multitude of levels.
For stylists and customers alike the hair salon offers a break from how repetitive prison can become, additionally, it is an opportunity to escape from behind the walls of their cell and the drama inside of them. These salons give space to women who are behind bars to feel normal again.
Women in prison are able to feel still beautiful and enjoy a day in the salon getting pampered as well as enjoying their time with others in a peaceful space.
Normality and a sense of regaining their outside identities are essential to help boost the morale of inmates who may have lost who they are or the image they have of themselves physically and mentally. Hair is an extension of self, and not being able to maintain your hair which can be attached to body-image, self-esteem, and confidence, can enhance the negative energy that is already prevalent in the prison system.
Inmates are people, and women, with feelings, needs, and style. The salon gives women an outlet for their feminity and an escape from the politics of the prison world.
Furthermore, the hair salon offers people the purpose of working towards whether their goal is to become a stylist or have a visit to the salon.
Women aren't the only ones who get to enjoy the perks of getting their hair done while incarcerated.
Men everywhere can enjoy the talk and gossip of the barbershop even behind bars. This position in the barbershop allows the men the opportunity to revive the feeling of having a purpose and being a provider.
While their customers (other inmates) get to feel handsome and enjoy the camaraderie that comes along with a barbershop.
I believe that including hair services is one of the best ways to encourage a positive atmosphere inside the walls of the jail.
For me, hair has always been a way to release stress and boost my attitude. Whenever I have a fresh style, I feel like a new, better person. I could only imagine what a makeover does for these men and women incarcerated daily.
Having the opportunity to do hair or get their hair done gives hope to those who may have thought that part of their life, feeling normal, getting pretty, and experiencing a positive group atmosphere was over. For salon visitors, all of their time spent behaving pays off when they can get dolled up and get a small piece of happiness back, as well as their old selves.
For stylists, the opportunity to earn money, be outside of the current restrictive predicament, pass time quickly, and make others happy is a unique feeling that attributes a new purpose to their life behind bars.
Places like barbershops and hair salons are avenues in which people can feel positive. Despite their past, something that they are proud of, and acts as a blissful reward in the 'prison life' to look forward to.Continue reading