Can You Shave in Prison? Your Questions, Answered
Shaving is something that most people don’t even think about. Razors are there. The ability to shave is there. You can shower and spruce yourself up with a shave whenever you want to. That’s why it’s difficult for people in the free world to remember that things like this might not come as easily for prisoners.
In fact, you may have never thought about what shaving is like for an inmate, even if you have a loved one in prison. Are they allowed to shave? Do they have to get strip-searched and squat and cough without being clean-shaven? Are razors allowed anywhere near them?
You probably came here searching for answers about the basic rights of inmates and how shaving falls into them, so hopefully, you can find those answers in this article.
Can You Shave in Prison?
Like most rules and regulations for inmates, each prison system and facility will have its own rules about shaving. However, you can generally expect that an inmate will be allowed to shave in prison.
There are some exceptions, of course. For example, someone who has threatened harm to another person or themselves in the facility may not be allowed to have anything on them that can hurt another person. That includes a razor.
But for the general population of a prison, shaving is allowed. In most cases, though, prisoners will only be able to have the type of razor that a prison allows. That’s usually a single-blade razor that couldn’t do much harm to someone even if you tried to make it do so.
Some people dislike these razors so much that they elect to skip shaving rather than use them. For people with thick hair, the razors may not even be able to do the job.
Some prisons may have other razor options for inmates to buy, but it all depends on the type of facility it is and what kind of inmates live there. Those that house extremely violent criminals will likely only give inmates the option of using their single-blade razors or not shaving at all.
In other words, shaving isn’t a basic right in prisons like other hygiene tasks are, like showering and brushing teeth.
However, we should note that some prisons have strict shaving policies, especially when it comes to men who can grow beards. These prisons might restrict anyone from growing a beard unless they have a specific skin condition that could become irritated from shaving a beard.
Is Shaving Really That Important in Prison?
To some, yes. To others, it may not be. But shaving is an important task that many prisoners want to take part in. For some, the reason could be as simple as wanting to have some sense of normalcy from their previous free life. For others, shaving can bring them confidence and help them feel good about themselves.
Shaving is also a hygiene-related task. You just might not realize how important it is to your health until you go for a while without doing it.
Hair breeds all kinds of bacteria. In fact, one of the reasons it exists is to catch harmful bacteria before it ends up elsewhere on the body. For example, your eyelashes can keep bacteria from getting into your eyes and your eyebrows can keep sweat from dripping in.
Bear hair is one type of hair that collects a lot of bacteria, which is why some men prefer to shave it. If they’re used to going without a beard but can’t shave in prison, they might be introduced to new bacteria they didn’t have to worry about before. Shaving may also improve the health of your skin by removing dead skin cells that lay there underneath hair.
How Do Inmates Shave in Prison?
Again, the shaving process will vary from facility to facility. But many prisons have a system through which they “lend” razors to inmates on an as-needed basis. An inmate might need to check out a razor when it’s their time to shower and then check the razor back in when they’re done, for example.
Other prisons might have to monitor inmates when they use a razor, even in the shower. This task is usually reserved for inmates on suicide watches or those in maximum security prisons for violent crimes.
Some prisons don’t have systems that monitor the use of razors as strictly. Inmates might be able to buy disposable or electric razors from the prison commissary, for example. It’s important to note that people outside of a prison usually are not allowed to mail inmates razors in packages.
Regardless of the actual policy for having razors in a prison, most prisons have restrictions on using razors or completing hygiene tasks in general. For instance, inmates usually have timed showers, so they often have to hurry through their shower to shave. In other words, it’s not really the ideal situation for shaving.
Other Hair Removal Options for Inmates
If shaving isn’t technically allowed in a prison, inmates still may have other options. Most prisons do allow haircuts, whether they’re through a facility within the prison or the facility has barbers come to the prison to cut hair. During this time, men may be allowed to get their face shaved or trimmed. Women may also be able to ask for some trimming on facial hair or eyebrows.
However, this still leaves out inmates who want to keep their armpits, legs, and other body parts shaved or trimmed. Some prisons may allow hair removal creams or waxes or have occasional days for prisoners to take advantage of these services they contract with pros to perform. This is rare, though. Razors are usually the best route for these inmates, even if there are a lot of restrictions surrounding them.
Shaving in Prison
As you can see, shaving in prison is not as simple as you might think if you’ve never been involved in the prison system. It can be a complicated process with several restrictions that cause some inmates to skip it altogether. Because shaving rules and regulations vary so much between correctional facilities, it’s important to go straight to the source to learn more about specific policies in a prison.