Introducing Skoop, babe’s prison correspondent — reporting from a high security women’s facility
‘Nobody cared when inmates were stomping on each other with boots’
Skoop is babe.net’s prison correspondent. She’s currently locked up in SCI-Muncy, a maximum security women’s prison in Pennsylvania. She loves flirting, cooking and trap music. She’s also a writer – she sends her columns to us by letter. Her nickname, as she likes to say, is Skoop because she “scoops up all the girls.” She’s gonna talk about what her life on the inside is like, and if you’re smart, you’ll listen.
In February, an inmate at SCI-Somerset — a men’s prison — kicked a correctional officer to death while wearing leather-lined Timberland boots.
We do not know what was said ‘verbatim’ between the inmate and the C.O. What we know is that a C.O. has passed away after this altercation — and everyone is deeply saddened that he did.
But since then, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections banned all boots from all state prisons. Here at SCI-Muncy, we were given a deadline: we must destroy or send home our boots by next Friday.
Any boots found in an inmate’s possession will be confiscated. Most inmates here have boots — and all boots are ones we purchased, but we will not receive a refund.
How would you feel if you were not able to have boots of your own in the rain, in the snow or during work?
At most prisons in Pennsylvania you are walking everywhere — waiting in meal lines for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We are constantly walking around outside.
I work with a certified electrician, with metal, pipes, electrical panels and other material and tools that could cause serious damage to our feet if we don’t handle them properly. Without the proper footwear, jobs like mine will be very dangerous for us.
Our only resort now is sneakers. Sneakers are not the proper footwear for most workplaces. Our sneakers are made out of cotton, with no protection.
If it is raining out while handling material with sneakers on, your feet will get wet and can possibly slip and fall. Tools cut right through cotton. Sneakers will not protect your feet like boots do.
I asked a C.O. about more sneaker options and what people are going to use while working. Apparently, nobody knows, and they claim once they hear something we will… In my opinion, they just don't give a fuck.
Us inmates will be in the rain and snow in sneakers. It gets really cold in the mountains. I am 24 years old and I cannot handle my feet being wet and cold all day. What about older inmates?
What about the inmates that already have complications with their feet?
Celeste, who has been incarcerated for 24 years, agreed with me about how unfair this is. She’s been incarcerated for as long as I’ve been alive, and she’s a diabetic, so she can’t afford to get her feet wet.
She said that $100 pairs of Timberland and Rocky boots at the commissary were too expensive to purchase in the first place. And she doesn’t think she should have to have an option of sending them home — our families won’t want old, pre-worn boots, and they can buy them on the outside. Celeste would rather have been reimbursed with at least half of the $100.
When I asked if this could be a safety issue for us, she said it was. “Yes, most jobs these women do can cause harm to their feet if they do not have proper footwear,” Celeste said.
I asked Celeste about possible solutions, and she suggested boots with soft rubber, or something that you can pull over your sneaker so it does not get wet to protect us from wet feet.
I also spoke to Aonyah, who has been incarcerated for 11 years.
“Why should we be punished for something that happened with boots?”
“There could have been other ways he could have gotten hurt,” Aonyah said. I asked her if she thought our boots would get taken away if an inmate passed away.
She answered quickly: “Absolutely not, she said. “They do not care about us. They do what they do to protect their own, not inmates.”
At SCI-Muncy they provide shoes that are brown, but have a hard sole and heel. I have a pair, and I know they are very hard and solid.
I asked Aonyah if she thinks if the shoe can do just as much damage as the boots.
“Yes, it has a hard heel and can do the same thing if someone really wanted to,” she said. “Inmates are very crafty, especially men. They can make anything that can be used as a weapon.”
Here at Muncy (and I’m sure other prisons) have been other violent incidents, but they never punished us for it.
My question is — do they really care about inmates?
Inmates have cut each other with razors, but the governor never took away razors. Inmates have set cells on fire, but the governor never took away lighters. Inmates have beaten each other with locks, but once again, the governor did not take the locks away.
“Because it happened to a C.O., now we have to be held accountable for it,” Aonyah said.
With those other situations, they never tried to protect us. Would they have taken away our razors, lighters or locks if an officer was involved?
This is a drastic change that will affect thousands of individuals — or should I say inmates, because nobody cared when inmates were stomping on each other with boots.
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