Formerly incarcerated woman shares what happens if you wear contacts in prison

@prison_story/TikTok Rebekah Zemansky/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘These girls had to go their entire incarceration… without being able to see’: Formerly incarcerated woman shares what happens if you wear contacts in prison

‘If a parent were to deny a child glasses/contacts it would be abuse, so why is the state allowed to do it to prisoners?’

 

Maya Wray

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TikToker Amanda Dove (@prison_story) detailed how inmates aren’t allowed to wear contact lenses in prison in one of her latest viral videos, and viewers were incensed.

Dove was previously sentenced to five years for armed robbery and has since dedicated her TikTok page to sharing stories about her experience in prison. She responded to a question from an earlier clip asking why inmates were made to remove their contacts by a female prison officer on Dove’s first day of incarceration.

@prison_story Replying to @moon_beams What happens if you wear contacts in prison? #prison #rules #glasses #contacts ♬ original sound – Amanda Dove ❤️

When the officer asked who wore contacts, “a bunch of girls raised their hands just automatically,” Dove recalled in the video, which has been viewed 9.3 million times since it was first posted one day ago.

“I kind of held back even though I had contacts, but I wanted to see what was gonna happen,” she said.

Every inmate who raised their hand was then made to remove their contacts. They were not immediately given glasses to replace them, Dove explained in the video. Most of them served their entire sentences without being able to see clearly, but those who were sentenced for up to a year were permitted to apply for a pair of glasses granted by the state. 

“They would go and get an eye exam, which they had to pay for, and they would get these state-issued prison glasses that were the ugliest things I’ve ever seen,” Dove revealed in the video.

She described them as black with very thick rims, stating that they were the only choice for inmates who struggled to see but no longer had their contacts. Though Dove managed to hold onto her own contacts for a little while, they eventually became useless: One was lost after falling out and the other dried out, unable to be salvaged without any saline solution on hand in the prison.

“Every morning I would wake up and it would be somewhere deep in my eyeball, and I would try to get it back,” she said in the video. “I was just winging it.” 

She then contacted her father, asking him to find her a pair of non-state-issued glasses. The store he went to created a custom frame that suited Dove’s face from her mugshot, which was included on her prison identification.

Dove received the new frames in the warden’s office and went through the rest of her incarceration with the ability to see well. “But other girls, they were completely blind,” she said before ending her TikTok. 

Many viewers expressed outrage, citing the health risks that come from not being able to properly clean contact lenses and the headaches that can occur due to poor sight.

“I literally couldn’t walk around safely without a visual aid,” one commented. “I can’t see anything with clarity.” 

“For the record, if a parent were to deny a child glasses/contacts it would be abuse, so why is the state allowed to do it to prisoners?” another user wondered. 

“That’s terrible.. I couldn’t imagine the headaches without any contacts or glasses,” said a third, to which the creator responded, saying, “All day every day for months SMH.”

“I feel like glasses should be considered a medical necessity in prison,” someone else wrote.

The Daily Dot reached out to Dove via email.

 
The Daily Dot