If you wear glasses, you know how expensive eye exams and prescriptions can be. Finding the right frames at an affordable price can be a daunting task. Don’t get me started on the eyewear industry in this country!
So, if wearing glasses in the free world has its own set of challenges, what is it really like for an inmate in a prison? Can you see an ophthalmologist? how much does it cost? Can you even wear glasses in prison?
In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:
- Prison Rules for Prisoners Wearing Glasses
- How do prisoners get glasses?
- How about a prisoner’s reading glasses?
Prison Rules for Prisoners Wearing Glasses
First off, yes, you can wear glasses in prison. If you have been prescribed glasses, they must provide you with a pair of glasses.Refusing to wear corrective glasses to prisoners is a crime, court rules Violation of the Eighth Amendmentwhich protects you from cruel and unusual punishments.
However, the process of seeing an eye doctor is not easy and can be very expensive. Rules, prices, and processes vary depending on whether the facility is a federal or state prison, the security level of the prison, and whether it is state-run or private.
In general, the rules for eyeglasses are: they can’t be worth more than $100, can’t have mirrored lenses, transition lenses are only allowed if medically necessary, can’t wear jewelry, rhinestones or ornaments, and the frames must be black or brown .
Some higher security prisons only allow plastic frames, while lower security prisons often allow wire or metal. But again, the rules are different in every prison.
How do prisoners get glasses?
This is where things get really confusing. How prisoners get glasses also depends on the prison they are held in, so I’ll try to break it down to the basics.
First of all, if you wore glasses when you were arrested and imprisoned, you can keep them as long as they meet the specific requirements of the prison on price, material, appearance, etc…
If you need glasses but were arrested without them – or if the glasses you were wearing didn’t meet the requirements – you can get a pair in one of three ways.
First, if you have the money, you can make an appointment with an ophthalmologist and order a pair of “country glasses” from a limited number of options. This process definitely takes a long time, so even if you do need glasses, you can go months without them.
Second, the state will provide you with a pair of “state glasses” if you are poor and unable to make an appointment or purchase a pair. These glasses have been a running joke in prisons because they’re so ugly. They are cheap, thick, plastic and unisex. When I was locked up, the country glasses were called “ChoMo 3000s” because they looked like something a child molester would wear.
Finally, some prisons allow you to have your family get you a pair of glasses, as long as you meet the requirements. Or, if you have the money, you can order it from the website. The downside of this option is that you won’t be able to access the internet as a prison inmate. So you have to figure out a way to wire money to a friend or family member to order it for you.
The rules are the same when replacing a broken pair of glasses while you are incarcerated. You can go to an eye doctor and order frames through the state (or have them give you new ones if you can’t afford them), or you can have your family send you a new pair.
How about a prisoner’s reading glasses?
Reading is one of the best ways to pass the time when you’re locked up, but what if you have trouble reading and need to wear glasses?Because reading glasses do not require a prescription, some prisons do sell in commissary.
If that’s not an option, then inmates will have to have their friends or family send them a pair in the mail. However, if no one sends them a pair of reading glasses, they can also be fitted after seeing an eye doctor, but the process can take a long time and can be expensive.
Of course, there are many ways to get a quick pair of reading glasses. You can buy them from other prisoners, or someone might give you a pair of reading glasses when they are released. Prisoners are very creative when it comes to getting what they need in prison.
Are you surprised that getting glasses in prison is so difficult? Let us know in the comments below.