Some Hints for Women Artists in Men’s Prisons

Do everything possible to avoid having a favorite student. It is bad for any of the inmates to think they are your favorite and it is bad for the other inmates to think you favor someone else.

Don’t get into personal exchanges with the inmates and avoid offhand remarks. You never know what might offend. Don’t share personal about yourself.

Don’t relax and start joking around with the inmates. The frail male ego is ever so much frailer in prison. Be careful about casual conversation, too. Things that may not offend a man on the outside might offend men in the inside because they are stripped of their masculinity while doing time.

Don’t allow class to become a pool hall. Don’t allow inmates to come in and hang out. Bringing art or literary magazines will encourage inmates to stick around the entire class.

Some students come to learn to draw, but some come to be around a woman and are more interested in striking up a conversation than learning. Being around a woman is already a distraction for them, so do everything possible to curtail other distractions.

It adds more distraction if a woman wears dangling earrings, pink clothing, or make-up.

Source: Gail Tomura of Artsreach