One of the first things we, as high school teachers, noticed our first night at Lee Arrendale State Prison was that some of the inmates appeared to be, not women, but young men. (Arrendale Prison is the largest women’s prison in Georgia.) In the classroom, other inmates referred to these inmates as “he” and then quickly corrected themselves and said “she.”
By the second night of classes, problems during the day between “studs,” as these inmates are known, and their “girlfriends” and other inmates had necessitated moving prisoners from one group to another within the school. As a result, the configuration of the classroom groups has changed. Once the inmates who were having disagreements were separated, everyone got down to work for the most part, and I now have students in my classroom working on all subjects including Social Studies, English, Science, and Math.
In 2011, Lee Arrendale Prison was featured in an hour-long episode of a documentary television series called Hard Time, produced by the National Geographic Channel. This clip, which is just under five minutes long, is from the episode titled “World Without Men” and features a young woman who chose to become a “stud.”