At the Prison: Five Things Not Allowed in a Prison Classroom

School supplies and other items normally found or allowed in a regular high school classroom cannot be kept in a classroom at a prison.

1. Spiral-bound notebooks, workbooks, or information packets

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Inmates can remove the plastic coil binding and use it for any number of things, some of which could cause harm to others.


2. Binder clips

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A binder clip would be the most obvious answer to the question of how to secure multiple pages if an actual binding can’t be used.  Not in a prison. Binder clips can be taken apart, and the metal can do considerable damage to someone or be used for any number of nefarious projects.


3. Scissors

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Scissors can be used to stab someone.  Or they may be used by an inmate who operates a hair cutting business on the side to make a little money in prison. Or they may be used by inmates who work on crafts (yes, some really do) to cut pieces of fabric.  Even if used for a good purpose, scissors always can be stolen and used to stab someone. As we discovered, the disappearance of scissors in a prison causes great consternation among prison officials.


4. Large containers of hand sanitizer

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Classrooms REALLY need hand sanitizer.  We had a large container in each classroom at Lee Arrendale until someone stole one.  Common table salt can be used to separate the alcohol in the sanitizer from the other ingredients, and the alcohol can be drunk to create a short-lived “high.”  Now the teachers carry very small containers of hand sanitizer for personal use, and we keep them out of sight.


5. Any containers or bottles made of glass

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Although we may bring in our evening meal to eat while the prisoners go to “chow,” we cannot bring anything that is in a glass container. One can only imagine the damage that can be done with broken glass.



6 thoughts on “At the Prison: Five Things Not Allowed in a Prison Classroom

  1. Wow. I have a parishioner in prison, and it’s always jolting to be reminded of how precise those safety precautions have to be. Once again, bravo for your work here, Deb. Peace, John


    1. Yes, we learned the hard way after the hand sanitizer and scissors were stolen. Actually, since I only work there two nights a week, I didn’t even find out until the following week that the scissors had been brought in by a school administrator and were promptly stolen. I would never have brought in scissors myself. I don’t really know why, but I tend to think about everything we use and anticipate the worst that could happen. Cheers, Deb


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