It's no secret that the U.S. prison system is deeply flawed. With more of its emphasis on punishment than rehabilitation, prisoners are subject to harsh conditions and are subsequently released only to be left at a considerable disadvantage when trying to reintegrate into society. Those of us who have never been in prison can never truly imagine what life in incarceration is like, but no amount of Netflix dramas or reality shows can really prepare us for the truth about what goes on there.
People in U.S. prisons are subject to more mistreatment than we realize. In fact, one former inmate on TikTok revealed that among the many resources rendered inaccessible to prisoners, people weren't even allowed to have contact lenses. She breaks down the harsh reality in her video.
This woman stayed in a prison that doesn't let inmates have contacts.
Amanda Cisco on TikTok (@prison_story) has plenty of harrowing stories from her time in prison to share. Most of her videos revolve around her own personal experiences and cautionary tales for folks to avoid the kind of behavior that landed her behind bars.
But the story she shared in late September 2023 sounds worse than anything you might have heard about in prison dramas. Apparently, her prison didn't allow anyone to wear contact lenses, no matter how badly they might have needed them.
Amanda revealed that on her first day in prison, she and the rest of her group of inmates were asked by the prison guard if any among them were wearing contact lenses. Even though she was among the crowd who were wearing contacts, Amanda decided not to answer in order to see what would happen.
That was easily the best call she could have made. According to her, the prison guard made every prisoner remove their contact lenses right then and there.
"[The prison guard] did not give glasses [and] there was no replacement, nothing," Amanda revealed. "Those girls had to go their entire incarceration ... without being able to see."
Prisoners did have options for glasses, but in Amanda's opinion, it was still a toss-up.
Prisoners could apply for prison glasses while in jail.
According to Amanda, any prisoner who needed glasses could apply to receive prison regulation glasses "from the state." They had to take an eye exam which they were required to pay for themselves and would eventually receive the glasses.
Unfortunately, Amanda claimed that they were "the ugliest [she'd] ever seen." The glasses that prisoners could get were "black-rimmed, super thick" glasses that you might see a stereotypical nerd wearing in an old-fashioned sitcom from the 1990s.
Of course, beggars can't be choosers in prison, and Amanda fully understood the gravity of the choice being made.
"If it came down to looking like a fool or being able to see, I would wanna see," she proclaimed.
For her part, she was able to receive glasses from the outside world that weren't quite as ugly as the ones she described. Unfortunately, other girls had trouble simply seeing while in prison.
"I was able to see for the rest of my time," she revealed. "But other girls? They were completely blind."
As if prisoners weren't treated harshly enough already, not being able to see while in prison seems cruel and unusual.