How to Deal With Head Lice in Jail!

Updated on January 15, 2018
stclairjack profile image

Working as a boots-on-the-floor correctional officer has given the author hands-on experiences to share with others in this unique field.

Yuck, yuck, and YUCK!
Yuck, yuck, and YUCK!

Hitchhikers!

Head louse is a nasty little subject that no one likes to talk about, much less deal with, but in the jail environment, it is a huge hassle. The closed environment that we work in and the people that we deal with sometimes put us in this situation, so here are some facts that you need to know about head lice:

  • They are parasites that feed on human blood from the scalp. They need blood to live and will die in 24 to 48 hours without it.
  • They go through three life stages:
    1. Egg (nit): 7 to 9 days
    2. Nymph: 9 days
    3. Adult lice: 30 days
  • Head lice spread through close contact with a person’s head or sharing things like hats, helmets, and pillows.
  • They cannot jump or fly, but they can quickly crawl from one person to another at 9 inches per minute.
  • They will attach their eggs at the root of someone’s hair. Therefore, if you find nits in someone’s hair that are halfway down the shaft of the follicle, then it’s safe to presume that the eggs have been there for 6 months or so and are already hatched.

Is it dandruff or is it lice? They can be hard to distinguish.
Is it dandruff or is it lice? They can be hard to distinguish.

Dandruff vs. Lice

Don’t mistake dandruff for lice. They are, of course, very different, one being a parasite and the other dead skin. Dandruff will fall right off the scalp whereas nits will be difficult to get off the hair strand.

It's Inevitable

Head lice are inevitable in the jail, but there are measures we can take to minimize the risk. A good pat-down should include a quick inspection of the scalp. Catching it up front can head off all kinds of ugliness later.

  1. If you find a subject has head lice during the booking process, make sure they shower well in a medicated booking shower, and if possible, treat their scalp with head lice treatment—that is hopefully always on hand—as directed on the package. Then, allow them to shower again to remove the chemicals as directed.
  2. Isolate the inmate in a single cell and have them retreat their head per the directions, combing all lice, eggs, and knits from their hair.
  3. When they have been treated twice and are of all evidence of lice, you can then place them in a gen-pop block.

If head lice turn up inside of a block, you will take the same measure, only on a larger scale.

  1. Issue the stock head lice treatment to the entire pod; order everyone to treat their heads per the instructions. This is not optional—everyone will treat their head.
  2. Everyone will exchange their clothing and bedding for clean ones, and all contaminated clothing and bedding will go to the laundry with a warning to laundry staff to handle them appropriately. Once again, this is not optional— everyone will exchange their clothes and bedding.
  3. The lice-killing spray that comes with head lice treatment kits can be issued to the pod for them to spray down mattresses and other items. Once more, it’s not an option—it’s an order.
  4. In the prescribed days, the block will be given supplies and instructed to treat their heads again and spray down their areas again. A second exchange of clothing/bedding is not needed unless the lice are found again.

Expect a great deal of drama, fear, and confusion from the inmates of the affected pod. There will be hysterics, there will be bullying, and there will be attitudes.

There will also be paranoia. Education helps dispel fear and paranoia. Knowledge is power—knowledge is peace.

"It'll All Come Out in the Wash"

It's an old saying, but it's still true—it really will all come out in the wash.

After the initial shock has worn off and the hysterics calm down, good ol' soap and water along with the proper application of treatments will nip the problem right in the bud...er, uh...bug.

In my experience, I've found it helpful to print out a fact sheet and hand out to inmates so that they, too, can get educated on the subject because knowledge is power, after all.

Stay safe out there, my friends—and avoid hitchhikers!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, healdove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://healdove.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)