Prisoners Harassed by Lice under Extremely Unsanitary Conditions

We were so overworked that we were covered with dust and sweat. Whether we were human beings or beasts, we were barely recognizable. We did not have time to watch our faces and clothes. The bachelors’ quarter stunk and was full of lice, fleas and other insects. The men’s clothes, an army of lice would sprinkle all over the floor.

When spring comes, the barely recognizable bachelor prisoners spend most of their rest time killing lice. The prisoners are all bone and skin and yet attract so many lice. They take off their clothes, leaving only the pants on, whether there are any women around or not, and begin to smash lice. It is not surprising to find so many lice because prisoners have few opportunities to take baths or wash their cloths. Sometimes, the clothes become so itchy that they just take off their clothes anywhere to shake off or kill the lice. Often, women or young girl prisoners join in to help.

“Well, blood is so precious here. How can we waste the blood from lice?” the prisoners would say. Some prisoners suck lice blood from their nails because the amount of blood is so substantial. The lice are more active during the winter, so, many prisoners keep their clothes outside in the winter night. This is a beery effective way of eliminating lice because they find all the lice frozen to death the next morning. They shake off the frozen lice from their clothes and wear them again. Then, they are free from lice for a little while. But this is not always possible at the bachelors’ quarters because they sleep collectively.

Thus, the prisoners are tormented by a heavy workload, the brutality of security officers and insects such as lice and fleas.