I assume you can’t wear this to work.
Definitely not, but I always put a little twist on my uniform—like, I always have funky nails.
Do the inmates comment on them?
Yeah, that’s something I have to deal with, especially because I work with men. Every now and then, if someone says, “You look nice today, Officer Brown,” I’ll just respond with “Thanks.” But nine times out of ten, I’ll say, “That’s not what I’m here for.” And if an inmate compliments me on my perfume or asks what I had for dinner, I’ll say, “When you call your girlfriend, ask her. I’m not here for that.” I just have to shut it down.
How long have you been working there?
Thirteen years. My father works at the same prison, in Westchester, and when I was 17, he handed me an application.
What’s it like working with Dad?
People are always like, “You work with your dad? In a prison?!” Everyone thinks it’s cool. He works the night shift, and so when I’m getting off my shift, I’ll stick around to hang out with him. It is cool. He’s my best friend.
Interview by Alexis Swerdloff