Friday, June 2, 2017

Growth, Fantasies and Hope

This will be the last post until August as I am going to the West Coast for a couple of months to visit family-Mom.

My higher self, the universe, God-put me here.  I needed this.  I don't know if I would have ever reached the point where I am now within myself as quickly-if ever.  I was too steeped in my denial of my addictions.  I am becoming who I was always meant to be.  I saw the opportunity for growth and I ran with it in the most negative of places-prison.  I am more clear now than I have been in my entire life.  I know who I am and I love who I am with all my faults and attributes.  I get it.  I get life.  And I love life now-even amidst the chaos of my environment.  For the first time in my life, I don't want to leave it.  I tried to end my life several times before my incarceration and when I first went to jail.  As many times as I tried to leave this earth and did not succeed, God must have a plan for me. 

So, I have been questioning this experience.  Life is a series of experiences.  What matters is what you learn from them.  So, I am in the experience of prison.  I have grown and learned.  So, lately, I have thought-what do I do now?  Do I just walk around these prison grounds being my best self and sharing light and love?  It may sound funny to some of you, but that's ok.  Is this what my experience is to be for the next 11 years?  Then I remind myself that it doesn't matter where I am-the journey is within me.  My human side feels my experience is becoming exhausting-the negativity, the chaos, the noise, the food, the abuse.  There is nothing positive going on here.  This experience has become stagnant.  The only thing changing around here is the guards.  And the change that happens with each new admin-warden.  Sometimes, they are stricter-sometimes not.  Every shift is different in the way they approach inmates so you never quite know where you stand.

I mean, can we just get some damn colored pencils.  Geez!  We all sit here and our creative yearnings are squashed and we have not much to do.  I am lucky, I work canteen every day but a lot of the inmates have no jobs and end up using drugs like suboxone which is a big problem.  Escape.  Who wouldn't want to escape the nightmare your living?  Especially the lifers.  I don't judge them.  For me, at some point, I will be going home and I have a daughter and I don't want my time here wasted to only end up where I began. 

The funny thing is I am happy and at peace within myself.  I go through things but not for very long.  My untreated medical issues cause me concern and mom has advocated for me over and over but still not getting the medical help you would get on the outside.  This happens to all the women here.  Very few staff in medical care about inmates.  They use their status as a way to dominate, control, belittle.  I worked at a hospital as a patient tech before coming here and was on my way to becoming an RN and I would never dream of treating a patient like I and other women have been treated here and no one cares-no one on the outside does anything.  I have seen the doctors retaliate against inmates who complain too much or their family complains too much.

Will my appeal be granted and I go back to court?  Will they transfer me to a different prison and do another 5 years with a new experience?  Or will I stay here and gain more knowledge?  I cannot allow life to become stagnant.  I dream of the day I get out and I can make a change for the better for those left behind. 

We all have moments when we fantasize about the "free world".  We joke about all the things we might still do when we get out-like washing our underwear in the shower, cooking everything in one bowl, selling a spot in the Walmart line.  This morning I was really in my thoughts about the free world.  I was envisioning going to a convenience store and picking out a drink-what kind of drink as so many choices?  My first thought was-don't spend the money: don't need it.  I know I am going to be paranoid about spending money as money here is very tight and you know your family is sacrificing for you to make things a little easier.  I feel for the inmates who get nothing ever-so sad.  I dream about living in a studio apartment which would feel like luxury to me.  Having 2 towels-wow!  I think about being in a relationship with a man.  I haven't had one since the love of my life died from a drug overdose 12 years or so ago.  I wonder what it would be like to date.  To be attracted to someone and have it be mutual.  What it would feel like to just hang out with someone you like-or even love.  Do fun things.  If I am not able to go back to court I will be 54 when I get out and I will still be able to have a life and do all the things I dream of.  Many women in here will never get to experience any of that ever again.  There are relationships in prison-borne from a need for intimacy and sharing but they are tenuous and fraught with issues. 

I try not to get my hopes up about my appeal.  We did get some good news.  The appeal judges did agree that my judge should have recused herself and that my lawyer did put the request for recusal in on time so someone is actually looking at my case but you try not to get your hopes up.  Just waiting for an answer.  If it happens that my time gets reduced I can't even imagine.  Too hard to talk about.  So many hopes in here get squashed. 

I appreciate any and all of you who read my words.  Not a lot of people here listen.  I think it is because to share how we really feel and what is really going on inside is too painful to think about.  Please send myself and all of us love and light on this very difficult journey.  Everything happens for a reason and that reason is to learn about love, compassion and forgiveness.  I think mostly to learn to love ourselves, feel compassion for ourselves and to forgive ourselves so that we can spread it to others.

See you in August.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Medical, 8th Amendment, Yoga and Service

Well, I have been on the new compound now for awhile and I like it.  No gates-more relaxed and my job is less stressful.  The canteen set-up is different and I am appreciated more.  Inmates are more polite. 

I had put in a transfer for another prison-smaller with a dog program but I cancelled it because they told me I can't transfer to a faith-based prison.  So, I am going to stick it out on this compound for a year or two and then attempt another transfer.

I finally made it to the outside cardiologist (thank you mom).  Outside medical trips are no fun!  We have to be black-boxed-our feet are shackled and we have cuffs.  Then a black box gets attached between the cuffs and the runs a long chain thru it that wraps around your waist so your hands can only move about 5 inches.  Good luck if your nose starts to itch.  It hurts after awhile and the cuffs make deep indentations on your wrists so you spend your ride either waiting for your hands to go numb or you continually adjust your hands the entire ride.  It is approximately a 1 1/2 hour ride.  It is a men's facility but it is also where speciality medical doctors are for the incarcerated.  They do surgeries and house men and women who are recovering.  When we walk through the facility the men inmates act like animals.  They make sexual gestures and kissy-faces.  They stare and gawk.  It is very annoying and very uncomfortable.  It took about 4 hours before I was seen by the doctor.  He set me up with a heart monitor to wear for 24 hours and then said we'll schedule you for a stress test.  We got back to the compound at 3:30 pm and had left at 3:30 am.  Medical said I had to spend the night in the infirmary when the doctor had said that he wanted me to resume my normal duties so he could get an accurate reading.  Can't argue with medical or you get put in jail.  So I laid in bed the whole time until the next morning when a nurse called the doctor and he told them I needed to be doing activities (like I told them).  You would think the medical staff would have an understanding of heart monitors!  So me and the other girls in the infirmary stayed up all night watching TV in a comfortable bed.  I could live in the infirmary-no noise, TV, cordless phone, comfortable bed, good shower and great sink for washing clothes!  It is sad that people are dying in there.  They just rushed a girl to the hospital.  They said she had scarlet fever.  She had strep throat that went untreated and her face swelled up beyond recognition.  They couldn't get it under control.  Anyway, so I actually slept in until 8am which I hadn't done in years.  So, after the doctor confirmed that I needed to be doing my regular activities I only had 2 hours left on my monitor. 

The good part of it was the sweet ladies in the infirmary.  One just had a breast removed and one was having respiratory problems-but they were a delight.  I hope the girl with untreated strep throat makes it.

My mom recently read me a response from my blog.  It made me cry.  She wrote so beautifully.  I never have any idea how people feel about our blog.  Whoever you are in Canada, thank you for your compassion and kind words-it keeps me motivated and inspired.

I have been sharing my story a lot lately.  Other inmates think I have been down for years and years and always ask me when I am getting out.  I am going on 6 years.  Then they ask why I am in prison.  So, have been sharing a lot.  Drug addiction causes a lot of bad choices.  I wish I had known then what I know now.

My post-conviction appeal is floating out there.  I want to go back to court so bad.  I want to get out there and start my activism for the women left behind.  I want to make a difference.  Maybe you will see me on TV someday advocating for prison reform.  I want to share these women's stories and get them the attention they deserve-to at least be seen as a woman, a mother, a daughter, a sister: not just a number.  It has already been proven that when you calla person Inmate and dehumanize them, it is much easier for guards to abuse them.  Plus it is so demeaning.  My name is Sadie- a name my mom gave me after watching a Barbara Streisand movie. 

Most of the women have battle scars from being incarcerated-most came in with their own scars from life.  You all need to stand up and hold out open arms with love and help make a change to the system.  What needs to be changed first?  The point system.  It is ridiculous.  What is considered a violent crime?  They need to have a committee that goes through the case of every woman incarcerated for 10 years or more and see if any revisement is necessary.  Women who are poor have no access to lawyers to help with their cases.  I think anyone planning a career in criminal justice should spend 30 days in prison so they get a clear idea of where they are really sending these women and men.  What happened to the 8th amendment-no cruel and unusual punishment.  Being demeaned, yelled at, humiliated, eating non-nutritious food, lack of proper medical care, no hope for parole for lifers, no substantial rehab programs for preparation to return to the outside and on and on.  I would consider that cruel and unusual punishment.  The system is broken and a broken system produces broken individuals.  Not to mention returning to a broken society and a broken government.  All I ask is that you add love and light to the world by being of service to your fellow human being. 

Next day:

It's loud!  One room with 86 women. 

I now teach yoga for 2 hours on Mondays at the wellness center.  It is going well.  The girls love it.  We have such a good time.  They seem to be very dedicated.  I wish I could teach it all the time.  Yoga is my life.  It keeps me centered, grounded and spiritually connected-and healthy. 

So big news today.  I think I explained previously that I put in a proposal for Hobby Craft with the warden's permission.  They had knitting, crocheting, drawing and painting 20 years ago.  I have proposed it to every admin that comes here only to get shot down.  My canteen boss told me today that the warden called her for pricing for all the hobby crafts and said the warden is all about pushing it to get it approved by the higher ups.  This is huge!  Trying not to get my hopes up.  The prison has not seen any type of craft or colored pencils for the general population for 2 decades and they wonder why it is all about smoking, fighting and shopping as there is nothing else to do.  Even if we only get colored pencils, I will be happy.  One thing about me, I don't believe in NO.  You just have to keep trying.  My patience is insane now.  I can wait for years for things now having been in prison where nothing happens now. 

While I was sitting here writing, a girl hit another girl in the face.  I am so used to it, it did not even phase me.  That is what prison life does to you.  You become numb to chaos and violence.  Even if you wanted to get involved, you run the risk of violence towards you or getting put in confinement with them.

So, my mom visited this last week-end and was expressing disappointment for her GOFundMe account for summer packages for indigent women.  It is one thing to complain about the treatment of inmates, it is another thing to actually do something.  Ever since I have been incarcerated my family has donated games, puzzles, rec equipment, colored pencils and color books to the wellness center at my old compound because DOC does not fund for recreation.  No one had donated in years-probably because they did not know they could.  Inmates were putting together puzzles that no longer had all of the pictures on them, basketball hoop with no basket balls and so forth.  Then some other families started donating also.  My family has used their own money to fund 3 to 7 inmates each package time.  My mother does the GoFundMe so they can help more people and she is getting short on funds having to pay for my lawyers and supporting me in prison.  She lives on a fixed income but is all about helping the less fortunate.  My sister always gets one package for an indigent woman.  You have no idea what those packages mean to an indigent woman.  It means, someone out there cares about me.  Mom gets the most beautiful thank you cards.

If you feel so inclined her website is www.inmateslivesmatter.net and there is a link to the GOFund and we also have a list of indigent inmates to help directly.

The other thing you can do which my mom and some other women have done is send 10 assorted cards and envelopes (Dollar Tree) and stamps as the indigent inmates can trade them for toiletries.

When these women get their packages that they have never gotten you should see their faces when their name is called.  It is like they won The Price Is Right.  They cry and get confused and are not sure what to do.  Now we ask them what they need so we can be more specific to their needs.  Radios with ear phones are always a big deal.  Music calms the soul.

I feel if I have more than I need, then I need to share.  I give away my old clothes (most inmates sell them), my shoes and an indigent woman does my laundry so she can get some things she needs.  I leave little gifts here and there.  I am not trying to toot my own horn but to share how much it means to be of service when possible.

We are all on the same journey.  Earth is our schoolhouse to learn about being better human beings and most of all to be of service.  One day we will all be 6 feet under and when we go to the others side and have our life review what will it say about our time on earth.  It is not a judgement but a learning process.  I never believed in hell, fire and brimstone.  I believe in Love.  Take care everyone.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

TA's, Wellness Center, We Are All Valuable

The officers do not get paid well.  When you hire anyone who has a GED or HSD, you wouldn't have to pay them well it seems.  When they get here it is a rude awakening and they have no training to deal with it.  They are called T.E.A's or as we call them T.A's which are officers in training. 

So here is how it works with "officers".  Say you are 18 and looking for a job and you want to get out of your parent's house (I have been told that).  Oh look!  Department of Corrections is hiring.  Let me sign up!  DOC says "here guy, put on this uniform that looks just like a real officer's uniform" and we are going to let you work on the prison grounds even though you have zero training.  Work on the compound for 5-6 months, see if you like it.  If you do, we will even put you thru school-called the Academy.  After the Academy we will test you and if you pass your tests, we will attach a can of real pepper spray to your uniform.  Oh, but don't worry if you don't pass the Academy we will let you try again.

So, what we have on the compound are many T.E.A.'s, T.A.'s for short.  Young kids, looking for a job, with no training, running around in an officer's uniform.

Now, we are always understaffed.  ALWAYS.  To fill bodies they allow the T.A.'s to run things.  T.A's are never supposed to be unsupervised.  HA! HA! HA!. That makes me laugh just reading that.  These T.A.'s with no training are running the compound!  They have no clue how to call on their radios, what buttons to push in the bubble, which way the chow hall is or what to do when a fight breaks out.  Who trains them?  WE DO!  The inmates do.  They don't even know what security level they are working.  They don't know how to call count or where to call it into.  And with our admin turn-around no warden stays long, or assistant warden or colonel.  Last admin was here for a year.  I mean really!  And they want to take it all out on us.  No wonder the inmates are harder to control.  Nobody takes these people seriously.  Can you imagine an 18 y/o telling a 65 y/o what to do?  Every new admin comes with a new idea of control and focuses on the wrong things, let's T.A.'s run things. Nobody respects them and inmates do not take them seriously-why?  Because they are all going to leave anyway.  You have got women who have been down for 30, 40 years, staying for life.  They have had everything taken away with nothing left to do but complain and die.

Sound harsh?  Well it is.  Do you know what a difference it would make for women to just be able to pick up a box of colored pencils and a coloring book and go to the metal table and just color.  A simple pleasure-therapeutic.  We are still waiting for an answer on if they will allow colored pencils or Hobby Craft.  At the other compound my family started sending games, puzzles, rec equipment that the inmates had not had in years so they did have Friday night game nights, coloring days at the Wellness Center with colored pencils and coloring books.  It is amazing what can be accomplished if even one person cares.  By the way, we always need those.  The Wellness Center here has not gotten to that point yet as they just opened up and my family donated some yoga mats and exercise equipment.  I teach a 2 hour yoga class on Monday mornings.  When the Wellness Center is more organized and we have an officer in charge all the time, I will let you guys know so you can donate games, puzzles and so forth.  DOC website will tell you about different "programs"-not true.  And no inmate that works gets paid except the canteen workers at 50.00 a month for a 7 day work week.  They expect the women who have lived here longer than anyone will ever work here and have seen DOC change dramatically for the worse-to shut up and be ok.

Not one human should ever live without self-worth or value.

We are all valuable.  You have not a clue about the women here.  You only know what you can look up and believe me that is only part truth.  There is always a back story that you never hear about such as, in my case, they deemed my crack pipe pusher that I happened to have on me a weapon.  An earlier blog explains how and why I got here.  Don't get me wrong there are women who deserve to be here for the rest of their lives because they lack understanding or remorse for what they have done-esp towards children.  But not too many.  The majority that are here for a long time (myself included) have to decide how to do their time.  That is where value comes in.  We get told every day that we are just inmates.  We are treated like meat and are their entertainment.  Being able to control other human beings who cannot defend themselves, tends to bring out the worst in a person.  Look at me, I can degrade this person and there is nothing they can do about it.  Men and women officers alike. 

If you are strong and can overcome the negativity you face yourself and do your best to live a valuable life.  It is the biggest challenge of most of the women here.  And I can tell you a big percentage don't live knowing they are valuable human beings.  A lot fall into the drama of cigarettes, drugs, fighting and money.  Just like the streets but in prison. 

I believe, as I have said before, that prison can be an opportunity to become who you are-a loving and spiritual being.  That is what we all truly are at our core.  We are a spark of the divine.  You can't try and be good and good happens.  No, we are born with love and goodness already within us.  It is just about rediscovering it.  I don't care what anyone says-NO ONE is born bad.  Things happen to cause us to shut down that part of us. 

Humans condition each other.  It's like who decided that some people were ugly?  There wasn't ugly until humans said there was.  Our Creator did not create ugly.  No one is dumber, prettier or better than anyone else.  Humans decided that and look at all the problems it has caused.  We lost our way.  We lost our heart.  We are all equal.

So, being that we are here for something wrong or bad; we need to recondition to ensure those behaviors and thoughts are understood and then retrained to practice better decision making and behavior.  In otherwords, we need to find our way back to our true home inside-back to our heart.  When you come from your heart, you cannot do wrong.  I just wish women here could be mentored and cared about so they can find their way back to themselves.  Instead they are beaten down some more.  Made to feel less than; unworthy of any respect or kindness. 

And by the way we are still doing a GoFundMe (link) for indigent women for summer packages.  Ordering starts May31st.  The info is on my mom's website www.inmateslivesmatter.net.



Friday, April 28, 2017

Canteen, Parole, Taxpayers, My Life

Well, since I have been back in canteen I've been way more exhausted.  Canteen is no joke.  I get up at 4am just to have a good shower and my work day is not over until 7pm.  So writing takes some motivation.  I really like this new compound though.  The shopping is different.  The inmates are less demanding and they have more shopping opportunities so the stress level is down. 

My bunky who was above me went home. I love seeing women going home.  It gives us long-timers hope and strength that we can keep doing our time and that it will end one day.  It wasn't good the way she left tho.  A lot of the compound is addicted to suboxone.  She had been doing suboxone heavily for some time.  She had probation check-in the next day after release.  The crazy thing is that she was talking about doing so good and not using.  How crazy is that when you are high your entire prison sentence?  I mean somebody has to really want to change and do better but at the same time how does someone do eight years in prison and not get any help?  This place is so warped.  That is a perfect word to describe prison and DOC-WARPED!  Department of Chaos.  These women leave worse than they came in.  I can only imagine what phobias, paranoias and PTSD's they have after doing a long sentence.  In prison 8 years isn't even considered a long sentence.  We don't consider someone a long-timer unless they have 15 years or more.  There are several women here who have been down 30-45 years and have more to go.  Most will die here.  Parole won't even let them out.  My good friend has been here 34 years-has life.  She knew about her boyfriend who had killed another man and didn't report it.   She is here for murder with life.  She has been up for parole 3 times.  She is a model inmate and  parole denies her every time.  You don't think 34 years is enough time for a woman for a murder she clearly did not commit.  Craziness of the system.  Throwing people away.  She is 65 now and prison is really wearing on her.  She has done her time.  She has earned her life in the free world back-PERIOD!  And parole can look at her and say no.  Now they don't even have parole anymore.  She was one of the last women that was eligible for parole.  What the hell is wrong here?  I can promise you the larger majority of women here are of no danger and the messed up thing is they are not taught any freakin" skills and they will have no clue about the world.  The world will have passed them by on every level.  Who is going to ensure their success?  So, to not deal with that the system keeps them here and you the taxpayer fund our living in prison.  You pay our rent.  Shouldn't you also have a say in how it's run?  It costs less money to fund someone for college for a year than it does to pay for our incarceration.  And we cost more when we are in confinement.  So, you have all these young women smoking, fighting, shopping and getting high learning not a damn thing.  Great system, huh? 

Now I found out I can't transfer to the smaller prison I want to go to because it is a faith-based institution.  I can put in a good behavior transfer but can't go there.  Messed up.  I don't want to transfer to other prisons as they are very far away from my mom and daughter and our visits would be much less.  So now I am forced to stay at the worst prison.  At least this compound is better than the one I lived in next door.  But still, I want to move on.  The prison I want to go to has more to offer.  So for now I have decided to stick it out here on this compound in canteen for a few years.  By then my custody will hopefully lower to where I can go to the work camp and work with the dogs.  It is amazing for a prisoner like me who wants to grow, learn work, improve, be constructive and productive has no way to execute her goals.  I just have to work with what is given.  So far it's been my canteen job-nothing else.  I have been in canteen for 3 years.  I just want to do something more fulfilling.

I just sit here on my bed and watch a verbal argument between two people which turned into an argument between 4 people.  Over what?  Boots and shoelaces!  Petty stuff.  The officer just watched from the bubble.  Nobody cares.  The staff is just here to do as minimal as possible.  And the women are here to focus on each other.  It usually does not turn out well.

On the brighter side, my mom told me that Ben & Jerry's is actively supporting prison reform.  How amazing is that?  I hope they help get attention.  We need it!

Our captain just came in.  We have been on water restriction-not sure why but it means that we can't use the showers.  Well, it's been about 6 hours so we will "bucket up" if we have to which means we fill a bucket from the drinking faucet and go into a shower stall and sit there and wash ourselves.  While my friend was "bucketing up" and the captain (female) came to do her walk through, saw her and reamed her out!  A female cussed out a way older female for bathing in a bucket!  Such disrespect.  Who cares if we bucket up to keep clean.  We need to bathe.  And we keep going on water restriction and we don't know why.

I am sitting here with 20 years and I did not hurt anyone.  I am sitting next to a girl who beat her husband with a brick and killed him.  She got 25. 

I miss life.  I miss my daughter.  I miss my family.  I crave my freedom.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Beautiful Writings From A Young Man in Prison



Someone said to me, "Had you made better choices, you'd not be in prison." My first response I had to skip because it was to kick him in the balls which would be a bad thing. My second response, slightly more appropriate so I went with it. "Thank you very much Captain Obvious, so glad to see you've not lost your keen powers of observation, jackass!" I replied, only I didn't say jackass though I wanted to! The reality is that I know that poor decision making led me here. I had... a richly impressive #dumbassattack, so here I sit. Crazily so many people focus on the past, which cannot be changed versus looking to the future, which is still on deck and as impressionable as a toddler. Instead of trying to look for ways to prevent recidivism which in many cases could be as simple as being there to encourage, mentor or just be part of a support system, folks zero in on what was done to get in prison. Yes I committed criminal acts. Yes I put myself in this position. But acts performed during the darkest days of my life does not mean I am only that. If you consume alcohol 1% of your lifetime, are you a drunkard? If you crash a car one time in your life are you a driving hazard? Of course not! I don't mind being seen as someone who once made poor decisions that is true. But do not define me as that because I am so much more, as are other incarcerated individuals. Everyone stumbles; if you find someone down, help them up so they may see we are not alone in this.

Anthony Jason Machicoté


In prison it gets dark sometimes. Most of those locked in hold to much pride to admit this, so they push it deep within, hiding it so far inside that the pain almost goes away. Almost. But the reality, my lord, is something so disheartening that those not forced to endure the ugliness of incarceration can't begin to fathom the feeling. I'd love to lay down an analogy that painted a picture so vividly folks would just get it, but I lack the aptitude to convey it properly. To m...e, it's like being a ghost. You reach out to people with few responses. You don't get to participate in life as everyone else does. You watch as those you love move on, the world never stopping for you. Basically prison feels like a living death, where your ghosts haunt the life you once lived and those you once loved. This reality is handled differently by those of us inside. Some folks lash out at family and friends, like some poltergeist throwing around angry emotions, accusations and the like. Others try expanding their support system, hoping that a new cast of characters in their world will help them feel alive again. Many go within focusing on memories of days they can no longer hold to keep them somewhat sane and feeling whole. Sadly you have those few who simply give up, giving into the pain until it eats at them like some disease leaving them empty within. From there they become ghosts of their former selves or even end their lives to end the pain. I know that you all don't get to see this perspective of prison living out there, but this is the reality. I share this hoping that those of you who have friends and family boxed in will become more active in their lives because we are all impacted by this and we are all in this together. You can be that much needed bit of sunshine to someone inside, because no lie, in here, it gets dark sometimes.
#prisonerslivesmatter


      Anthony Jason Machicoté

      Tears trickle
      July 2012

      Tears trickle incessantly,
      Standing on the ledge...
      Knowing pains that crush
      All hope from my soul.
      Though I love you, I trust you,
      Believe in and miss you,
      Who can care?
      What God, what being
      Can let me suffer
      When I live sincere,
      But so broken inside.
      Tears trickle incessantly,
      My days all pain,
      No respite to see,
      With my heart drowning
      In rivers of sorrow
      That flow minus pause
      Still, who can care?
      What God, what being
      Can let me suffer
      When I live sincere,
      But so broken inside.
      Tears trickle incessantly,
      A flurry of solitude
      Devastating the optimism,
      The dreams and faith
      In love that just misses
      The bliss I seek out.
      Still, who can care?
      What God, what being
      Can let me suffer
      When I lived sincere,
      But so broken inside.

        Anthony Jason Machicoté


        Like a psychological wrecking ball, prison shatters the false ideas we held about just how consequential we are to the world we once existed within. Prior to these handcuffs, arraignment and sentencing, each of us imagined that those we interacted with on the regular would notice our absence, and stay connected were we unlucky enough to see prison. "Because they are important to me, I am important to them." So we believe, only to find out all to soon, that is not the case. Friends fade like smoke trails jets leave in the sky, not swiftly but gradually until where they once stood only memories exist. Family support deteriorates slowly, like rust eating away at metal until you look up one day to notice the hole where they previously existed. In the end you learn just how significant you truly are as the loneliness from isolation does it's damnedest to drown you.               

        Anthony Jason Machicoté

        Prison is tough. It's not necessarily the environment, which tends to be a high concentration of negativity with little benefit as a whole. What makes prison hard is the isolation. Being taken from the lives of those you love- mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, children, lovers and friends. It is being deposited hundred of miles from the people who define you and being shelved for a length of time determined by someone who only knows you from the worst periods of your life. This person could care less about whether you better yourself, nor are they even bothered if those you love become estranged. Isolation breeds a sort of insanity, yet prisons whole premise is isolation. So, if you know an imprisoned individual... Reach out to them. A small gesture can make an epic impact.

        Anthony Jason Machicoté





Friday, April 14, 2017

Summer Packages for Indigent Women

I started a GoFundMe for summer packages for indigent women.  I did it last year for the summer and winter packages and was able to get packages for 7 indigent women.  Unfortunately, my family were the only ones that donated.  If you don't feel comfortable with GoFundMe, you can go to my site www.inmateslivesmatter.net and either donate directly or I have a list of 25 indigent inmates from different facilities and I can email you their information.  They really need toiletries since toiletries for indigent women are thru donations which are sometimes scarce.  Also, radios are much appreciated.  The packages also have clothing, hygiene and food.  The first day to order is May 31.  You have no idea what these packages mean to indigent women.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New Compound, Chicken Strips and Thoughts on Life

Yay! I got moved to another dorm on the Main-mostly long-timers and lifers-and air conditioning!!!!  It is the only dorm besides the pregnant dorm that has air.  All the others have fans and windows.  Crazy huh?  Gets hot and humid in the summer.  It has taken me a minute to acclimate to my new dorm but it is a whole other world-sort of.  One good thing is their are NO gates to go through so the guards can't mess with me like they did before trying to get to my canteen job. 

This compound is completely different.  I didn't realize how stressful the other compound was as I have never been anywhere else.  If they ever try to put me back on the other compound-won't go!

Oh, guess what?  We actually got new spicy chicken patties on the chow menu.  It wasn't chicken strips but it is something different-the rumor came true :).  Amazing-things are looking up.  I am back in open bay (had a cell before) which is ok.  I have a great Bunkie.  My upper Bunkie is going home in 7 days.  She did 18 years.  My Bunkie to my left is going back to court for resentencing.  My Bunkie to upper left goes home in a month )young girl-22.  My bunkies to my right are long-timers and a bit crazy (years in prison changes your brain)-but quiet.  We have 86 women in here and 9 showers-that's the most annoying thing a shower is hard to get because of so many women.  But now that I am running a canteen again on the compound I am hardly ever there.  And now I get to cook again.  I can make any meal with a microwave (in my canteen).  I feel happy and relaxed right now.  I have a new store and I have been working canteen for 3 years.  New compound, new dorm, new people, no gates; stress is minimal.  I still have a transfer pending to a smaller prison closer to my mom.  Of course, all the officers are still the same.  I know all of them.  They are a little more relaxed on this compound.  They all know me so they don't mess with me much.

Don't get me wrong.  They are still strict and so forth but the difference is the inmates don't fight it here.  They don't fight the changes and the inmates aren't as stressed.

They just opened a new wellness center here and don't have much equipment so mom is trying to get donations (www.inmateslivesmatter.net). 

There is still petty stuff going on.  Last night a sergeant of ours who doesn't like "studs" ("boys") saw a stud and a girl horseplaying.  He decided to take the stud to jail for assault!  The girl who was horseplaying also wrote a statement and said they were just horseplaying but nobody cared.  So, there is still bullshit that happens.  Officers can still do whatever they want to ruin your day but it is just easier to deal with in a less stressful situation.  Or, is it that each year that goes by the things I see and experience start to seem normal or I just get numb.  I have developed an issue in the past couple of years of not liking to be touched.  We have such a lack of physical touch here (love hugging my mom tho).  We don't shake hands with officers and are not allowed to touch each other like a hug or normal touching-like putting your hands on someone's shoulder for example.  So the lack of human contact creates a guard you don't realize is being built up-mine is getting worse.  I don't like it if someone brushes by me and I flinch if someone touches me and I instantly wonder why they touched me.  I know it sounds bad but these things happen to you while incarcerated that are unconscious.  Behaviors are created that I believe eventually result in PTSD.  This is where programs and classes that help you stay connected with the world and "normalacy" would help.

I still haven't heard the decision for my post-appeal yet.  A longtimer today who has done 20 years got picked up for court today.  She has life and they might resentence her.  There are a lot of people going back to court.  Gives me hope. 

I have accepted my time.  I might have to do it all.  It is hard to think my free-world life won't start until I am 54.  I look at women in here who are long-timers and learn how to do my time.  I know I have the motivation to start over at 54.  I can do it.  Mom will be 80 if she is still here but I have siblings who I know will help me. 

I think the thing I look forward to a lot-one I never thought would be on my list of wants-I miss loving.  I mean I love myself and all my faults.  I work on me every day.  I also give love every day.  I share my love with everyone just by being positive and compassionate-but I miss being in love with someone.  It is something that does not happen in prison.  I don't care if you are gay or not-falling in love is not going to happen in prison like in the free world.  It is way different.  There is always hope in people's hearts that they will go home someday-even the lifers-and if that ever happened they would leave everything and everyone in prison.  So, "being in love" in prison is not realistic.  I just feel so good about who I am now I really truly cannot wait till I get to live again-to live fully and joyfully.  I stopped trying to convince myself that life can be lived in prison.  It is the hardest thing to live fully and it will NEVER be a full thing.  It is what it is.  But what it can do is give you an opportunity to explore yourself-which in turn is what life is.  Life is everything-to feel, explore, breathe, appreciate and that can't really be experienced here.  The environment of negativity and concrete is not conducive to that.  Prison is for improvement and becoming whole then life can be lived totally different when you get out.  I feel for the people who won't ever go home.  They appear to have no reason to change and grow and most of them don't.  They have no incentive.  I know a lifer who killed her 3 kids and she is one of the few I know who deserves to be in prison for her entire life because she has never taken responsibility for what she did.  She still calls it an accident.  So, people like her need this time to fix herself on the inside and not put other people in danger. 

I am rambling a bit tonight.  Today I have been inside myself-feeling a bit distant.  It is hard to miss life so I don't think about it much but when I do it is so difficult and I just shut down.  I don't want these prison behaviors and phobias to seep into me.  I want love and affection from my loved ones on the outside.  I don't want to feel paranoid all the time-you never know when an officer is going to have a bad day and you happen to be the target.  I cannot wait to just truly relax-to be able to breathe.