Thursday, November 2, 2017

Videos of Former Inmates and Families of the Currently Incarcerated

Things have been very busy.  Sadie has been busy working canteen every day and hasn't had much time to write for the blog but she is working on it.  I started a new project called Prison Stories and there is my story and other stories at www.inmateslivesmatter.net.


 


Monday, October 9, 2017

My Experience As A Mom with an Incarcerated Daughter

I thought that as time went on things would get easier but it never does.  To know that your daughter is in an environment where she is just "inmate" and there is such disregard for her as a human being wears on you even when you think it's not, or try to be positive.

I am also astonished and disheartened at the general public's response to the incarcerated-"they deserve bad food and to be treated badly", "they should not have gotten themselves in there", "they should have made better choices" and on and on.  God forbid that anyone of them ever made a mistake or a bad choice.  Believe me everyone is a bad choice away from being incarcerated with all the laws we have today.  Most are in for drug issues, mental health issues.  And the way the rules are you can be charged with a violent crime even though there was no violence.  I know many women, esp young women, in my daughter's prison who are "guilty by association".  They either did not know a crime was being committed or they knew and were afraid to tell but did not participate in the crime.  They are serving life sentences.  My daughter said that these are the women they need to let out.  So, that's how easy it is to get into the criminal justice system.  And if anyone thinks it cannot happen to them or someone they love, think again.  There are many many people who are incarcerated who are innocent because of prosecutorial misconduct, an uninformed jury and basically a broken criminal justice system. 

And then your sentence depends on the mood of the judge.  He or she could be having a bad day and you will receive a harsher sentence.  And then there are mandatory minimums for drug offenses that can be 10 years for a first time offense.

If my daughter was in an environment that was positive and focused on rehabilitation and helping these broken women make better choices and if they had programs that build self-esteem and self-worth and that continued upon their release I would be so much less worried.  Instead they are talked to with great disrespect, humiliated, degraded and then expected to be your wonderful, well-adjusted neighbor.

I could go on and on but I won't because I'm tired and at this point feeling pretty hopeless that anything will really change.  The women go in damaged and they come out more damaged and why we are not all outraged is beyond me. 

They shackle women during childbirth.  There is no compassion or empathy for women who are ill.  The medical in prison does as much as they can possibly get away with to not treat the women-"do no harm" does not apply to inmates that is for sure. 

That's all for now.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Response to My Email


Ms. Carlin,

Thank you very much for your email and for the opportunity to respond.  Your recommendations are not taken lightly.  We frequently discuss similar topics and how staff/inmate interaction significantly impacts behavior.  We have several pilots lined up to evaluate this further and to place inmates willing to change, in environments designed to maximize their potential, both while incarcerated, and upon their release.    


Thank you again for your email.

We Have Been Busy and My Email

We are still trying to get into the blogger rhythm again.  Sadie is starting to write again to send it to me.  I have joined Fl-Cure, a prison reform organization.  Here is a copy of an email I sent yesterday to the warden and the higher-ups in Tallahassee.  I have sent about 300 emails since my daughter has been incarcerated (finally counted them).  Nothing has changed that much because, in reality, the guards are the problem and the lack of relevant rehabilitation programs..  There are a few nice ones, but most are not.  Below is the email and the link is at the bottom.


I am assuming DOC wants to reduce the high recidivism rates and to give inmates the opportunity to do well once they are released.

The article below lists all the reasons why former inmates do not tend to do well on the outside especially without a good support system.

My first question is why do the officers address the inmates as inmate instead of by their last name or at least ma'am and sir.  What is the rationale behind that.  That practice alone is demoralizing, psychologically damaging and in truth psychological abuse.  It gives the message that you are worthless and that you don't matter which gives the officers permission to treat inmates accordingly with verbal abuse and a lack of civility, empathy and compassion.  How is that conducive to rehabilitation and the reduction of recidivism? This may seem like a minor issue, but it is, in actuality, a huge issue.  Have someone call us by a derogatory term day in and day out and see how that effects us. 

I know I have sent articles about the prison system in Germany where they have a humane and rehabilitative approach to incarceration where the officers are well-trained, are mentors who mingle with the inmates and dine with them.  They have officers who are trained in how to calm situations down without violence or aggression.  So, it can be done.  And if Germany is able to do it, there is no reason on earth that we cannot begin to follow suite.

The only reason we are here on this planet is because of Love-to learn to love ourselves and each other.  We all make mistakes and hopefully we learn from them.  Inmates are redeemable and most of them are good human beings who made bad decisions mostly due to addiction issues or mental health issues. Their situation gives us the opportunity to practice empathy, compassion and forgiveness-attributes the prison system is lacking and that has to change if we truly want the recidivism rate to go down.  My personal feeling is after talking with other families and former inmates is that until the guards are trained better, are held accountable for their behavior and the inmates are not afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation or being placed in confinement, nothing is going to change.  

I know I must sound airy-fairy but I am speaking to the heart of each of you.  How would you want your loved one to be treated under these circumstances?  These are our brothers and sisters and we are all on a journey towards our Creator.  Life is short and our job is to make life better for each other which includes the inmates.  I have met a lot of former inmates and I am impressed by what good-hearted and decent human beings they truly are.  There are always those who will never learn or change but they still deserve out love and support.

And we need funding to actually create the relevant programs that will build their self-worth and self-esteem so they are confident in their abilities when they transition out.  We also need better pay and a higher standard for officers.

Sincerely,

Kathy Carlin
http://www.tgorski.com/criminal_justice/cjs_pics_&_relapse.htm

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Written by a Mom after Hurricane Irma

“Hunkered Down in Hell-Weathering the Storm in Prison
 
  Most people have never thought about a loved one being stuck in a prison with an impending catastrophic storm coming. Quite frankly, I hadn’t thought about it either until now.
The weekend of Labor Day I wasn’t scheduled to visit my daughter, but I did. I knew the following weekend the Florida prisons would be on lockdown and who knows for how long. There was an impending Category 5 storm with winds of 185 MPH out there heading for the Caribbean Islands and Florida. Her name was Irma.
She was approximately 500 miles wide. To put that in perspective, Florida’s peninsula is only about 180 miles wide. I’m a native Floridian originally from south Florida where I spent most of my life until moving to central Florida three years ago, so I’m no stranger to hurricanes. I’ve experienced Hurricane Wilma and the outskirts of Hurricane Andrew and many close calls. The difference with Irma was her enormous size and the amount of time she stood strong as a Cat 5. She was coming to the Caribbean Islands and Florida with a vengeance. To look at her as a satellite image, she was perfect looking. Not perfect in a good way, but she was a perfect storm. She was an array of beautiful colors…red, yellow, green, black and purple. Her eye was strong and her bands resembled a beautiful Indian headdress. I’ve always found hurricanes scary, yet fascinating. She kept all of Florida waiting in apprehension of which path she’d take, and the reality is that she was so large she put the whole state in danger.
With all the past storms I’ve faced, I’ve always prepared for my family. This one I was preparing for was without my daughter. I did know that she would be fine because of her location and that the storm would die down by the time it reached her. There are approximately 97,000 people incarcerated in the state of Florida, and with the impending doom, approximately 12,000 inmates were successfully evacuated according to the FDC. My daughter was moved out of her dorm to make room for transferees. All prisons went into lockdown mode. Some were moved to locations the authorities thought best. One of the facilities in the very southern area of Florida was not. Perhaps they thought it was a strongly built facility? Whatever the case, there is no say so for your family’s safety. It was a feeling of helplessness from the family members with loved ones in that facility. They would be left to worry about each other separated by a world of its own, prison. Evacuations and disaster preparedness is not in your hands, and when you think about it, there’s only so many places they can shelter prisoners. We would like to think prisons are fortresses. They are not. They are old and dilapidated, and their upkeep is not treated as a priority.
The hurricane came through Cudjoe Key and then through Marco Island taking a westward track up through Florida. Us Floridians know that the NE side of the hurricane is the “dirty side”. This means tornadoes and flash floods. Would it flood into the prison and they get trapped? There would be nowhere to go. I couldn’t help but to wonder what they’d do in that case. I mean where would they go? I can’t say exactly what time it was, but in my area, it started Sunday night into Monday morning, September 10th and 11th, 2017. The lights went out followed by howling winds that rattled your roof and doors. Not many were sleeping in the state of Florida that night.
The next couple of days consisted of clean up, no electricity, and running water was on and off and on again. I figured I wouldn’t hear from my daughter right away, but that turned into four days. Then she finally called! I was glad to hear her voice and she was worried about us, so she was relieved too. Her facility was overcrowded but she was okay, and the rest of the transferees were transferring back to their prisons that day. I was grateful.
I checked in with my network of families who have loved ones in prison, and many had not heard from the southern-most women’s prison. We knew it was hit hard there, and it became very concerning. Then finally six days later they heard from them. Their loved ones were crying on the other end. They had part of the roof fly off while stuck in their dorms as they were flooding. Then no electricity, a/c or fans, and no windows to let a breeze come in. Some inmates were stealing food while in total darkness causing fights to break out. There were some in solitary confinement left in temperatures of over 100 degrees. They began to wonder if they were going to die from this storm. Even before the storm I could not believe that with such a major evacuation, this prison was left behind. They described this past week as a living Hell.
We are still in hurricane season. We will keep our fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Written by an incarcerated woman in Florida

Under Siege
 
     The "Uprising" - a term used by a group or species that have been oppressed beyond their limitations that are prepared to rise above.  Prepared to go the distance for equality.
     This fear has permeated the FL DOC statewide and as I write this, the entire state of Florida prisons are on, at the very least, a Level II lockdown.  An entity held hostage by their fear of retribution for their participation in the violations of truth, justice and human dignity.
     Mass incarceration equates to a HATE CRIME affecting some 2.3 million people and their loved ones in the U.S.  The driving force for this is Corporate America colluding with our government-how far we have fallen as a nation founded on liberty to engage in such an atrocity as imprisoning its people for profit; but that is the cold hard truth of this business.  CEO's and corporate executives of the Prison Industrial Complex receive six, seven and eight figure salaries with stock options and bonuses all on the taxpayers dime for services provided to inmates.
     Does this make you feel safer?  Well it shouldn't because the lies perpetuated to enforce this crime against persons were slogans like "tough on crime", "clean up our streets", "make America safer" and the "war on drugs" which has undeniably been proven wrong.  The recidivism rate in Florida is 33% within three years and increases to 65% after five years.  And the more people you lock away, the more privileges, care and civil rights are stripped away as well.
     For some the winds of change are whispering, "there's nothing more I can lose" throughout a sub-culture of greed and power.  Because to witness the warehousing of people you need not look further than the approximate 3,000 sq. ft. of space shared by 86 people to sleep, gather, bathe and function.  The rural areas of Florida are peppered with entire compounds of these prisons to create jobs and stimulate the economy.  Where does a prison population of 100,000 or so find relief in this environment of too long and too harsh sentences and lack of real rehabilitation? 
     The Prison Industrial Complex aptly resonates what it has become for there is no rehabilitation, no structured discipline and no attitude of betterment or change.  There is, however, plenty of degradation, humiliation to accompany you throughout your prison stay.  Aren't we better than that? 
     There are no psychological exams or physical training required to become a correctional officer: a back door into law enforcement, filled with questionable motives as to why this field is a career choice.  With the requirements so minimal the keepers are often less trained, educated and experienced in life than the kept and who tout their authority with abandon which has led us to today with a society oppressed by ignorance, greed and power and on the verge of an UPRISING.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

We're Back!

Hi everyone,

I took the summer off and will begin to resume posting.

Kathy

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.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Inmate Concerns and Former Inmate Experiences

This is a list sent to me of inmate concerns by inmates:


Inmates Concerns

1. Medical is deliberately indifferent to treating prisoners to save money. Medications and
diagnosis is not done. It is only if you have family to fight for you that you might get something
done. Dr. Rodriquez is head of medical and promotes this behavior.

2. Officers need to be psychologically evaluated for their abusive behavior. Abusive officers are promoted.

3. Bad behavior by inmates is rewarded by staff. Positive behavior is not reinforced by staff.

4. Chow hall food portions of vegetables are never the correct amount. Vegetables are served
frozen and too cold to eat. Dishes and cups are not washed properly. Milk and juice is
watered down to where you have vitamin loss and never get the full cup of milk or ½ cup of
juice that is on the menu. Mr. Corn has been the Food Director for years and allows this because he gets a bonus if he saves money.

5. Women are over-looked for programs; especially those with long sentences.

6. Have to have money to purchase hygiene. The state only supplies one small tube of
toothpaste and a hotel size bar of soap and one roll of toilet paper. If you need more toilet
paper or soap it is hard to get even though it is supposed to be on a as needed basis. This
doesn't happen and grievances rarely work.
OTHER CONCERNS
Women are different then men and that has never really been addressed. Also, women are less likely to leave prison and commit violent crimes. Most of us would be good candidates for parole but we need a chance. Some women have living death sentences with no possibility of parole or early release. To keep people locked up in the US costs 80 billion. In Europe most life sentences run 20 years because they believe in reform, that people can and do change and can be given a second chance.

Prison has become a business and police unions fight initiatives to lower sentences because they do
not want reduced prison populations for job security reasons. Prison is based on profit-not reform.

1. Re-enact Statute 944.30 (written to provide any person sentenced to 40 years plus and had served 10 calendar years with good behavior had the opportunity to be recommended by DOC
for commutation of sentence (for non-capital felonies)

2. Actually reinstate parole-people who have done 10 years or more on a case by case basis (still profitable as you have monthly fees)

3. Sentence reform. Many sentenced under Jim Crow laws-violation of civil rights. Sentences are disproportionate to the crime

In the end prisons are not cost effective nor does it accomplish a better society for the offender and the community.

Average Clemency hearing takes 5 to 6 years and most are denied. Clemencies should be heard within 2 years and if denied there should not be a waiting period. Why are so few clemencies
granted? Is it about profit?

Experiences of Former Inmates

Straight from EXPERIENCE your right that officer is a real piece of shit ...she told me I didn't matter to nobody that I was just like the dog shit on the bottom of her shoe!! And y'all all it does is make is worse on the inmate if family calls and complains” (referring to Sergeant C)
Man she nasty as hell. I was just there. Got out in February. She is one of the nastiest black officers there. She don't care about nun cuz she been there so long she know they not gone do nun. All she do is sit on her fat ass. But plz be careful. Retaliation is real at Lowell. She can b in confinement for up to 60 days. N they can also ship her if they feel like she's a problem for their staff.”

I don't know her I don't think because I left there in 2014 to go to work early but tell her on the annex the best thing to do is mind yer business and keep your nose clean. Don't let them affect her just keep your head high and when they holler inmate keep walking because it's 1,500 walking around in blue and when they address you as inmate you don't know who you're talking to I never turn around until they say my name I know how sorry that Sergeant C is she's a nasty nasty b**** and I feel so sorry for your daughter that she's been pegged as her person to pick on cuz she's brutal but has your daughter told you if you do call up there they will retaliate and putting her in confinement under investigation and they could leave her in there for up to six months for no reason with no shampoo it's awful”
          
I came home from Lowell's main unit and work camp June 3rd 2015 I only served an 18-month sentence so while I was there my first day walking into the prison I went to the Guard Station to figure out which bed was mine and I saw this girl giving the male officer head under the desk the first 10 minutes I was inside the prison I observe several guards having sex with the female inmates I was there when the two officers murdered the girl in confinement one of my bunkmates was having an affair with the assistant Warden that place is horrible they treat the women like we are third personal prostitutes and if we don't do what they want us to they take us to confinement for whatever they can find its a very sad unprofessional place 3 out of 5 guards are having sex with inmates or making them have sex for money they are beating and hitting the inmates they use slander and call you anything you want I ever watched a male guard spit in one girls face because she asked for toilet paper something needs to be done it's by far the worst thing I've ever seen”

I would have to write a book to tell you everything I went through however I do not let it affect the choices that I make for the rest of my life I have extreme severe anxiety and PTSD I have to take 1 milligram Xanax a day 1.5 milligram Klonopin at night and I have to take ADD meds as well that prison really messed me up and I can say this the officers that they hire to so-call correct us are so corrupt and a lot of them are in jail I know one that was really really nasty to her that molested a seven-year-old boy and he's doing 40 years now”
 
I did 7 years and I can't explain what it has done to me. I don't take meds but god I need them. Trying to do all that I'm doing does not hide how I actually feel inside when I'm all alone. There's days that make me wonder if I can continue. My mind never leaves that place and the degradation that I endured. But also there isn't a single soul that would understand that's in my life thus far. Everyone's proud no doubt of the accomplishments but that doesn't change what I go through on the inside. The whole system is far from justice or rehabilitation. It's mind and soul changing and nothing for the better.”
 

and if she uses names over the phone she is likely to go under investigation. which means lock the most inhumane thing known to an inmate in prison. It happen to me several times. Even the girl killed in there for reaching out to inmates went no where. Once your behind those doors your lost in the system. Even calling they give you no information or they make worse on the inmate to the point that one will tell there family to just leave it alone. I have a best friend still in there with a life sentence. I go through it with her every day. She is having such a hard time, but when we talk everyday we are careful to what we say in fear of her going under investigation. Her mother has two weeks to live and if she went they wouldn't even let her call home or have visit even under the circumstances.”

But as far as I was concerned, it was state sponsored verbal, sexual, emotional and physical abuse

I am a former "resident" of the LCI work camp and suffered a dislocated and severely fractured arm. They ignored all of my requests and grievances for medical care. The injury happened in 2012, I was released in 2014 and finally had surgery in December, 2015. Couldn't get help immediately because I had no health insurance. Then when I got insurance through my employer, no one would see me because of the history of the injury. Had a friend who spoke with his orthopedic surgeon and he agreed to see me. He was amazed that I had lived with the pain for so long because of the severity of the injury. All three bones were not aligned, the end of the humerus was pulverized, and both the ulnar and radius were fractured. There was so much corruption at the Work Camp. Inmates giving oral sex for cigarettes and drugs. A female officer was fired for having an affair with an inmate from the dog program, medical care was refused over and over again. I spoke with Julie Brown from the Miami Herald and unless an officer was willing to talk with her, she wasn't interested. I've spoken with numerous attorneys, many who I wrote to while I was still there, and haven't found anyone who wants to represent me with a suit against the state. I've been employed at the Doubletree by Hilton Tallahassee, where many of our Senators, Representatives, and Lobbyists stay. Needless to say I would love to talk with them but can't because of my job. I am very respected at the hotel, currently considered a supervisor, and right now filling in as the Night Auditor while waiting to hire additional staff. If I can help you in any way, please let me know.

I lost everything, my parents are deceased, my sentence was ridiculous for the crime I committed (taking windows from a vacant house ... that's another story from someone who was respected in my community). Our judicial system is horrific! But the system gets $$$ for all who are sentenced. I have been a guest speaker at FSU, and at several association board meetings. Please keep me posted.

She called me a whore when I was there. So uncalled for. (referring to Sergeant C)

He's the one that punched my friend in the face because she would'nt allow her girlfriend to have sex with him. (referring to the officer interviewed by Julie K Brown)

It's really is hopeless..complaining will only get your daughter in more shit..i was there I 2013 had a guard run me down n put his face so close to mine that are noses touched as he screamed n yelled n belittled me as I did nothing because I was afraid of going to lock..i wrote home n a week later I was locked up in confinement under a protection investigation because my mom called to complain n threaten to start an investigation from Tallahassee and They can take months to resolve n the whole time you never leave you get stuck there in a cell for doing nothing wrong,taking showers every three days no day light.. be careful how you go about doing this ma'am trust me your daughter will be the one to suffer..

I was at Lowell CI for a year and a half. In the time that I was there multiple inmates died due to medical neglect, abuse and one girl was actually strangled by an officer that she filed a grievance against for raping her. When an officer hits an inmate, they just get moved to another compound. If an inmate gets pregnant then she gets moved into confinement on another compound and after she gives birth the officer is allowed to return to the compound. I myself spend over 60 days in confinement because an officer was making sexual advances and would call me into the officers station in the middle of the night. He would bring me in there with all of the lights out and everything. He got to stay on the compound while I was in confinement. I never saw anyone about why I was in there. When Warden Gordon would come by I would try and talk to her and she would just say that it was not her problem. To talk to my classification officer. Whom I could never get to really talk to. I ended up being released from confinement only because I grieved classification using chapter 33. I never even saw the investigator and ended up back in the dorm where that officer worked. The going's on at Lowell CI are out of control. The drugs aside because you will find them anywhere, things are so corrupt. Women are forced to cut all their hair off because they are black and it is not in "natural" braids. You are forced to go without TP or pads because you are not willing to pay the costs. You will be called out and bullied because they think it is funny and you have to just stand there and take it because otherwise they can put you in confinement and accidentally "lose" all your stuff. Confinement is the worst. You can only shower 3 days a week and only with the tiny bar of soap they give you because for some reason all of your stuff is contraband. Even your shampoo and soap. If you are DC you are not allowed to have any sort of reading materials, not even religious materials. No matter where you are at, don't piss off the wrong officer. They will tear apart everything you own and take most of it calling it all contraband. Even your pillow. The few things that you do have to keep you from going insane there are things like the rec yard or the library. Also things like meetings and what not. These are all privileges and not ones that they like to give you. They will do anything to keep you as miserable as possible. We had times when we were in count time for 2 hours and would not be allowed to get up and go to the bathroom and would get a CC or a DR if we tried. (CC is corrective consultation like detention. DR is a disciplinary report like being suspended). All of this does not come close to the whole picture of Lowell CI, but after everything I went through there, it is all I am willing to relive at this moment. My prayers are with all of the women still there and their families.

this place is hell on earth and just because you are in prison gives no one the right to treat you like a animal! I spent 2 yrs of my life there for a crime that I did not do... Never been in trouble in the 50 yrs of my life but 3 months in florida I find myself in the worst trouble and end up at Lowell annex where I was called a crack whore by the guards and staff,laughed at when I was in medical, called a liar,pos, I was faking my illnesses ect... IT NEEDS SHUT DOWN ....No one is blaming the staff they are just stating facts here ..I don't do drugs, not a hooker,thief and surely never done a thing to wind up there but, the justice system there is surely not justice!!!! Guards use the woman there a sex slaves and if you don't do as they say you end up dead...


 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Colored Pencils, PEP, Patience and Over-Sentencing

😊😊I have a Go Fund campaign to get summer packages for indigent inmates https://www.gofundme.com/summer-packages-for-indigent-women

Guess what?  I actually received good news today in a place that is so on the down-it is rejoicing to hear good news!  We have (mom and I) been working on getting some kind of creative outlet approved here.  With EVERY new admin I write a proposal for colored pencils-it is always denied.  With this new admin I tried again and this time I also added to get hobby craft back (crocheting, painting, knitting).  The warden emailed my mom back and said she will put the pencils up for review to be a property item.  WOW!  She had the Assistant Warden contact me and asked me to write a proposal which I did for Hobby Craft.  We shall see.  Of course, everyone is all excited.  If this happens even with just colored pencils the women here will change.  Something so simple can bring them hope and creativity which has a calming effect.  Also, the Peace Education Program is on the compound now.  It is a program that is happening in prisons all around the world (http://tprf.org/programs/peace-education-program/).  These things are so wonderful.  Maybe someone in admin really does care.  If any of you could spend one day and one night in prison, you would know how huge this is.  I will be impressed if our warden really follows through with this.

On the other side of things-did I tell you about the shorts situation?  There is a prison in Wisconsin-a men's prison-where their family can order them TV's, quilts, clothes packages from Wal-Mart, fruit, etc.  So, there's that and then our prison is taking our shorts away-ones we pay for-why?  Maybe because we alter then to fit better.  We alter everything-nothing fits right and they don't care.  I don't see anything wrong with women still wanting to feel good about themselves and look good.  So, now we can't order shorts.  They are making state issued shorts.  Imagine Little Orphan Annie-what orphan shorts might look like.  Well, that is what they look like.  They are of a corse material (we are in Florida) and they are HUGE-balloon shorts down past our knees.  There is no way we could work out in these.  You can see right up them.  They are ridiculous.  In the summer they will be hot and the girls will get heat rashes if we walk or run in them.  It is amazing sometimes the things admin chooses to focus on instead of providing real rehabilitation and job skill programs-SHORTS?????  REALLY????  Don't be concerned about our self-worth, education, feeling cared for and not forgotten, reconnecting with our families and learning how to be of service instead of being self-serving.  Worry about our damn shorts.  I wish their was civilian oversight for DOC-then maybe some positive changes might happen.

So, when you have staff who picks on you, puts you down and focuses on your every move, you sometimes become bitter and paranoid and insecure.  Why would staff want women to feel that way?  What purpose does it serve?  What kind of power trip are they on?  And who do I tell?  Deal with it or go to jail.

Prison has really taught me to choose my battles tho.  It is amazing how much strength and patience I have now.  What I have learned is that most battles are not worth it.  Not because of fear.  It is more on a karmic level.  I have learned to let people have it.  If someone comes at me heated about something and they start calling "out my name" (prison talk)-meaning they are talking shit-I can choose to either engage and talk shit back and who knows where that will go or I can refuse to engage.  I let them have all of that negative energy for themselves and silently wish them love and light.  Sometimes I even say that out loud, "all the love and light to you".  You know how hard that is to do?  It takes a lot of practice and patience especially if you are a bit down that day and they catch you at that weak moment.  I have practiced so hard that no one can get me to open my mouth until I am ready-and love and light usually come out :).  It is rare I find a battle worth fighting.  And if I do it won't be an argument and will gain something positive.  So far with these certain officers the battle is not worth it.  I am going to let it ride another week or so and see how they behave.  The hilarious part about these women is that I don't acknowledge them by a look or speaking.  All I do is walk by them and they will find something to say to me.  Can you imagine someone doing that to you for no reason-just because they can.  And I have 12 more years of this.  Could be worse (I can't stand it when people say that and I just said it-lol).

I just talked to a nice officer here today at work tell me that most of the women here with life in prison are here because they knew about a murder before or after or had knowledge of one and didn't speak up deserves her sentence of life.  Now I know there is something probably punishable there but LIFE?  Deserving it?  If it was your daughter, sister or mother you would have a completely different attitude.  A lot of these women were victims of domestic violence and were afraid to speak up.  I will never believe that anyone deserves to spend life in prison because their friend, boyfriend or someone else kills someone and told them about it later.  I told him that even if you did go to the police right away, in Florida they would probably give you life anyway. 

The problem in Florida is over-sentencing (I am a prime example.  I had no prior history before my drug problem except a felony DUI 13 years ago), I had addiction and alcohol problems and the judge could have given me 9 years but she gave me 20 and my charges do not reflect what actually happened (as in most of the cases here).  For prosecutors its all about winning no matter the cost.  The judges use "violent" crimes to fill their quotas for the year-yes they have quotas (unless its another rumor but I don't think so).  Plus the judges get recognition for harsh sentences.  Yay let's destroy someone's life, their family's life, their children's life so we can look good.  The heck with 9 years-lets give her 20 years.  You all don't remember the judge that was in the paper for reaching 1 million years sentenced. 

I can't wait to get out of prison.  I promise that I will be running for something political because things have got to change.  We need to change DOC to have viable and productive rehabilitation programs.  It is ex-offenders who should be running DOC as they know best what changes are needed.

One women judge who should have recused herself from my case (and I tried to recuse her buy my PD never filed the paperwork in time), since I had dealt with her husband in the past, decided my fate without any intention of helping me psychologically or with my drug addiction.  She said that slitting my arms from my wrist to my elbows was not a serious suicide attempt.  She could have given me a downward.  And don't misunderstand me please.  I am not looking for sympathy or empathy.  I got me here with car theft and so forth so I am here for a reason but not 20 years worth of reason.  I see women all the time who did much worse and got less time. 

I have to remember that I have a higher purpose-not all the way sure what it is yet.  I have a loving family and I have the Infinite Light of God and the universe.  I know that I am eternally loved and protected no matter what and maybe knowing all this makes it easier to share this with you.  I would love to know what you would like to hear about or questions that you have.  Some things I don't get into because my mom gets a bit freaked out.  She does her best and a great job being my voice for me.