Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Family Visits and Trump

My sister and niece flew from California to visit me.  How amazing is that?  I am very blessed to have the family I do.  My father passed when he was 58 years ago.  I have sisters and a brother-some closer than others but we all love each other deeply.  My niece is 15 and has Downe Syndrome and I haven't seen her since she was small 13 years ago.  She was amazing.  She is a cheerleader at her school.  She didn't want to leave me when they left.  Family is so important.  Family strength and unity is even more important.  My daughter and mom came too.  All of us were saying our good-byes-one starts crying (my daughter) then we all start crying.  All I wanted to do was go with them.  I should be with my family-my daughter needs me now more than ever.  She is 15.  It is so hard to keep our heads up sometimes.  Saying good-bye to my precious family really puts you back into some serious feelings of shame and guilt.  Who got me here?  I did.  What a piece of shit I am for doing this.  As smart as I think I am, I couldn't have dealt with my depression another way?  It took me a long time to feel any self-worth again.  And it was with NO help from any programs or staff in prison.  It is hard to look at them walking out the door and I have no choice but to stay here and accept my life.  I am sure it is hard on them also.  I am sure it is hard for them to love me sometimes.  It is all very painful.  This has affected my mom the most-physically, emotionally and financially.  She is on a fixed income but makes sure I have everything I need to make life here a little more bearable.  A lot of women here don't have that which is why mom tries to get summer and winter packages for indigent women ( 

What I have learned is that I cannot sit in that pain.  I can visit it but I have to re-center and keep my balance within myself that I have now.  It is just lately so many things seem to be happening around me and it feels like something is coming to a head.  I don't know if I have shared that I am extremely sensitive to energy-people's and animals (I worked as a vet tech for years).  I can feel energy en masse.  Some people don't understand energy but we all contain energy-everything does.  I just happen to be sensitive to energy which in turn means I am a very sensitive person emotionally.  I used to deny my sensitivity but I have learned to accept it and embrace it.  So the energy I sense lately I can describe as "gathering"-like information and energy is gathering up so much that it has no choice but to explode.  You can feel it building in the environment.  When I feel this I go inside myself as a form of protection.  I stop interacting so much with people and stay within myself.  It is the best way to stay centered in a time like this.  I am not sure if anyone reading this can relate but that is my experience.  I think prison in general makes you hyper-sensitive.  Most people I am around don't understand and call me weird or brush me off.  Everyone loves me when I am my peppy, positive self, but when I start talking about energy or spirituality they tune me out.  It all just sounds weird to people who haven't ventured yet to discover truly what life I about.  I have a human side and a spiritual (or soul) side.  My human side feels like a piece of shit for getting myself in prison and messing up my families life.  My spiritual side understands that this is what life is-experience-and my duty to my higher self is to learn from each one and grow as a spiritual human being-period; to be the best I can be at every moment.  I just refuse to believe that I have 12 more years in this place.  I refuse to let the harm of it seep into me.  My family is the greatest thing in my life and keeps me motivated to keep pushing all the way through this enormous experience of PRISON LIFE.  I will be free one day-at least I can say that.  There are many women here who will not and will live here until they die.  Thank you Lord and I pray for all the lifers greatest good.  It is difficult not to be sad for them.  Most don't deserve a life sentence (see U'Dreka's story below).

Boy am I in my feelings tonight. 

U'Dreka's Story

Dear World,

I am a 28 year old young woman who has been incarcerated since I was 17.  I was sentenced to life plus 40 years without the possibility of parole or a chance.  The sad thing about it is I did not kill anyone and did not have the intent to hurt or kill anyone.  The state sentenced me on the Principle Theory because I was there at the crime scene but too scared to call for help and get the police on the gunman whom at the time was my abusive 21 year old boyfriend and best friend.  He also got 3 life sentences.  But at the time I did not know what to do so now I am sitting in prison for the rest of my life because I didn't call the police.  This has to stop.  There are so many women here with me facing just as much time as I am for some of the same reasons with no help or support from the outside world.  This is my life.

Donald Trump is president!  Just sounds so insane.  I mean really?  Now, I do not know him-he could be a wonderful person but my intuition tells me we are in big trouble.  He has no experience in politics-that could be good and not so good.  Time will tell.  That being said it is still crazy that Donald Trump is our president.  Is this where we are as humans?  I mean no one realized that Bernie Sanders was the best man for the job and would have won if Hillary and the DNC didn't steal his nomination.  The system has us with out noses glued to electronics, trying to survive financially that we stopped paying attention.  We believe what the media feeds us.  Time to wake up. 

So here we go.  The good thing is people are waking up spiritually everyday-humans realizing that we have got to unite and change things ourselves.  An awakening is happening and that is very exciting. 

On the other hand.......  People found something to protest about-Donald Trump.  Never mind protesting about homelessness, poverty, low wages, the drug epidemic, the broken criminal justice system, the abuses in the prison system and corporations profiting off of prisoners while you pay taxes to support us here.  Let's not protest pipelines or fracking or war-no let's protest Donald Trump after he already won.  Go figure. 

All I can do is send him love and light and hope that the people behind him who really control the country have good intentions.  The president is supposed to bring the country together.  Maybe that is the build-up of energy I was feeling-all the chaos around his presidency.  God Bless America.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Unfortunately right now I am dealing with medical.  I cringe when I see my name on the call-out for medical.  See, at around 10pm at night we get "call-outs".  It is a few print-outs of all different places some of us are "called-out" to the next day.  We are not allowed to know where we are "called-out" to for security reasons.  So, if the nurse schedules us for the doctor, it is top secret.  There are other "call-outs" like property orders, books, catalogs, MP4's, classification interviews, legal mail, legal calls, compound photos, etc. 

So, as I said, when I see my name for medical I cringe because medical takes up almost an entire day; mostly because the doctor takes forever-and it is not because he is doing a thorough job.  I don't know what he is doing between seeing overscheduled inmates but it is not medically treating us.

So, this past year my heart has been "jumping" and progressively getting worse.  It skips beats, races, I get short of breath, pressure on my chest and shocks that make me nearly black-out.  It sounds bad now that I am putting it in writing.

I do yoga every day so my body is very conditioned and in shape and I believe I am one of the healthiest people on the compound so this heart thing has thrown me for a loop.  Finally, it had not stopped palpitating for almost 2 weeks straight and I did a medical emergency.  The nurses did 3 EKG's and I had PVC (heart jumps) on all of them.  They were concerned and took it to the doctor.  They came back and the doctor said "no concern"-good-bye.  I found him in the hallway after (I was very distraught) and asked him why he did not examine me and what was wrong and he said I was drinking too much water.  I said I don't drink that much water so then he said that I wasn't drinking enough water.  What????  Then he walked away.  A couple months later I put in a sick call and the nurse scheduled me an appointment with the doctor again because of my symptoms.  He said I was drinking too much coffee and should quit (I drink two cups a day).  I was so upset.  Since I have been incarcerated not one doctor or nurse has put a stethoscope to my chest-NOT ONE.  No exam.  Nothing.  Anyway, mom got the warden involved and recently had an echocardiogram done-still waiting for results.

My experience is nothing compared to others.  I know a woman here who has been an orderly for years and the things she ha seen and could tell you are horrifying.  When I lived in a different dorm, this sweet lady fell to the ground in the dayroom and people were yelling for officers and they called it a "slip and fall".  The inmates were screaming she wasn't breathing and another inmate gave her CPR.  Finally, a nurse came and then the ambulance came but she had already died.  Women die in confinement here.  The orderly told me about a nurse who thumped a lady on her forehead in the infirmary and told her to stop holding her breath-"quit faking it".  That lady died within moments after.  Women here have died by going septic due to infected ports, boils, etc.  The neglect that happens here is insane.  I have seen at least 12 deaths and all of us could tell you horrifying stories.  The inside joke from medical staff here is, "there is no better inmate than a dead inmate".  The medical protocol is to give as minimal of care as possible.  They make us put in at least 3 sick calls before we are able to see a doctor.  We don't get medications for common things and don't get the proper diagnosis for major things.  I just got lucky because I have a family (mom) who fights for me.  All the doctors here are foreign.  This isn't racial.  I have worked in the medical field for years and I have never met doctors like these ones.  Some can barely speak English.  We had one that was Armenian once and he ended up posing as a doctor but they found him out and he was really a nurse.  Our medical staff is the bottom of the barrel and they must work for cheap.  I sure would like to see their medical licenses and reprimands.  What they will do here is blood work and mammograms.  Those do not seem to be an issue.

This girl has a plantar wart on the bottom of her foot and is in pain when she walks.  They told her it was too expensive to burn it off so they have been soaking it in a solution for a month now and it is still not gone.  Seriously?  You can't even get a Band-Aid out of these people.  Recently, the blood-draw nurse couldn't get blood from an inmate so she let the inmate do it herself.  TRUE STORY!  Who are these people?  And if we tell or complain we run the risk of being put into confinement.  A doctor put an inmate into confinement because she needed a certain type of insulin that they did not want to pay for.  Since she complained, he housed her in the infirmary ward o be monitored getting this "special" kind of insulin.  It is not the first time he has done that.  They also lie about inmates and say they become aggressive so they get put into confinement.  Anytime an inmate questions the medical staff something will probably happen to you.  I know because it happened to me-mom knows-but I won't speak of it here for fear of retaliation.  Prison is a trip.

It is definitely punishment.  Every day you are just trying to find a path to be treated like a human being.  Why would anyone want a job where you get off or think it is okay to treat women less than human?  If the thought of that tickles your fancy, DOC is just your cup of tea. 

Did I ever think in my life, I would be begging a group of adults my age (admin) to be able to have colored pencils and coloring books.  No-I sure did not.

Really puts you in check.  Definitely encourages you to refine your decision making skills.  How in the heck did I get to this place?  Well-we all know that-but geez-sometimes all I can do is shake my head and I have nothing to say.  What can you say when you know no one is listening? 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Puzzle Month

Please donate a 750 or 1000 piece puzzle to one of the women's prisons.  The info is on my website

Saturday, February 4, 2017

We Are Prisoners Doing Our Time

I am the first to say that I did not think about what it was like for prisoners when I was free.  I had no experience with it and I had not been close to anyone who was incarcerated.  But I am speaking to people who do care or who are at least curious because you are reading my words.  When I get out I am going to be a huge proactive voice for the incarcerated. 

Someone out there, please explain why people are so scared to help?  Is it that you don't care, is it that you feel we don't deserve to be advocated for?  If prison was humane and we were treated with dignity and respect as human beings and there were job skill programs and rehabilitation programs, mental health programs (besides drugging everyone up), if we could have creative outlets in our free time like coloring or crafts, if the guards didn't use their power to intimidate us and call us names, then there would be no point in this blog.  We would be getting the help we need to return to society as productive members but that is not what is happening.  Maybe you feel that we should be treated as horrible as possible as a deterrent.  Well, that is not working because I believe the recidivism rate is about 50% according to Florida DOC.  Not to mention all the prejudice, lack of job opportunities and so forth when you get out with a felony.  You pay for your crime for the rest of your life.

Even though you are not here, you or anyone you know could be here at any time.  One mistake-that is all it takes.  I know 3 prison guards who are now incarcerated.  I know teachers, nurses, business owners, teen-agers, etc. that are here with me. 

We are all connected.  We will bump into each other again one day at a Publix or shopping at the mall.  I will have gained my rights back as a citizen and no one would ever treat me like I am treated now.  So, if I would not get treated without respect at a Publix why is it ok to do it because I am incarcerated.  Very hard for me to understand.  I am the same as you except I made a mistake (fueled by drug addiction) and I have been removed from society and I am serving my time the best I can.  We are not throw-aways and that is what it feels like.  When I see my Mom pleading for people to care, to donate recreational items or toiletries because DOC does not budget for those, I feel bad because I know that my life is her life, my time is her time and she is trying to make all of our times just a little bit more bearable. 

A higher-up told me that if they had the budget for it they would have tons of programs.  I don't know if I believe that.  Why doesn't the legislature budget for rehabilitation?  It makes much more sense.  I have been fighting to get our "hobby craft" back which they had years ago where you could crochet, knit, draw, paint and the family paid for it but DOC will no longer allow it.  Right now we are just trying to get colored pencils approved so we can color in adult coloring books in our free time which gives us something calming and creative to do.  So far no one at DOC cares.  Mom just got an email from the warden that she is going to put in a request for us to be able to have colored pencils.  That was good news.  We will see what happens.  Out biggest complaint is that there is nothing to do.  You might have 2 hours of yard time where you can go outside or go to the wellness center but when we are locked in-unless you have some kind of job-which a lot of inmates don't there is nothing to do especially in the evenings.  It drives people crazy.  If they cannot find you a regular job, then you are given "inside grounds" which is basically keeping the dorm clean. 

There is a lot we become numb to; there is a lot we need your help with; there is a lot we have no power to change on our own.  I don't want the women here to stay lost and uncared for.  Every human being has a right to dignity and to be treated humanely regardless of mistakes.  Please open your heart and have a new perception when it comes to women incarcerated; or the incarcerated in general.  I am doing my time for something I wish I could go back and change as most of us do in here; but we can't.  I miss my daughter's school events, birthdays, holidays and I don't get to hear her voice every day or help her get ready for school.  She does my time also and it breaks my heart. 

I love you guys and I don't even know you.  I love you because we are connected as human beings.  We share this world, this life, our joys and disappointments.  You will remember me just from reading this because my words and your interpretation of them automatically connects us.  And one day, in this small world, we may cross paths.  Fortunately, I will not be in here forever.  I cry for the women who will be.  There are a few who should be here forever, who have not taken responsibility for their actions and have no remorse but those women are rare and are usually mentally ill. 

We need upliftment, encouragement and guidance so that when we get out we don't end up back here.  We want to be productive members of society.  We need the tools to be able to do that.  A lot of women who get out have no family or outside support and then they have "felony" stamped on their foreheads.  It is no wonder these women end up coming back.  Talk to your reps, legislature, congress.  Let DOC know you are aware so they start creating a more positive and productive environment for inmates. 

The women here are over-sentenced, then depressed, then broken-down even more by the way they are treated.  So they have to harden up, get tough and learn the ways of prison.  Then they get released with no preparation back into the same world which they came from more broken and scared.  Is this how we as human beings support each other?  Please be a voice for us.  With love.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Meeting with Representative

I will be meeting with Rep. Amber Mariano the last week of February. I would like people to come with me. If your interested please message me or call me at 352-843-7998.


The rumor today was that we were going to start having chicken strips for chow.  Rumors can be hilarious around here cuz we're women and boy do women love to gossip.  Me, being a canteen worker, I hear it all.  They come to me with the silliest things.  Each day has it's own rumor.  Rumors get the girls all razzed up; keeps them feeling alive.  Hey, nothing else going on.

Sometimes girls will start rumors just for entertainment and see how it turns out by the end of the day.  A lot of times the officers start rumors like they are leaving the institution but it is only that they are really going on vacation.  They like to see how quickly it spreads.

The greatest rumors are the ones that get started by the smallest detail.  I could get called to admin.  There are different reasons why someone would get called to admin.  It is where the colonel's office is, the wardens, assistant warden and so forth, but if you get called there it is usually not good.  No one likes being called there.  So, say I get called to admin as a canteen worker and just walking through the admin door rumors will start; "did you see her go to admin?" or "she's been in there a long time."

Here are the various things that will rumor around when you get called to admin.:  1.  she's snichin', 2.  they caught her with cigarettes  3.  she's getting UA'd  4.  she probably suckin" someone's _____. 5.  they are firing her from her canteen job  6.  she's going to jail cuz someone wrote a request on her 7.  her mom called and they are putting her under investigation  8.  she's been in there too long now so she is definitely snitchin'.

In all reality I got called down there for a request I wrote about not getting the proper medical care and they were following up on it-or something like that.  But all day those rumors will fly.  It's hilarious because deep down they know they aren't true.  So today's rumor was chicken strips for dinner.  Everyone got all excited and worked up over chicken strips!  NOT.  NOPE.  Never happened.  The whole rumor was that the other compounds have gotten them and we just haven't gotten them yet.  That tickled me today.  The things we believe because we are so hungry for change; for something different on the compound instead of shopping, smoking and fighting.  Everyone is watching for the next big thing they can get excited about.  Best thing to do is stay away and don't get involved and focus on yourself or your life will be one big disappointment after another.

I learned this in prison:  as soon as I start focusing on everyone and everything around me, listening to conversations, watching what they do then it is my first indication that I need to re-focus on myself. 

It is kind of weird because I am highly aware on the outside.  I am always aware of my surroundings, knowing what is going on around me, etc..  Prison teaches you not to be aware; to tune everything out, but to be aware in a different way-aware of the guards and white shirts, but not to pay attention to each other.  It is hard to explain. What I can tell you is that when I get to the free world again it is going to be a challenge readjusting to where my awareness should be.  Like on the outside you would want to notice someone getting hurt so you can help, call police etc..  Here you better not see it and if you do you dare not say anything.  It messes with your mind and your decision making process.  I can definitely see why impressionable people, or people who never knew better don't adjust.  One again it comes to rehabilitation (none) and programs (lack of).  There isn't anything here to reconstruct people's brains to leave here confident and productive.  And the people who do leave here and never come back are very strong people and probably have a lot of family support on the outside and made a change within themselves while they were here.  But there is nothing in prison to facilitate that change in a positive way.  You definitely have to be goal-orientated and have a focused mind to find a path of growth on your own and even still you will learn convict ways for survival.  It just is.

Everyone starts talking about the New Year after the holidays.  What the new year might bring.  Last year was supposed to be the year of jubilee.  A lot of people did go back to court though.  I hope at some point I am one of them.  There appears to be a lot of talk about prison reform and attempts at prison reform that will hopefully make a difference.  It honestly does not take 20, 30 years to feel remorse and to realize the consequences of your actions and to change your brain.  Most crimes are drug-fueled, mental health issues, domestic violence (battered women) and being caught up in the wrong crowd and being there when someone else committed a crime.  I am not making excuses but if you knew the women here you would feel as I do that most of them have learned and just need to go home to their children and their loved ones.  Prison puts a hardship on everyone; the children, the loved ones in every way; financially, spiritually and emotionally. 

As hard as my mom works on her mission to help inmates it is heartbreaking for her to have found how difficult it is to find people who care.  When it comes to helping children, people are eager-same with vets and so forth.  I totally get that.  I wish I could be out there helping also.  But when it comes to helping the mentally ill, drug addicts, alcoholics or prisoners, people are just not eager to help.  I can understand with us prisoners.  We broke a law, committed a crime and disregarded society, our family and ourselves.  Does that mean we don't deserve forgiveness, rehabilitation, compassion, love, support?  Most of the women here didn't have that in the first place.  Some of their childhoods and backgrounds are horrific.  I wish all of you could get to know some of the women here so you could see that we are not the worst thing we have ever done.  We are all so much more than that.