Thursday, March 30, 2017

Colored Pencils, PEP, Patience and Over-Sentencing

😊😊I have a Go Fund campaign to get summer packages for indigent inmates

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 (  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. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Update on Medical

Just an update on medical.  I have been advocating for Sadie's medical to go see a cardiologist.  The warden has been helpful but medical has not.  I have emailed the Director several times and finally they did a sonogram of her heart and she has a heart valve problem.  So, she has an irregular heart beat and a heart valve problem and the Director still told me that they could take care of it and that she would not necessarily be able to see a cardiologist.  I called BS.  She still has not seen a cardiologist but I am on it! 

If Sadie is having side effects, severe or otherwise, from the Coreg, then she needs to notify medical either via a sick call or a medical emergency, depending on the severity.  We cannot know there is something wrong, if she doesn't let us know.

As for the actual medication, she is on 3.125 mg twice daily.  I understand what you have read on the internet, but the internet doesn't know your daughter's specific case.  The provider who wrote her medications has actually seen and examined your daughter and read all of her medical history.

The request for the cardiologist is in, but as I have previously told you, I don't know whether that request will be honored as her symptoms are not showing severe enough to really warrant it at this time.  If they say yes to the cardiologist, then that will be a wonderful thing.  If they do not think she needs the cardiologist, then they will give a suggestion for an alternate treatment plan.  We will have to await that decision to know exactly what the next step in her care will be.

Have a great day,

K. Rebele, HSA
Lowell CI

-----Original Message-----
From: Kathleen Carlin []
Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 8:54 PM
To: Rebele, Katie <>;
Subject: RE: Sadie Robertson's Medical Issues

Ms. Rebele, I just talked to Sadie and she is having severe side effects from the Coreg.  I told her you said it would take  few weeks to begin to work.  Then I looked it up and it said that Coreg should be INDIVIDUALIZED AND MONITORED.  Sadie said she is on 30 mg twice a day (I think I heard her right).  The recommended starting dose of COREG is 6.25 mg twice a day.  If this dose is tolerated using standing systolic pressure measured about 1 hour after dosing as a guide, the dose should be maintained for 7 to 14 days and then increased to 12.5mg twice daily if needed based on trough blood pressure, again using standing systolic pressure 1 hour after dosing as a guide for tolerance.  This dose should be maintained for 7 to 14 days and can then be adjusted to 25mg twice daily if tolerated.  This is really upsetting.  How can a NP prescribe cardiac medication without having a definitive diagnosis and my daughter never having seen a cardiologist and being unaware of the dosage requirements and the fact that it needs monitoring.  My daughter needs to see a cardiologist as soon as possible and you should not be prescribing cardiac medications when you are not a cardiologist.  I am not sure what you want Sadie to do now.  The complications are hypotension and not to stop the medication abruptly.
Ms. Carlin,
I am not allowed to give out the contact information for the doctors who make that decision.  With that in mind, I forwarded your emailed concerns and pretty much begged them to let you skip the line.  I have gotten an email back that they did go ahead and approve the consult, but the paperwork hasn’t processed down the system yet.  I will caution you, that it will still take some time to set up an appointment and get her to that appointment.  So although you can celebrate that we are moving forward, don’t think that she will be off to see the cardiologist on Friday or something.  I will also not be allowed for security reasons to tell you when that appointment is.  Off the top of my head, I don’t know what the backlog is for the cardiologist, but just like in the free world, cardiologists are busy and it takes a few weeks sometimes to get an appointment.
Hope you find this good news,
K. Rebele, HSA
Lowell CI
From: Kathleen Carlin []
Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 8:03 AM
To: Rebele, Katie <>;
Subject: RE: Sadie Robertson's Medical Issues
Ms. Rebels,
Thank you for your quick response.  I will be talking to Sadie tonight and will let her know to do a medical.  With all due respect having an irregular heartbeat and a heart valve problem seems like plenty of grounds to see a cardiologists.  Who makes that decision because I want to advocate to that person for Sadie as her mother.  You must know heart problems are nothing to mess around with.  I am not going to feel comfortable until Sadie sees a cardiologist and gets a definitive diagnosis and I feel only a cardiologist can do that.  Her symptoms are debilitating and I have watched them get worse over the past year.  As I said Sadie is not a complainer but when she could no longer do aerobics and the episodes were happening more and more it started scaring her.  It would not only be wonderful if Sadie saw a cardiologist, it would be the right thing to do.  I know the decision is not up to you so I appreciate your patience with me.  I hope this gets resolved quickly.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

DR's, Officer Harrassment and Our Treatment

Today was truck day.  Our canteen truck delivers to every store.  It's a long day.  I usually unload the entire truck.  Heavy work.  I cannot recall on the outside when another adult was "out for me".  I guess it could happen in jobs but most situations on the outside you have more options to deal with someone not liking you or actually out to hurt you in some way. Well, it happens a lot in prison.  The officers here are just regular people-no special training or advanced courses.  As I have explained before, it is not a difficult job to get and the new ones get younger and younger.  Most now walk in at 18-babies.

I go through periods where an officer will not like me.  There is no good reason for it.  In their minds I am sure it all makes sense to just hate someone for no reason.  Or, they have already made an opinion of me that they won't let go of.  I have a few constant "haters".  All 3 are women my age or older.  All 3 barely ever smile and they speak to inmates disrespectfully.  I often wonder if they get tired of hating people for so much of their time during the day.  These 3 I have become accustomed to them harassing me, making sideways comments at me or just talking shit to my face.  I NEVER speak disrespectfully or sideways back.  If I do respond I stay calm and intelligent.  Each on of them have called me names, accused me of doing something I am not or just plain won't help me when I need them to do their job.

So, recently one of them took my friend to jail.  She said my friend was being disorderly.  Every girl who worked with her that day said she didn't do anything.  The Sgt. wrote her a D.R. (disciplinary report) and had it served to her in jail.  When you get served a DR, they schedule a hearing and in a week or two you will be cuffed from the cell and go in front of admin and plead guilty or not guilty and plead your case.  If they find you guilty they will decide a punishment depending on your history and severity of the DR.  Usually it is D.C. time which means jail time, usually no more than 30 days.  So, this sergeant who does not like me, took my friend to jail-lied about what she did on the DR.  All her inmate co-workers wrote witness statements and in a week it went to hearing.  They threw out the DR and let her go "free".  While she was in jail this sergeant took one of my uniforms from me, harassed me at my job and laughed at me when she saw me in a bigger uniform she had given me.  The officer who worked with this sergeant also called me a "hoe", threatened to go to admin and take my job.  She actually did go to admin and made things up so my canteen would get searched which I don't care.  I don't do dirt.  I told the story in an earlier blog but it upset me so much that it is hard to let go of.

One of the hardest things in prison is to be chastised by another woman your own age, disrespected by them and talked to like you have no value and you have to take it without being able to say anything.  I am not saying all of us inmates don't say anything-a lot of them here are a bit "unruly" and will talk back and then off to jail they go-but I won't no matter how badly it hurts.  I just won't.  I like my job and I have value.  I am a woman who has worth even if I am in prison.  And no matter where I am, even if in prison, I choose to love myself and love them.  I feel sad that women feel that it's ok to hurt another just because of the uniforms they wear.  I have been braving this harassment for awhile now.  And now my friend beat the DR and is out of jail and they take it out on me.  I have never talked out of turn or disrespected an officer.  I have never been in trouble.  I have had a canteen job for 3 years.  You have to be clean and out of trouble to do that.  The behavior is starting to wear on me though.  I don't want to run from it but I really wish I could go to a prison where they at least focus on bringing us up-not tearing us down.  I won't break.  If I didn't break in the Naked Place, I won't break now.  (She is referring to jail when she first got arrested and had cut both arms from wrist to elbow and then tried to hang herself in jail.  The Naked Place is where they put you on suicide watch and you are naked.)

I am simply trying to live as normal a life as I can in prison.  Why do officers choose to be so harmful.  Don't they realize this is our home now?  There is no solace, no comfort, no place I can go here for peace.  I have found the only place for that is within.  When I am doing yoga I am at peace and I am free.

It is so weird because my family and I just want women to feel loved in prison; to have something to do and find some peace and love for themselves.  My family has donated, tried to get programs started here, are attempting to meet with state representatives and we are just trying to get colored pencils so we can color (no crayons allowed).  I am appalled at the behavior of the staff here and shocked by the lack of compassion and concern for our daily lives.  It is a small group of inmates who actually took someone's life and maybe, in you eyes, don't deserve peace-but in my perception, from a loving heart and a child of the Infinite Light (God) I believe every woman here has a right for the opportunity to feel loved and supported.  And Love doesn't live here.  Compassion doesn't live here.  Only malice. 

If you met me you would wonder why anyone could find a reason to treat me like I am nothing-of no worth.  Because we are inmates we have lost the right to be treated with kindness and as equals.  We have lost our right to be human-to feel.  We have lost our voices, our identity and we are doing time without encouragement to come out better than when we came in.  And to add to all of that we are harassed, disrespected, yelled at.  We are their entertainment to do with whatever they feel for the day.  It is truly a sad existence.  I applaud every woman who can stand up and block the negative and find a path to constant self-improvement.  Our spiritual journey on earth is to experience all avenues of human-ness and to constantly be in a state of learning and growth to be the best person we can be each day.  It is a difficult hill to climb.

The thing is it doesn't have to be this way.  We can model prisons after Germany and the Netherlands where prisoners are valued, rehabilitated and given hope.  And until the people on the outside rise up and decide to care about us-care enough to help us-prison will continue to be a sad and damaging place and inmates will keep coming back because they leave more damaged and then face so many obstacles to be able to survive on the outside, especially if they have no support system.  It's just a revolving door.  Most leave here tormented and bitter.  Why is this allowed?  And these women will one day be your neighbor.  Don't you want them to come out healthy, happy and rehabilitated?  Our justice and prison system is a tragedy-a horror story and we continue to turn a blind eye-out of sight; out of mind.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Custody Level, Choices and a Transgender Captain

This week has been good.  I live for doing yoga, being outside and I got a lot of that time in. I am a hippie at heart even though I did not live in the 60's.  I love the earth so much and appreciate being outside even if it is just some grass and sky.  The earth is amazing an alive.  I feel my best outside.

So, I found out my custody level dropped this week.  I don't get into trouble and I have had the same job for 3 years now.  I have approximately 11 years left if I don't win my current appeal.  I am now a 3-2.  Remember the first number is your custody (1 lowest-5highest).  A 3 means medium security and the second number is your housing level.  I am not sure what a 3-2 really means as far as what more I am able to do but I do know that if I had a job that needed to out of the gate 10 (employee gate) that I could now go out it.  You are still behind fences but less fences if that makes any sense.

What this all means is that opportunities open up to be able to go to other places.  Now I could go to other (better) prisons, or different programs maybe.  It all means I am getting closer to home!!!  : ).  I didn't think my custody level would drop anytime soon but it did.  My goal is to get to the work camp with the dogs at the dog program (I worked as a Vet Tech for years).  It's all I want to do.  Canteen is not where its at.  Everyone wants to be a canteen worker.  I do it because it keeps me busy but it is not what everyone thinks it is.

It is hard to look back at my life now that I am in prison.  I am not ashamed anymore, regretful yes, but now it's more of a quick shock.  I have moments of clarity-how the hell did I get here?  In freakin' prison!  So it brings you back-taking a look back how everything we do is a choice.  EVERYTHING.  The smallest things we do are all a choice.  And every small choice we make creates the bigger choices and results in experiences that sometimes we don't want to admit we created.  I created this experience.  And I still shake my head sometimes looking around at a place so sullen, so bleak, so angry and so out of control and inconsistent.  Who thought up prison anyway?  You should check out the prisons in Germany (mom has a link on her website  Now that's rehabilitation. 

I spoke with an officer today and he said that this is the worst place he has ever worked.  We have 4 shifts with 4 different captains who do 4 different things.  We inmates have to learn the nuances and expectations of each shift so we know what we can do and cannot do.  NOTHING is ever the same.  Like tonight-we know we can hang our laundry to dry in our cells from paper clips and that the cell doors will pop open at 3:15 am to start showers.  Our sergeant wants all mop buckets and brooms in the closet to be locked up over night and she won't bother us about petty stuff.  Now the other night shift-completely different!  We can't stand it.  Don't hang clothes.  Don't have anything out.  If it is not stored in your locker it is getting taken.  Lights on all evening until 11pm and doors pop at 5am so everyone has to cram showers by 7am (80 people).  One night relax-the other night don't relax.

Few days later:

The last few days have been hard.  I have been "taunted" by an officer.  I won't use the work hara--ed cuz if we use that word here we can end up in confinement.  It is a female officer.  She called me a "hoe" and threatened to take me from my canteen job.  This all started when I asked the laundry workers where one of their co-workers was.  The laundry sergeant took her to jail for no good reason-so we were all joking lightly about it.  The officer who started in on me wasn't even the one who took her to jail.  She started going off-"if you gonna be INDIRECT then I'm right here".  She started in on the whole "I'll be the one".-she'll remove me from my canteen job.  How I am a hoe who knows better and I better not be indirect because she is the wrong one to be indirect with etc. etc.

I didn't say a damn thing back.  She went crazy and the workers said she was still going off back at work.  Then later in the evening I was coming from my store after a  long long day with truck deliveries and she was coming down the center walk and I attempted to keep my eyes down and walk right by-NOPE-she headed straight for me.  Mind you this is hours later.  She started in again.  That I better be careful who I speak around that I can call my mom, grandma or aunty cuz she don't care cuz she had a boss in admin and as dirty a I am in my job-she knows everything and she'll take me down etc.  I said to her that I believe she is mistaken about the kind of person I am.  She didn't let me talk and kept putting her finger in my face telling me to stop looking at her all crazy, etc.  I just shut up and let her do her thing.  Basically her rant said, if I call my mom she will do everything in her power to take my job. 

I have had enough with this compound.  She was belligerent, rude, downgrading, excessive and threatening.  I better watch out?  For what?  I didn't do anything to this woman.  And if you all knew what really goes on with these so-called officers and sergeants up at laundry you wouldn't believe that someone in a "professional" position is allowed to act like they do.  The sergeant calls me a chick and won't give me the proper clothes for exchange if anything.  I have been down 5 years and I have never gotten a towel from laundry.  Not one.  I always have to buy a towel off of someone.

It is amazing how much we learn to take here.  I never in my life thought I would be yelled at so close spit was hitting my face-being put down and not allowed to say a word.  They say that inmates get institutionalized.  The staff does also.  They spend 20 years here-12 hours a day.  I see them talk to families at visit just the same way they do inmates.  I am appalled at the staff behavior here.  I have NEVER been in trouble on this compound.  I have a job and have had it for 3 years for a reason.  For her to tell me I'm dirty and make accusations to try and scare me is absurd, unprofessional and immature.  Where is the understanding and compassion here?  I have NEVER disrespected any staff member or inmate.  It is sad that no matter how good I am, I am always reminded that I am nothing more than an inmate.  I need to get off this compound and go to a better prison. 

Another issue has arisen.  We have a partial transgender captain.  We have watched this woman in the past few years go from officer to captain and at the same time go from a woman to a man.  She has had her breasts removed and has a mustache.  There are many lesbians here and everyone else is very open.  I mean really-we are the ones in prison so nobody is judging her.  In the last year her appearance looks completely like a man.  You would not know she was ever a woman.  When I was in PREA (falsely-another story) I would watch out of my cell door-when a girl got pepper sprayed-they have to be on camera the whole time they are cuffed and brought to the shower.  When the girl gets in the shower the women officers stay and film and the male officers leave.  This almost transgender woman leaves with the men.  So, we all started thinking she had the surgery.  So, we ask the other officers how are we supposed to address her "yes ma'am" or "yes sir".  Nobody can tell us!  So some have asked her and she said she doesn't care.  We are so confused!  So then this girl I live with comes in-she is an orderly for the confinement dorm.  The orderlies have to be stripped in and stripped out for the job to make sure they are not bringing in contraband.  They have to get naked, check their mouth, breasts, bottom of your feet and then bend over, spread and cough hard 3 times (I have to strip in and out for my job also-it SUCKS!)  So, she comes in and starts telling us what happened to her for the day and tells us that this particular captain who looks just like a man has stripped her out 3 times in two days!!  What?  None of us knew she was doing that or was allowed to do that.  The girl asked the LT about it and he said that she was hired as a woman so she can do all the woman duties until we have to address her as a man.  So it confirmed that she has not had the surgery-but we find it totally inappropriate.  This isn't a butch woman.  She takes testosterone, has a mustache, no boobs and acts and sounds just like a man.  She is a step away from having a penis.  If a new inmate did not know they would be freaking out getting stripped out by a man.  What the hell is going on?  The focus of this prison is so backward and so wrong.

We don't have anything to look forward to when we wake up.  My motivation is to be my best; but not everyone feels that way.  Most wake up to join the drama of the day.  This compound needs to change.  My friend's sister just died at 52 of liver disease.  She did not receive anything; no grief counseling, no chaplain, no "I'm sorry your sister passed".  Women in here deal with things all on their own.  She is distraught, upset and she still has to wake up everyday to insensitivity, go to work, not get paid, put on a smile and think about her sister later.  Love and compassion do not live here.  No wonder nobody sticks together in prison.  It is not even organized chaos.  It just is what it is.  We have a senator coming.  Will he talk to any of us-NO!  We will be locked down until he leaves.  The staff is scrambling right now to make everything look good.  Out of sight, out of mind.

When I get out of here I am going to get into the political arena-become an activist for women in prison and make a difference for inmates and families.  I won't be afraid.  I won't care what people think.  I will do what is right.  And I promise you I will have paid my dues with a 20 year sentence.  If any of you are concerned if we are being punished enough-we are.  Every minute of every day.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Yazmin's Story and Game Month

This month is Game Month.  You can send a game to any of the facilities named at  They always need them.

Hello, my name is Yazmin Garcia (H41984). I am 23 years old and I have been incarcerated since I was 17. I am currently serving a 16 year sentence. I was originally sentenced to 20 years but took it back to court and was re-sentenced by the Grace of God. It had been a true blessing for me.

I grew up in a good home. I had it all with a loving family. But I chose the ruthless lifestyle of the street when I was only 12 years old. At the time I was growing up in the ghetto of Polk County, Haines City, Florida. Later my family “up-graded” and moved to Auburndale, Florida, but I still continued to hang out with “Bad People”. I began partying, fighting and doing stuff I had no business doing. I was always into some kind of mess. Always in trouble which led me to be in and out of the system as a juvenile. I always got away with what I was doing and destroying until I was 17 years old. I got caught up in a home invasion and armed robbery gone wrong. It was my first, and of course, my last time. I thought I was that “gangster”, “badass”, “unstoppable Yasmin”. I thought I knew it all. 

Looking back I realize that my mother knew best and tried to save me from myself. I remember when I was 13 and I was about to earn my “flag” into a gang but my mother must have realized the danger was near to me because she found out and sent me to a strict relative in hopes that I would gain some sense and discipline in my life. I was close to taking a life: being involved in that gang but I see how God stepped in and kept me from all of that. I am so grateful.

Now I sit here and wish that I could take everything back, to start over. I use to think that drugs were cool and fun to do. I knew it was an easy way to escape my pain and struggle I hid inside. With everything going on in my home. I had family problems and I never had communication with my family. My parents never took the time to ask me, “how's school” or “how are you?”. They never said “I love you” or “I'm proud of you”. It was like living with robots; mechanically going through day to day. We never sat down to have conversations as a family and I use to yearn for that connection with them that I found easily in the “gang family”. At home I felt unimportant and pressured to do good and to do what I was told. It caused me to rebel and I decided to take on a “whatever” attitude and just do my own thing. “Whatever Yasmin Wanted”. I thought that would make up for the pain and loneliness that caused my emptiness inside-but I was wrong. The only medicine I need is God in my life.

In just a “blink of an eye” I lost everything. I lost my family and home. Now I am stuck doing time behind these gates and walls. I share a tiny space with a stranger and there is no privacy whatsoever. I am always being told what to do, what to eat and even when to sleep and more. I hate that I have lost all control of my life, but what I can control is how I do “my time for my crime” and I have chosen to grow in spite of this place. I have taken full responsibility for my mistakes. This was and is a hard lesson learned that I will never forget. Coming to prison has matured me to take life serious, to be a wonderful young woman and I am still growing for the better.

Now my family and I have an awesome connection and the rest of my family has made sure to be more affectionate and close to their children because I finally decided to open up about what put me in the mindset that lead me here. I pray that after you read this that you think about the choices you make because the wrong one can take your life in a moment. I would love to have another chance. I would have reached out to my family and opened up to my parents instead of reaching out to the streets and “friends” that seemed to love me and care about who I am.

If you are lost and lonely out there, please reach out to someone good, someone who won't touch you the ways of destruction. If your a troubled teen, reach out to your family and parents. They care even if they are caught up in life. Don't be afraid. You can do this. Avoid making the mistakes I made. If you're a parent and your child is acting out, stop telling them what to do and reach out to them with love instead. Find out what is troubling them inside-chances are they just want and need more of you and your love. Be supportive, interested and understanding. It will make all the difference. Show them you care, talk to them, spend time with them. It really is that simple.