Saturday, November 29, 2014

Day 30 (10/22/14) “For reals Homie"

It’s Wednesday, hump day ! I can’t wait to call and ask my Son what day it is. I love it when he say “Hump Daaayyyy” ! He's so funny ! 
Another new deputy today. We have had a new deputy for the past 4 days. This one is a good one, she gives us our full day room time and time in the morning and afternoon. This housing unit must have a really bad reputation. I guess not too many deputies like working this housing unit. Our deputy today included. Maybe it’s all the grievances the inmates file on the deputies. I have watched the Sergeants empty the complaint box (once a week) and it’s full with 20-30 complaints every time. I am sure the majority are about all the lockdowns. 
My Husband ordered me a book to read. It was delivered here on Friday, 10/17/14. I have been asking everyday for it. I have still yet to receive it (Today is 10/22). It’s supposed to be delivered the next day, just like our emails. So, I should have gotten it on Sunday at the latest. It’s frustrating because you are on lockdown like 90% of the day and books pass the time. Yet, you can’t get any books around here. When I asked about getting books, I was told the Chaplin comes around 2-3 times a week to rotate books throughout the housing units. I have yet to see these books. So, I figured they really don’t deliver them throughout the week, just on Saturdays. I saw the Chaplin collect two big bags of books out of the deputy’s storage closet. The Chaplin asked the deputy if they were done with the bags of books, the deputy said to "go ahead and take them, we don’t need them right now". Are you kidding me ?? They have had books for us the entire time and refused to put them out for us ! Everyone in this unit is dying to find a new book to read. We are like vultures when someone finishes a book. When I leave this unit, I will be donating all my books to this housing unit. A gift from Sisters for a Second Chance. 
So, after lunch today, my new bunkmate is talking my face off. She’s nice and all, but I want to tell her my name is not “homie”. She says “for reals homie” way too much. During her numerous stories, she proceeds to tell me that before she was locked up, she was homeless. So, she applied for public assistance and she gets $551 a month in food stamps and assistance, along with medi-cal, and that’s while she’s IN jail. So, she’s going to have $3000 just waiting for her when she gets out. I am thinking, are you serious ? Tax payers are paying for you to be in jail and your public assistance ? It didn’t seem right to me. Again, our system is really broken. I do feel for her, that money could be used to get back on track and start a new life. A second chance. But, I would not be surprised to see her back on the streets again and buying drugs. Our system needs a complete overhaul. Badly.

We had mail call and I received 5 emails. My Daughter, my Sister, my Husband, and two from my Dad. My roommate said “I’ll get them , they’re all for you”. Like always, I felt bad. I know I am very blessed. My roommate may have pissed me off with the toilet paper "sale", but she’s a decent bunkmate. She’s nice and has a good sense of humor. She shared her story with me tonight be fore bed. She tells me, for the entire time she’s been in here, she’s never received an email from her Mom and and I could tell that really hurt her. That’s so sad. She said her Dad died when she was three. She said he was a Crip and was shot to death. Her Mom was on the streets doing drugs and in a gang. Her Mom just never grew up and took care of her and her siblings. She’s been homeless and her younger sister is also serving time. She had her first baby at 16. He most recent Son was in foster care for 8 months before her Grandma came and got him to raise him while she’s in jail. I am listening to her and thinking, did she ever have a chance ? It’s so very sad and to think the streets and this life she leads is all she knows. Now, she’s just lost in this system. I hope she gets a second chance when she gets out of here. Hope she goes home to her Son and becomes the Mom hers never was. To be locked up and never taught the way to live a clean life seems like such a waste. We are sitting in here doing nothing. There has to be a way to break the chain. I hope one day I'll be able to make an impact on an inmate and help them re-direct their life. There has to be a way. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving .... almost. A post from Husband.

We knew this would be a tough one. Thanksgiving. I do love Thanksgiving though. Supposed to really let you know that winter is coming and Christmas craziness is about to really get going. As a family, we would run about to Family houses. Maybe a dinner here and run over there for dessert. Usually the dessert stop would be where my Wife and her Sister would make their strategic Black Friday attack plan. Spread out all the ads on the table and decide which stores to brave and at what time. Always very entertaining to watch. My Daughter joined that tradition a couple of years ago.
Now, my Sister in law and my Daughter keep the tradition going. Waiting for my Wife's return. The best part of their trip was once they returned, you got to hear the crazy stories. All hyped up from the battle and full of Starbucks coffee. So entertaining.
We were happy that Thanksgiving was on a day that she is available for visits. We (the kids and I) decided we would skip our Monday visit and use it for Thanksgiving. I had even asked the deputy last time we were there if they had visits on holidays and she said "If she has a visit normally on that day, then yes, of course. We never close". Well, I guess they changed their mind. Our visit was denied. Got up extra early Wednesday morning to schedule online. Kept getting the dreaded message.

I was starting to panic. Almost in tears. I needed to call to find out what was happening. But, can't call until 10am. I made it to 10am and called. Of all days, I get someone that does not want to help me or even want to be there. Ugh ! She finally told me that my Wife was not getting any visitors on Thanksgiving. I kept asking her why. She stumbled through whatever she was trying to make up. Lost cause. Bottom line, no visit. What the hell am I going to tell my kids ?  What am I going to tell my Wife ? 
I feel like I failed. I feel that way a lot. I told the kids. We were all sad, but we made it. My Wife ended up calling and I let her know. She figured there would be no visit. They were on facility lockdown last night. No problems, no nothing. Just understaffed. Scheduled deputies took the time off. I understand, it's Thanksgiving. Time for family. Time to share, time for traditions. God forbid the Mom's that are locked up in her housing see their families. Just another day at Las Colinas. Thanksgiving...almost. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Day 29, Part 2 (10/29/14) Not on my watch !

I got my new roommate last night. She moved into my old bed in cell 27 when her current roommate got a 2 day lockdown. But, I guess she couldn’t get along with my old bunkmate. So, the deputy moved her in with me, actually right next door to cell 27. She’s been here a while and seems alright. She sleeps most of the day, so that’s alright by me. She told me her release date is November 24th. She has one last month to go. She’s been in this housing unit for 5 months. I can’t imagine, 5 months of lockdown hell ! I asked her why she was stuck in this housing unit. She said she had lots of write ups. (remember, this housing is a behavioral housing unit. I am here strictly because of overflow). She’s had 50 write ups, mostly for fighting. She’s been in and out of jail since she was 18 years old. She’s 23 now and this has been her longest stay. I’ll have to keep my eye on this one. 
Another new deputy again. She splits the time out. At least we’ll get the afternoon, so I can see the sun today and don’t have a straight 10 hour lockdown. Think about that. I am grateful to see the sun. I will never again take for granted these types of things. So simple, but when it's taken away, devestating. I have made it a month here, but I’m still not use to all the lockdown, don’t think I’ll ever be. 

We had the first evening shift, so I immediately called my family. Had a nice conversation. After my phone call, I head upstairs to get my pencils and I realize that all of our toilet paper is gone. So, I am pissed that someone came into our cell and stole it. Toilet around here is like gold, very valuable. You get one roll a day and have to turn in your empty roll to get a new roll. You can only get toilet paper during the day room time. So, if you run out, you’re screwed. Some of the deputies refuse to give it to you. Because they just don’t care. There was one night, two girls were out and they begged the deputy for a roll and she told them “no”. Then, her cellmate was on the toilet and she begged again. The deputy refused and I guess her cellmate had to do what she had to do, she used her sock. Of course that got stuck in the toilet and maintenance had to come out the next day. All over a roll of toilet paper. I was able to convince our deputy to give us a new roll, even though she did not want to. She could see there was no TP in our cell at all. So she did. Once I see my new roommate, I tell her how someone stole our TP, she proceeds to tell me she let someone borrow it because they had none. They told her they’d put the roll in front of our door when done. I am thinking to myself, are you kidding me ? Either you are lying or an idiot ! After talking to some of my “aquaintenances”, they laughed and said “bullshit, she sold your toilet paper ! “ I was not very happy. She just moved in, this is not a good first impression. I guess I need to realize where I am. I just don’t have that type of thinking. Hope I never do. In the meantime, I got the extra roll and hid it. This way she can’t sell it. I don’t have a problem kicking her ass to the curb ! There will be no selling toilet paper on my watch ! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Day 29, Part 1 (10/21/14) Counting and refuse to be forgotten..

It’s been exactly 4 weeks since my arrival at this fine establishment. In the last 4 weeks, I have had 5 roommates, stayed in 3 different cells, read 7 books, had 4 inspections, 7 visits. I have made 48 phone calls, written over 40 letters, consumed 7 bananas, I have spent $240 on phone time, been through 2 facility lockdowns, bought 20 stamped envelopes, and 8 postcards. I have made 15 inmate requests, received 62 emails, and have spent 556 hours in lockdown (out of 696 total hours). 
It’s been a long and difficult month. But, I made it ! I have had a roller coaster ride of emotions over the last 4 weeks. Highs, lows, extreme lows, sadness, anger, hopelessness, loneliness, guilt, and desperation. But, in the end, I made it. I was able to push through it all. All thanks to my wonderful family. Their love and support along the way is amazing and every time I was down, they were always there to pick me up. 
I am also thankful for the 5 roommates I’ve had so far on this journey. They have each touched me in their own way and I will never forget any of them. Each one always had compassion and support for me whenever I was down. Though they had their flaws, quirks, and drove me crazy sometimes, they are good women deep down inside. Like myself, who made a mistake, they deserve a second chance. I hope that when they leave here, they will find that second chance and turn their lives around. I wish them the best, they deserve it. 
I have found this new inner strength and I am keeping it together more. Starting to feel good inside again. I refuse to be lost in the system and forgotten. I refuse to let this bring me down. I know I have so much to offer and my family is counting on me. So, I am determined to stay focused and strong through all this. Before I was sentenced. I bought myself this inspirational card to send myself while I was locked up. My Husband emailed it to me and I read it every morning to give me the strength to make it yet another day.

A New Start

The page once written has been read, the chapter closed and done.
Time now to leave behind regret and walk out towards the Sun.
It rises to another day, that’s brighter than the last.
Leave all bitterness behind, you have divorced the past. 
Be positive about your life, the changes you’ve been through.

In turn you’ll come to recognize, you’ve found the stronger you. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A letter from Mom...

"I miss you all so very much. I think of you always and and I am so very sorry that you even have to experience this. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about the poor choices I made and how they have affected you. Unfortunately, I cannot change the past. What's done is done. But, I can choose my my future and I promise you that there will be no more poor choices. I will be the best Mom and Wife I can be. That's all I ever wanted, is to love you and be super Mom. In the process, I stumbled and failed. But, I am picking myself up and dusting off the dirt and going forward I will be a better person, better Mom, better Wife, better Sister, better Daughter, and better Friend.
I can't wait to be home with you all. I miss us. I miss our family. We will all be together again soon. We will get through this sad, tough time, and will be closer and stronger than ever. You 3 mean the world to me. You're my world, my life, my strength. Your love and support get me through each day. I would do anything for you. I love you so very much. Always and forever. Please don't forget how much I love you all. Love Mom"

Friday, November 21, 2014

Day 28 (10/20/14)

Monday morning. I wake up to a quiet empty cell. No new roommate yet. It’s kind of nice to have some quiet time and the cell to yourself. I am just hoping roommate number 5 is a good one. I would really like some that’s in the same situation or similar situation as myself. Normal, a Mom, a good person just wanting to do their time and go home. No trouble, no problems, no issues, and please be sane ! 
I got a single email last night from my Husband. I needed it. I was really sad and lonely. I read it again this morning. He says he was talking to my Son and telling him how lucky he was to have met me. I am thinking it’s the other way around. I am the lucky one. I ask myself, what did I do to deserve someone as wonderful as him ? He has stayed by my side through all this and loves me so much. I am very lucky and can’t wait to get home. I am so ready for this chapter in my life to be over and a new chapter to begin.  
New deputy today. Had laundry first thing this morning. Got a clean uniform. I went down a size in my shirt. Must be a good sign. We had the AM shift out from 8-10:30am. It was really nice, but after lunch we were on lockdown until dark. We were out first shift last night, so tonight we won’t get out until 8:30pm. That’s 9.5 straight hours of lockdown, in a cell by myself. Still no new roommate. 
At lunch today, one of the girls told me what she uses to make dice. I am going to try to make them this afternoon. That should help pass the time. I am just about done with my last book. My other books haven’t arrived yet. I was dreading this afternoon, but I found someone with a book and she let me borrow it. What a life saver. Not sure how good it is, but I don’t care. 
Finished reading “The Best of Me” after dinner. What an excellent book. The story was amazing. I am passing it on to my neighbor. I have been sharing books with her. She loves Nicholas Sparks, so she’s super excited to read it. I hope some books arrive soon, I’m running out of things to read. I didn’t even get to read the newspaper this morning. First thing this morning, some selfish bitch takes it and puts it in their cell. It’s supposed to be shared. I don’t know why they steal it. 95% of the women in here just want to read their horoscope. Only a few of us actually read the paper and care what’s going on in the world. Unless my horoscope says I’m going home, I don’t care ! 
I was successful on my dice making. It was actually fun. Crafts relax me. Now, I’m trying to figure out what else I can make and create in here. The supplies are limited, but nothing is impossible. 

I made it through the long lockdown, stayed strong, and powered through the day. Still no new roommate. We will see what tomorrow brings. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Emails for my Wife, words to help survive...

I'll be thinking about you ALL day and the minutes within the day ! You see, I never leave you Babe. I'm always there. I'm always loving you. I never stop. I never give up. You helped me become what I have become. Strong. I love you so much. Here I am, with you, all the time. Love S... 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day 27 (10/19/14) 535 Hours ...

It’s Sunday. Let’s go Chargers ! I miss watching football. Really wish I could be home watching football with my Husband. We sure had a lot of fun over the years watching the Chargers. I sure miss it.
We have a corporal on duty today (higher ranking than the deputies). I am sure everyone will be on their best behavior. She split the morning and afternoon time between both tiers. So, an hour and a half each time. These are the days I like the best. Makes it easier when you get out in the AM and PM. Top tier got the second shift, so I got to watch the second half of the Charger game. There was 1:47 left in the game and I hear “Times up Ladies, head back in”. What a bummer. So, I missed the end of the game. Don’t even know who won. 
The top tier has been getting very calm and peaceful lately. I think it’s because the majority of the trouble makers are downstairs now. 
I am looking forward to our 3 hours out tonight. Hope all goes well. It would be nice if we could get all 3 hours more often. We are supposed to have dayroom time from 7-10am, 1-4pm, and 7-10pm daily. That’s 9 hours out a day. Only 15 hours of lockdown a day. It sure would make my days easier if we got the full time. I sure wish I could be doing something productive, but I’ll take whatever I can get. I just want the 20-21 hours of lockdown to end. I did the math, for the last 26 days (624 hours), we have been in lockdown 535 hours and out of our cells for 84 hours. We average about 3 hours a day. 4 hours is a great day and 2 hours is a bad day. When you look at it like that, it’s crazy. I am shocked at the numbers. I wonder why it has to be that way ? Mental punishment ? Trying to teach us a lesson ? Make us “programmable” ? Not sure how that’s going to work. 

Of course we didn’t get the full 3 hours as promised. Deputy changed her mind. We got an hour and a half. There were a lot of complaints and grumbles. I think I even heard the threat of a grievance. But, no trouble. Everyone just went back to their cells disappointed. Once I got back to my cell, my roommate, who had been waiting all weekend to get bailed out, finally made bail and was going home. She was so happy. She hated the lockdowns. She was starving. Didn’t eat anything. She gave me a hug before she left and then she was gone. Another acquaintance. I have the cell to myself tonight. It’s kind of sad and lonely. I am really missing my family right now. I miss and love my Husband and kids so much. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day 26 (10/18/14) Same old....

It’s Saturday Morning. Saturdays mean the weekend for most people, but in here, it’s just another day. All the days are the same. Really, the only days to really care about are laundry day, commissary, and what’s on the menu for that day. Thursdays are chocolate cake with dinner day (only day I east dessert) and Sunday's breakfast is scrambled eggs with chirizo (the only breakfast I eat and look forward to). 
No inspection today, so that means inspection tomorrow. We got off easy because I don’t think this deputy will be back. Too bad, I really liked her. 

I had an amazing visit with my Husband and Son last night. I actually laughed and had a good time with my Son. He showed off his new shoes he bought with his birthday money. Really cool black high tops ! We laughed our butts off at a funny story I shared with him. He did some tricks for me wit his new Kendama (wood toy with a wooden ball attached to a string). It was a really good time. I love seeing my boys. My visits always put me in a good place.  This week started really rough on Monday, but everyday there after got better and I kept my head up. 
I got a trip to medical today. I had a mandatory psych evaluation to make sure I was doing ok. I got to leave, not only my cell, but the housing unit ! I got a wonderful stroll outside. It felt great to be walking around outside. I need to go to medical more often ! You get to sit in a nice, peaceful, open waiting room with a TV. Medical was a treat from the nightmare I live in. When I talked to the doctor, I told her I was fine, that lockdown was hard, but I was fine. Mental Health Housing is one man cells, 24 hour lockdown. NO thank you ! I am just fine with my 20+ hours a day lockdown. No medical assistance needed here ! I also turned down meds that they seemed eager to pass out. Sure, I would like something to help me just sleep away the time, but I want to be the same person I was when I get out of here. My Husband and kids need the same Wife and Mom that said goodbye to them on 9/23 to come back home. Not some doped up zombie, so I will fight everyday on my own not to get wrapped up in that world. I promised my family I will come back the same woman but even stronger. My only regret leaving medical was not asking about moving housing units for medical reasons. Might have to consider that next time. 
Before dinner, I asked the deputy about becoming an inmate worker. I would have been picked and working already, but because I am a DOC (Dept. of Corrections) Transfer, I am not eligible. Transfer means that I am basically on hold there, then I’ll go to receiving, then off to a work camp or State Prison. Anyway, I thanked the deputy and walked away quickly so I didn't cry. I figured that was going to happen, but I had to give it a try and give it everything I had. I am really out of options. I am stuck here, in this unit until I am transferred. I am not sure if I can do two more months of this. It’s pure torture. I am really going to think about what to do next. I am proud of myself, the news was disappointing and I did cry, but I let it pass and moved on. I didn’t let the news devastate me or get me too depressed. So, I am definitely moving in the right direction and staying strong. That’s all I can so, just keep staying strong. 

This evening, there was a new Stephen King movie on Lifetime called “Big Driver” they have been advertising for weeks. Well, everyone wanted to watch it, but we always have to split the night. So, that’s 30 minutes each for each tier and the movie is 2 hours. The bottom tier got the first shift. I was glad because the movie started at 8pm, so we would get to see the majority of it. But, the girls downstairs convinced the deputy to let us all watch the entire movie. The deputy announced we are watching a movie, if there were any problems, we were all on lockdown the rest of the week. She’s here, but if we do well and behave, we can all be out for the full three hours tomorrow. I am hoping no one blows it !
Well, there’s always one bad apple in the bunch. First she was irritated because the bottom tier got an extra hour, so she’s popping off about that. Sure it sucks, but be grateful for what we do get. Most of the deputies don’t even give us a chance.  Nor do they give us more than an hour. This is a great opportunity. The girl goes outside, while the majority of us are now enjoying the movie. Well, the same girl ends up at the window. She says she was just messing around, but the deputy told her to get away from the window. There’s no communicating to other inmates in other housing units. That’s a really big no no here. The deputy only warned her to get away from the window and don’t attempt to communicate to the other inmates in the housing across the way. All she had to do was walk away, but no, she gets all mouthy and dis-respectful. She is popping off about how she wasn’t trying to communicate with anyone. Blah, blah, blah. I am dying inside. I want to yell at her and say “Shut the hell up ! You’re going to screw this up for all of us. You may not care, but I do !” She didn’t need to run her mouth like that, with her nasty bad attitude. The deputy only sent her to her cell. Lockdown ! Dumb mistake ! The rest of the night was quiet and enjoyable. The best part was when the deputy not only wrote her up, but also moved her downstairs for a 2 day lockdown. Serves her right. Will they ever lean to just shut up and do what your told ?  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day 25 (10/17/14) A better way...

We have a new deputy this morning and she splits the time. Hour and a half in the morning and the afternoon. Happy Friday ! Hope today is a good day. Morning was fine. Our deputy is very strict, but I like it. She keeps everyone in line, The deputies that let stuff slide, allow the girls to run loose and it’s chaotic. With this deputy, you can actually here the tv because everyone is behaving. 
Of course after lunch. one of the three cleaning spray bottles is missing. So, until it shows up, we won’t get any dayroom time this afternoon. Re-reading what I’ve been writing, sure does sound like junior high, almost elementary school. Anyway, that bottle better show up. I know it’s downstairs. Because, all three were there when the top tier went in. There is definitely cause for concern, because I guess they caught someone drinking the cleaning stuff ! What the heck is wrong with people ?! Well, obviously there was a mental issue there. But, I really wish these women would just follow the rules here. I am surrounded by women that just don’t care about anyone or themselves. No respect at all. That damn bottle better show up ! They have cameras here. It should show up on video. It’s upsetting to be lumped and generalized all together. We are all not the same. We all didn’t commit the same crime. Everyone has different circumstances and none of that is taken in to consideration There are those of us who will not become repeat offenders. There are those of us who do care and want to get back to our families. Just be a contributing member of society again.There are those who do have drug / alcohol problems or mental health issues that need help and treatment. The system pushes us through like cattle instead of looking at each individual and assessing them accordingly. Those of us who do care, want to accept our consequences and do what's right, should not be with those who are repeat offenders and do not want to change or get help. I have already seen and have had bunkmates that talk about how to manipulate the system. I have no doubt that those inmates will repeat and be back here. I believe in second chances, but for only those who really want it and will take advantage of it. The sentencing and punishment are the same. The system just generalizes all criminals together. Not looking at each individual and their circumstance. I’m not saying people should not be punished, but you can’t lump them all together and give them set sentences. The punishment should fit the crime and the person. Again, why put a tax payer in prison for a non-violent, first time offense ? You just cost the tax payers double. Loss of taxes being paid and having to pay for them to sit in prison ($62k / yr in CA). I am sure the money could be spent on improving schools, parks, streets. The prisons should be used for the violent crimes and repeat offenders. There needs to be more rehabilitation programs, work furlough, and work camps, etc for non-violent crimes. Punish them so they don’t commit the crime again. But don’t punish the tax payers and the families in the process. The District Attorney doesn’t care, they just want a conviction. When the sentence is given, the family is also serving the sentence. Again, they need to look at each circumstance before continuing to overcrowd the jails and prisons. It’s very traumatic for the families left behind. They are the ones that are ALWAYS overlooked. I think families should be taken into consideration too. When sentenced, a family is separated, children left without a parent, an income gone, financial hardship, a spouse left behind. It’s devastating. Yet again, putting the burden on the tax payers. The loss of income leads most families to public assistance. The cost to tax payers is alarming. As a tax payer, I want my taxes to go to the schools my kids attend, the streets I drive on, the libraries and parks I go to. Not housing more inmates and funding more welfare. Especially, when it can be prevented by other alternative punishments and programs. 

Spray battle was found ! We got our afternoon dayroom time ! This deputy is not to be messed with. You are crazy if you can think you can sneak something by her. We are not allowed to take any food, from any of our meals into our cells. At lunch today, one of the girls brought down her trash and emptied it and proceeded to fill up with everyone’s leftover lunch. Meat, cheese, bread fruit, milk, mayo, and cookies. The trash bag was completely full. She thinks she can take it all up like an empty trash bag. Well, today, the deputy came up and unlocked our doors individually after giving us one warning to not have food in our cells. The deputy caught her. She was busted. She got a huge write up. She had to move to the bottom tier. The sergeant came and talked to her and she is now on lockdown for a few days. She also lost her shot at becoming an inmate worker. Just not worth it at all. I am enjoying this deputy kicking ass and taking names, It’s nice, this housing unit needs a reality check and guess what ? She’s (deputy) back tomorrow ! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Day 24 (10/16/14) Moving on...

5am. Today started like any other day. I woke up up, got washed, cleaned up the cell, made my bed, started reading, and doing a little writing. Bottom tier got the AM shift, so I am preparing for my day of lockdown. We won’t get out until 1 or 2 this afternoon. I really don’t like the AM or PM only, but, it is what it is. We have this particular deputy a lot. It’s frustrating, she gives us so little time out of lockdown. She works a 12 hour shift and in the 12 hours, she interacts with us 3-4 hours (2 hours per tier, if that). It’s almost a little out of hand. What is she doing the other 8-9 hours ? We are supposed to get out 3 hours in the AM and 3 hours in the PM. Today we got 1 hour in the afternoon and had lunch in our cells. I keep praying everyday for that call “B**** roll up, you’re moving”. That call came today, this morning the deputy called our cell and told me to “roll up”. I thought “oh my gosh, I get to work !”. Then I clarified with her that I was only moving cells again. Why ? I have to move again. At first, I got scared. Was I moving to to cell 19 ? Cell 19 is the crazy cell. That is where the real crazies have been. They have a lot of problems with the people in that cell and just the other night, they were going to switch up an inmate with cell 19 and she begged the deputy, she told her “I will roll up because you gave me a direct order, but I will go to lockdown before going to cell 19. She got to stay. They ended up just moving one of the girls in 10 out of this unit. For safety reasons, they should not be here. They should be in the one man cells in mental health. I asked the deputy if I was staying on the top tier, she said yes. I asked what cell ? She responds with “you’ll see”. WTF ! I start packing my stuff up and my bunkmate freaks out. She’s crying, she’s yelling, she is begging the deputy “Please, please don’t move her !!” Deputy responds “Why ?” My bunkmate says “Because she’s a good person, I don’t want anyone else ! Please deputy, let her stay. I promise to be good. I won’t give you any trouble. Let her stay”. Oh my gosh, it was so sad. She started making me cry.  It’s true, we were comfortable. She was my rummy partner. We had our routine and it was good. She ended up being the best roommate I’ve had so far. She had her moments, but she wasn’t a bad person. I am going to miss playing cards and I will always be thankful for all the information and advice she gave me on prison. I hope she gets out of here soon and gets her life turned around. With all the begging and crying, the deputy sent the sergeant up here to move me. I was moving next door to cell 26. When they opened it up, no one was in there. The previous 2 girls were gone. I had the cell to myself. At first I panicked. I thought they picked the new workers and I didn’t get picked. So, I got upset. But when I went downstairs for toilet paper, the deputy talked to me. She said that I was “normal” and that I needed to get away from my roommate. She said my roommate was out of control and not right. So, I did feel better after the explanation. The two girls that were in this cell were transferred to county parole. So, I was ok for the moment. The deputy promised to give me a normal roommate, but we’ll see about that. For now, I will enjoy the cell to myself. First thing I did was clean the heck out of this cell before I unpacked. This place was filthy. But, when I was done, it was spotless. The only thing left to do, was sweep and mop. I finally unpacked, did my cell exercises, and read. Now, I will just wait and see what the rest of the day brings me. Like I have a choice. 
It was a rough day. Only got out for one hour, from 2:30pm - 3:30pm. Then got 5 minutes to get dinner and bring it back to our cells to eat. I absolutely hate lockdown. But, I pushed through the day and made it without getting too down. My Husband tells me he’s always worried about me. He says he’s scared that I’ll succumb to the cruelty of lockdown. The 2 hours of time I get out of my cell. The “no structure” and never knowing when you get out of the cell. I think he has some good points. But, I know I’ll make it. 

I got a new roommate. She’s young. She is “normal”, no mental illness. Must be another victim of the overflow here. She’s quiet and I am now glad to be in this new cell. It was only a matter of time before my old roommate would have gotten me a write up or lockdown. 

I got mail tonight ! The photopostcards my husband ordered me arrived ! So, now I have pictures of my family. It was so nice nice to receive them, now I can see their smiling faces everyday ! Along with the postcards, I got another wonderful email from my Husband. He really is so amazing and then of course an email from my Dad with more jokes. They are really good and make me laugh. I wonder what the deputies think when they read them ? My family is definitely keep the deputies busy every night with  all the mail ! 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Day 23 (10/15/14, Thursday) Hope and Ideas...

I woke up today and got my medical clearance. Step two of becoming an inmate worker.  I passed with flying colors. So now, I just wait. Could be as soon as this week. I sure hope it works out. I really need to be doing something. I can’t stand all the sitting and laying around. I want to be productive and I know I will be one of the best, if not the best worker this place has ever had ! This place could definitely not only use my skills and talents, but my work ethic. Best case scenario, I am out of this housing unit by Monday. 
I am trying to not get my hopes up too high. I want to stay positive and confident. But, I also don’t want to be devastated if it doesn’t happen. I am really striving to be positive and hopeful. I need to try and not let myself get those extreme lows anymore. I want to stay consistently strong everyday. As far as today goes, I am succeeding. I know I can do this. I know I can ! 

I made it today. I stayed strong and made it through the day. It feels good. I just need to keep it going everyday. I finished another book tonight and right before bed we got mail delivery. To my surprise, I got a new book ! What perfect timing. My Mother-in-Law is amazing ! I can’t thank her enough. She is keeping my book collection going ! It’s helping pass the time. I have been sharing my books with the other inmates as well. So, a BIG thank you to my wonderful  Mother-in-Law. These books will be the first donations for the book drive I am going to have. I am going to donate all of them to women’s jails and prisons in CA. So, others can help the time pass with some really good books. I am thinking about putting some inspirational words in the front of the book along with Sisters for a Second Chance website info. I am gong to get working on this now, so I can make it happen when I get out of here. I know my wonderful Sisters will help me. I am so fortunate to have such a supportive and loving family. I can’t wait until I am with them again. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Happy Anniversary ! 11/07/14 (husband)

I skipped to today's date. 11/07. Today is our wedding anniversary. 16 years. Been great times , tough times, sad times, memorable times. Never in my craziest dreams did I think I would be spending this day looking through a video machine with a 3 second delay. But, I am thankful that I get to see my wife. But, this place is a nightmare to visit . Hopefully , this time, I won't have to scrub the gum off the mouthpiece on the phone. Jesus, I hope we start in time with no issues. We will talk, we will laugh, and I'm sure we will cry. But, I am am here and we will enjoy each other. This nightmare won't be forever. Happy Anniversary ! I love you beautiful.

Day 22 (10/14/14) Let love lift me higher...

Last night was rough. I was in a very bad place and super down. My roommate had a breakdown too and was really upset. This place will do that to you. You have no control on your life on the outside. So you feel helpless. You are locked down for 20+ hours and you feel trapped and powerless. Time passes so slow, the days, the hours , the minutes just drag on and there seems to be no end to the pain and hurt you feel. There is nothing you can do to change your current situation. You’re trapped and then the hopelessness sets in and the loneliness builds up and you just want to give up. 
It was a rough night for me because we had a different deputy, so the idea of getting out for 3 hours again was gone and immediately the anxiety set in. Knowing I am only going to get one hour just kills me. It’s my own fault. I set myself up for disappointment. I should have known it was a one time thing and to expect the same amount of time again was a recipe for disaster for me. Then I got my emails. My Sister did a bunch of research for me and I am super thankful for it. It was informative, but not promising on assisting me to get home to my family. Then the email from my Daughter just killed me. She is struggling and having a hard time now. She feels alone with no one to talk to or just be there for her . I am gone and she wishes I was there for her. My Daughter desperately needs me and I am not there for her, I feel awful. She is holding everything inside and it’s not healthy. She needs help, but doesn’t want it. The anguish I feel right now is unbearable. I want so desperately to be there for my Daughter and I can’t. This is so hard. I cry myself to sleep, praying that tomorrow is a better day for my Daughter. I pray that in the end, my Husband, Daughter, and Son make it through all this. I hope they know how much I love and miss them. 

I wake up today not feeling great. But, I have two choices. I can drown in my tears and give up or I can stand up, be strong, and power through this day. I chose option two. I got up and I am powering through the day. I wouldn’t say I am happy or feeling good, but I can say that I am not giving up. I am fighting to be strong for my Daughter. If I don’t want her to give up, then I can’t give up. So, I am going to be strong and we are going to make it through this together. My family needs me and I need them. I just have to try and be there for them as much as possible while I’m away. I was pretty numb most of the day, but as the day progressed, I got better. Then I got my emails. My motivation to keep going got stronger. I am moving upward and onward. Like my Dad said “Don’t count the days. make the days count” I know I can do this. I just need to dig deep. I have an incredible family counting and waiting on me to come home. I refuse to let this beat me. I will overcome this and continue to fight everyday. I know I have a lot to offer and so much to give. I can and will do this. I will be stronger and a better person in the end. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Day 21 (10/13/14) What started out good, ended...

Monday morning I wake up to the popping of our cell doors. We have the AM shift. I am tired, but don’t hesitate to get up. I wash my face, brush my teeth, and head downstairs. It’s dead silent and not a soul around. I notice it’s my favorite deputy (she splits am and pm time with both tiers). She turns the tv on for me and hands me the newspaper. It’s just me, I love it ! I got 10 minutes of the dayroom all to myself. Watching the news and reading the paper. It was almost normal for a brief second. I enjoyed my morning. I also received my application to be a worker. So, the next step is medical clearance. I hope step two is soon and I can be working before the end of the month. 
So, two girls decided to have a little squabble this morning about who cleans the room and takes the trash out. It was super lame, but so serious to them. I just can’t comprehend the petty bullshit fighting that goes on here. They ended up switching cells and are no longer cellmates. Like I said before, it’s like junior high school. One day you’re my best friend, next day you’re my enemy. I just ignore it and don’t get involved in any of these teenage games around here. 
Time for laundry, thank goodness ! 
I did good today. Stayed busy, stayed positive, and for my Husband and kids, I stayed strong. I am feeling better. Just trying to power through the day and keep my head up. 
I surprised my husband this afternoon with a call on his way home from work. I guess he really needed it. He said the drive home from work is the hardest and he was so happy to hear from me. He got choked up and had some tears and that made me cry. I told him I had made it all day without crying until now. I guess it was a rough night for everyone, my Daughter, my Son, and Husband. My Husband blames himself, seeing the kids upset just kills him inside and when they need me the most, I’m not there. I feel terrible. I want to be there for my kids and my Husband. I feel so guilty when I know they are hurting so bad and I can’t fix it. I feel so helpless. I mean, I’m sitting in here for 20+ hours doing nothing, while my family is out their struggling. There is nothing I can do to help them. The hardest part is being there for my kids. I don’t want them to hurt. I want to protect them from the pain. It kills me to know they hurt so bad. They are both very special and wonderful. I don’t want them to lose that spark inside. I want to give them each a big hug right now and tell them it’s going to be ok. Everything is going to be ok.
The day started out good and promising, but ended terrible. I just want it to end. I was ready two months ago for the pain to be gone and peace to set in. But, it didn’t happen and I’m wishing it did right now. There is no point to my existence. All I have done and continue to do is bring pain to my family. At this point I don’t care about second chances. I don’t deserve one or want one. I just want my family to be happy again. To be able to move forward with their lives without the constant pain and torment I have caused them and continue to cause them. I have destroyed my Husband’s and children's lives. I am so stupid, why didn’t I fight harder ? I quit, I gave up, I settled. I never settle. I never give in, and I just laid down and died without a fight. By doing so, I destroyed my family with that decision. How did I let this happen ?!

Husband: I wanted to write a quick response to her words. My Wife was suffering from severe depression when she “took” a deal from the District Attorney. Depending on who you talk to, it was and was not the right thing to do. She had enough, she had given up on life at that point. My kids and I love her more than anything and we are not destroyed. Yes, it hurts like hell, but we will make it. 

Day 20 (10/12/14) Almost Normal..

Sunday morning inspection time. The deputy on duty today took 2 hours (8-10am) to do cell inspection. So no dayroom time, just 15 minutes outside while she inspected our cells and inputted the information into the computer. It was nice to be outside, it felt good to feel and breathe the fresh air. I don’t get much time outside. Here is a description of our “outside”: a slag of cement, surrounded by solid brick walls with a fence over the top for the air and sun to come through. There are no windows or openings to see through. The only outside you can see is if you look up and see the sky through the fence. There isn’t even room to walk. You’re stuck in your cell for 20-21 hours a day and then nowhere to go and walk when you do get out. My legs and butt are tired of sitting ! 
Almost afternoon time and I am looking forward to my call with my Sister. 
Had a great talk with my Sister. She didn’t get to talk much , I think I talked her face off. 
I got to watch part of the Charger game too. It was a nice afternoon. 
After dinner I played cards with my roommate. I kicked her ass at rummy ! We are getting along better now. She can still be very loud, obnoxious, and annoying, but I am managing it and keeping her in line. We have a good system going now, so I think we can make it the rest of the month. 

The evening was the best night ever ! I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. We have a new deputy and at 6:45pm, I hear the sound of all the cell doors unlocking. Is this a dream ? Nope, it’s real ! We got 3 hours of dayroom time and we made it without one incident ! It was the best evening ! I got to call my family, I watched tv, I even had time to walk laps in the dayroom for a full 30 minutes ! I almost didn’t know what to do with myself ! We had so much time ! I hope this deputy is on shift in our housing unit all week ! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Day 19 (10/11/14) Happy Birthday Son

Happy Birthday Son ! Today my baby lion cub turns 12 years old. I am trying to be strong today, because it’s so hard to be away from him on his birthday. It makes me so sad. But, at least he got the birthday card I made him in the mail last night and he loved it. I am looking forward to my visit with him tonight at 7pm. I can’t wait. 
Slept in until 8am. No inspection today because we are in lockdown again. I’m not sure if it’s a facility lockdown or just our deputy. This deputy is known to keep us on lockdown for the majority of the day. It amazes me that each deputy is different in their actions. Each deputy has the “power” to keep us in our cells for as long as they want. No structure or schedule. I hope the lockdown ends, I don’t want to miss my visit with my Husband and Son. I am just going to focus on getting through the day and see what happens. That way I won’t get upset and anxious. 
My wonderful cellmate is up and complaining she could hear me writing and that I woke her up ! Really !? I have been up for over an hour while she slept. I got cleaned up, cleaned the cell, did my exercises, all while she slept. I am one of the quietest and most respectful people in this unit ! She needs to calm down. I really just want to go home ! 
For someone who complains that my writing was disturbing her, she now is talking loudly about her case and wants me to listen. You just got an amazing deal, shut up and drop it ! She is going on and on about denying her deal and getting the charges dropped all together and suing Food-4-Less in civil court. She is going to be rolling in the money ! So she claims. She is delusional. But, I just ignore her and let her ramble on. There’s no helping this one. 
Lockdown came to end this afternoon, so we got out for an hour before dinner. Something is better than nothing, so I’m not complaining. Now, I am guaranteed my visit tonight ! Well, better not say guaranteed ! 
Mama J asked me to see if my bunkmate would switch cells with her, so we can be roommates again. I tried, but this one does not want to leave. Too bad, because I would love the switch. 
I hounded the deputy about my visit tonight. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t late. It worked ! Right on time at 7 ! I got to see my boys ! The visit was awesome ! I am so glad I got to see my baby on his birthday ! Sounds like he had an amazing day with all the family. That makes me so happy he had a great day. 
My Saturday was complete. I had the perfect date night with my boys. I love my Husband and Son so much. Now I am counting down until Wednesday when I get a visit from my Daughter. The best 60 minutes of my week are my 2 visits. 
Got lots of mail tonight. I am reading all my mail before bed tonight. I love all the mail I get. It makes me feel closer to my family. It reminds me I have hope and something to come home to. I received emails from my incredible Sisters and my amazing Husband. I can go to sleep with a huge smile and a happy heart. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It doesn't get easier, you get stronger..(Husband Perspective)

Another day passes. I've been learning to handle things better. I have a pretty good routine now. By myself. I feel lucky to at least hear my Wife's voice daily. I know that will be changing shortly. Once she's moved to receiving, I heard that can be a while before we hear from her. Some days, when I'm alone, it will hit me like a ton of bricks. I wonder how the hell am I going to do this. I may even breakdown for a while, but I always get back up. It's definitely not easier, just getting stronger.
It's hardest when I'm at the kids games. Softball, soccer, basketball. Everyone knows my Wife, none of them know what has happend. Yet. I have been asked where she is and I know the kids have been asked too. "Oh she had to work, she's out of town, she didn't want to come". Sometimes you wish you could just say it, but no way I would risk anything being said to my kids. So, we'll just keep with the standard responses. I know it's got to bother my kids to look around and know Mom's not there. She was always there. She was the perfect sports Mom. Always involved. On snack days, no one better ! I just did my first snack day for my Son's soccer team. Did pretty good, but man did I miss my Wife. But, I knew she would be so proud of me.
Family continues to be strong. Everyone seems to have a role. Some more than others, but that's just how it is. I am happy and thankful for whatever or how much support is given. There are so many people incarcerated that have nothing or no one. When I checked in for a video visit with my Wife, I saw a young woman crouched down on the street corner looking scared and cold. She had just gotten out. She had nothing. There has got to be a way to help these women. Otherwise, you know where she'll end up. I am so sure once my Wife gets out, she will try to make a difference and I'll be there right by her side to help her.