There were plenty of good things in 2014 for our Family. I took the time to find them. It’s so easy to remember the dark times. Maybe, because they’re so recent. As 2015 approaches, I’m ready to close the door on 2014. I’m ready to face the new and tough challenges that are ahead. Honestly, some days I can’t even say that. But, I have Friends and Family that will pick me up (emotionally). I have had friends pop up during the tough times that I haven’t heard from in a while and it’s like they were there the whole time. Well, I guess they really were. Recently, our Son had the opportunity to go to 6th grade camp. Well, now-a-days, it’s a huge cost (was free when I went). With my Wife’s income now completely gone, I had to do the hardest thing for me to do. Ask for help. It was agonizing to write that email. But, you know what ? Everyone, and I mean, everyone responded. They were more than happy to help. I was shocked and blown away. They immediately organized and donated for 6th grade camp. I remember texting my Sister in Law last week and telling her it was all paid for. I told her I was shocked. She said “That’s what Families do” . I told her I wasn’t used to that because I had only grown up with my Mom. I didn't know how families would get together and take care of each other like that. It was probably the most amazing thing I had ever witnessed. I kept saying “I can’t thank you enough”, but you know, they didn’t do it for thank you’s. They did it for Family. We are so very fortunate to have such a loving and supportive family. I don’t know how we would survive without them. It took all this crazy tragedy to help my Wife realize what an amazing family she has around her. She writes me and tells me that all the time. I am glad she now sees that. Things will be different, but also better for her emotionally when she gets out of incarceration. We will ALL hug more, tell each other we love each other more, hold hands when walking somewhere, and help others we maybe didn’t even notice before. Hope the New Year brings many awesome memories !
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Monday, December 29, 2014
What a great day ! Woke up to a new deputy. Miss Personality is gone ! Which is really nice, because our neighbor in cell 25 is back at it again. In the middle of the night and early this morning, she was screaming, yelling, and throwing things out of her cell. She urinated again at the door and smeared messages on her cell door using her soap. So, I am tired due to the disturbances. But, I am happy to have a decent, respectable deputy today. Our deputy split the morning and afternoon with both tiers. It was actually a really nice, quiet, drama-less day. Our deputy took care of the inmate in cell 25. She called mental health services. They talked to her and got her transferred, hopefully to get some help, but usually they just ignore it and leave the problem for the next shift and subject us to chaos. This deputy handled it and never even yelled once today. Everyone listened with no problems or fights. It’s really all about how you treat people. Our deputy today was respectful and everyone was respectful back. She actually let us out of our cells as well, that makes a difference too. When you keep us cooped up and locked up for hours, of course we’re going to be crazy. We have all this pent up energy. We are in our cells too long, pacing like caged animals to get out. When they finally let us out, we are greeted with rudeness and dis-respect. Miss Personality didn’t want us to bother her . If you asked for anything, you got the eye roll, the huff and puff sigh, and if she had to speak, it was with attitude. When she talked to you, it was with no respect and she wonders why she had issues and one problem after another for four days. Look in the mirror, maybe you’re the problem.
Had my visit with my Daughter today. It was scheduled for 8:45pm. We were in our cells, so I was reading and waiting patiently, but never got called. So, I buzz the deputy and am greeted with a really pissed off “What do you need !?” This deputy does not want you using this box unless it’s a medical emergency. But, how else am I supposed to get my visit ? I tell her I have a visit at 8:45 and is it time ? “It’s past 8:45 and I didn’t know you had a visit. What you’r last name ? Let me check” she replies. Then she comes back with “Ok, you can come log in (Video visit)”. She unlocks my door, it’s 2 minutes to nine. By the time I get logged in, we have 15 minutes left. I wanted to cry my eyes out, but I didn’t. I held it together and made the most of the time we did have. It was short, but it was a good visit. Seeing her for 15 minutes is better than not seeing her at all. This place has no system or procedures for visits. It’s absolutely frustrating ! The problem is they outsourced the traditional visits (non-contact) and use video visits through a company called Securus. They aren’t even scheduled through the jail. You schedule the visit online through Securus and they notify the jail and staff. This is where the problem lies. But, the staff here does not give a shit because it’s not their problem. My Daughter went to complain and they told her it was the inmates responsibility to get to the visit on time. My Daughter replied “How ?! Does she get a key to unlock her own cell !?” Are they being serious ? If it was up to me and it was my responsibility, I would be on time, There would never be a problem. My Daughter demanded another visit. They couldn’t do that, but took her name and number and the supervisor would call her. The supervisor called her back the same night. This time, she was told it was the inmates responsibility to notify the deputy of a visit to insure the inmate was on time for the visit. That's great and all in theory, but again, I am locked in a cell with no way to talk to the deputy, except for the call box that’s supposed to be used for medical emergencies only. Most deputies get pissed off if you use it for anything except emergencies. I have no access to a clock and what about shift change ? You can’t even remind the deputy or tell her of the visit if you never get to see her. Until it’s too late. The real issue, is that all visits are done between dayroom hours only. So, they are assuming we are all out of our cells and we need to insure we are on time. What they don’t realize is, not all deputies have the dayroom open for the full time and that we don’t get the full 3 hours. We have to split the time between the tiers. I can’t win in this situation, it’s a lose / lose for me. So, I am just going to have to use the emergency box as my responsibility according to them. We will see how this turns out.
It’s election day, don’t get to vote, but my Dad sent me some political humor, which was hilarious.
Humor is indispensable to the sanity of the oppressed and in giving them the will and strength to endure and fight on.
By the way, my Daughter got another visit. My Husband say she's tough and smart like me. Well, hopefully smarter.
Friday, December 26, 2014
It’s Monday morning. I tried so hard to sleep as long as possible, but the time change is not helping. I usually love when the time falls back an hour, but not in here. It’s an extra hour of serving time. Our cell neighbors decided to flush their toilet 8-10 times in a row. The sound is loud and obnoxious. So, it woke me up, I tried to fight it, but I couldn’t. So, I was up nice and early. It’s so hard for me to sleep my time away like most of these women in here. I am up from 7am to 10pm everyday trying to pass the time in this cell and of the 15 hours I am awake, I am out 2-4 hours a day. Yesterday, we got 2 hours out of our cell for the entire day. It’s rough, but I am pushing through it.
We have lots of new faces in this unit and it’s been very annoying. The women act like children, they don’t know how to follow directions, and everything is a production. It’s hard to handle everyday, especially when they risk our dayroom time being taken away with their games. They just don’t care. I can’t wait to get out of this facility !
Miss Personality is back again. She’s just one miserable bitch, who doesn’t want to do anything. The girls across the way have been bickering and fighting and it’s escalating. They asked the deputy to move cells, but she doesn’t have time for them and told them to go back to their cells. So, they did, and the screaming match started up again. What is she waiting for, a fight before she does anything ? Miss personality is in a real fine mood today. I hope I can get through this day quickly.
We had the afternoon shift today. But, didn’t get out but 40 minutes before dinner. The drama in this unit continues. There was a sexual assault on an inmate from another inmate, so the afternoon was spent on the investigation.
We had a new inmate that arrived last week. She was on the top tier but was moved downstairs because she didn’t get a long with her first two roommates. She had a shaved head so everyone called her and referred to her as the “boy”. Once downstairs, the deputy had to tell the “boy” to put her clothes on out of respect for her roommate. She was in the cell walking around completely naked. She put pants on but was topless. Well, her roommate couldn’t take it anymore. They argued and the “boy” hit her. So, the “boy” got one day lockdown and her cellmate moved cells. On Sunday, they moved a new cellmate in, no issues. The new roommate went home Monday morning. Time for another new roommate. Then for some reason, Miss Personality moved an inmate that has been here a while in the cell with the “boy”. This woman is older. She’s ill with a brain tumor and is really not there mentally. But, she harmless and a sweet lady. Why the deputy moved her in with this problem inmate, I have no idea. While they were in the cell, the “boy” was touching her inappropriately. The woman said something to another inmate and they reported it and the investigation began. The “boy” was finally moved out of this unit. A little late, don’t you think ? Again, being reactive instead of proactive. This place is an absolute nightmare. You have all this chaos and Miss Personality does not care or does anything about it. She’s part of the problem. She hates this housing unit and I have no doubt she thinks we get what we deserve in here. She lumps us all together as horrible human beings that are in jail. So, oh well, don’t bother me, I’m on my iPhone. Today’s incident could have been prevented, but what does this place care ? That right ! They don’t care ! “Don’t come to jail then !” No one deserves to be sexually assaulted ! I don’t care if you are in jail or not ! We are human beings !
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Our first Christmas apart in 17+ years. Feels like any other day, besides the emptiness. Tough times. Christmas Eve was always “our” time. After the kids went to bed, we would open our presents and spend time with each other. I miss that the most. Now, I’ll lay in bed and think of you and talk to you. Tell you about how the kids are doing and how much I miss you. I know you do the same. We lean on each other for strength when we are down. Even though you are not here, you are here. Make sense ? I do have a few things I am thankful and hopeful for this year.
I am thankful to have such an awesome supportive family.
I am thankful that even though my Wife is “away” she still finds ways to encourage me.
I am thankful that my kids and I have had a chance to see their Mom face to face before she leaves for receiving.
I am thankful for the two deputies at the visitation that have been kind and helpful to us.
I am thankful for the one clerk behind the bulletproof glass that actually smiled at us as we checked in.
I am thankful for my Wife’s first roommate (Mama J) that comforted her and prayed for her.
I am thankful for the deputy that realized my Wife was in the wrong housing and made the effort to get her moved, resulting in contact visits.
I am thankful that my Wife has remained safe in the first phase of her incarceration.
I am thankful to have learned how the “system” really works.
I am thankful to have met many people that have the same views about reform.
I am hopeful that when my Wife gets out, WE can make a difference.
I am hopeful that one day WE can show prosecutors that every case is different and the sentences given out are not fixing anything.
I am hopeful that one day there will be actual programs at ALL prisons for inmates with children. Not programs that are just listed on the facility’s website.
I am hopeful that I can help you build a foundation, so when you get out you can start helping others.
Never give up. If I can do it, you can do it, if you can do it, I can do it. Rise Above.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
It was daylight savings today, so the sun was up early and so was I. Ended up having “Miss Personality” as our deputy again. This is day 3 with her, so unfortunately, we are probably stuck with her another 2 days. Not too happy about that, I am hoping to be moved in the next day or two. Hoping and praying.
We have lockdown all morning. It was so hard. 4 hours waiting to get out for 10 minutes at lunch. I couldn’t relax, I had so much anxiety. I hate these days.
We get out for lunch, the Charger game is on, but the Chargers are losing 20-0 so It’s really not starting off a good day. We have been in all morning, so after lunch I politely ask for a pencil and some pads. The deputy just huffs and puffs because I am putting her out. Then she gets a pencil and throws it across the desk at me. She is one miserable woman. She hates us, she hates her job, and hates being bothered. She’s on her cell phone the entire time. Her attitude is horrific. Again, it’s the power. She has it all and we have none. So I just say thank you and walk away. I may be locked up in this hell hole, but my misery is temporary. I have a great family and life waiting for me. This deputy’s life is just misery. I almost start to feel bad for her, but then I don’t ! Just have to power through the next few days and then she will be gone.
My roommate went to mental health services today. Did you know it takes a month to see a doctor over there ? They have very minimal mental health staff or resources. It’s just so unacceptable to me as I am surrounded by so many women suffering from PTSD, abuse, past trauma, and most have drug problems because they are trying to erase the pain. So why aren’t they trying to help these women with real programs and services ? Why do we just dope them up and lock them away ? People may think it’s not worth spending the money, but they eventually get back on the street and in our communities. Shouldn’t we put them back out there healthy or at least with some help ? Again, it’s too easy to lock them up and forget. Out of sight, out of mind.
I have been receiving emails from others out there that have been reading my story and have experienced it themselves or their family has. People who want reform and change like I do. Real change ! It feels good to know I have support from strangers. Makes me want to fight harder and be heard. To make a difference. To get together with these women and men. Work together to make a difference. My Husband forwarded me the emails and I was amazed and blown away. I sometimes feel so alone in the world. The hurt, the disappointment I caused, the shame and guilt I feel everyday for the mistake I made and the pain I caused my family. I feel like I am an outcast and do I even deserve forgiveness and a second chance ? I beat myself up inside as I failed and let everyone down. Then to read messages from total strangers who support me, are praying for me, and who want to work together on reform and change. I see now, I am not alone. I have more support than I ever realized. In the dark days, I have to remember there is light ahead.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
It’s officially November. Each day is hard, but each day is also one day closer to going home. I try not to focus on counting the days. I’ll save that for the very end.
We had inspection this morning, so up at 6:30am. Our deputy isn’t the friendliest, she acts very irritated with all of us. At least one of the friendlier deputy’s is helping her. The same deputy that looked into getting me transferred out of this housing unit. So, that’s good.
We are getting new socks today. Getting two pair of small socks. I think the facility is tired of giving out the long socks and all the women not wearing their blues properly. The bottom tier is done with inspection. Now, it’s the top tier. The 5 cells on my side, 24-28 are done. We are waiting on the last few cells to be inspected. I always stand at my window and watch. I always like to see what’s happening. Cell 20 has two new inmates, both on lockdown. One has a 2 day lockdown, the other has a 12 day lockdown. The deputies are inspecting cells 19 and 20. Instead of sitting down in the chairs like you’re supposed to, one of the girls is standing and inching towards the bag of extras and starts looking in the bag. The nice deputy tells her to get away and sit down. She stops, but goes right back to the bag. The deputy walks up to her and tells her to get away from the bag and sit down. The inmate starts mouthing off and gets into the deputy’s face and says “Please sit down, we’re not dogs !” The deputy yells “No, you sit down ! “ The inmate refused again. That was it. “Turn around and put your hands behind your back”. She resisted and started struggling with the deputy. The inmate swung at the deputy, but not sure if she made contact with the deputy. Then she goes for the deputy’s hair. They struggle. The other deputy runs out and they tackle her to the ground. She’s still fighting them. A corporal and another deputy come out. They finally get the girls down and handcuff her twice. There are now eight deputies and they get the chains. Chain her up and get her out of there. We are all ordered to our bunks and out of our cell windows. I am thinking to myself “You dumb bitch, you just got us lockdown all day. Your dumbass can’t sit in a chair for 2 minutes !?” I am really frustrated and want the hell out of this wacko unit !! So, that situation is over.
We have a new deputy take over our unit, inspection is over. They are wrapping up the argument / fight that happened earlier. Next door, the two girls on lockdown are not getting along . They were yelling at each other over the deputy’s call box. We have a button that calls the deputy for an emergency. But, most of these women don’t get that concept and use it for stupid stuff. Like calling and asking what time is it. But, the one girl hits the button and is screaming and cussing at her roommate. The deputy is almost off shift and is not happy. She yells for them to shut up and get off her box. They don’t stop at first, but finally shut up. The smart thing to do, would have talked to the deputy and asked to be moved. They do it all the time. They would rather do that, than deal with this BS. Anyway, the deputy left them in there, so guess what ? They go at it again. The same girl hits the emergency button again and starts screaming. The nice deputy comes upstairs to see what’s going on. She tells the girl to calm down and sit on her bed. She refuses and continues to be hysterical. So, the other deputy comes up, they open the door, and handcuff her. They take her downstairs while they do inspection. So when the fight breaks out, she’s still downstairs. They try and put her back in her cell, but that’s not working out as she starts yelling again. So they wait, then have her get her stuff and put it in cell 20, because a new bed just opened up due to the inmate that was just removed. The girl is telling the sergeant that she’s missing her underwear and that her roommate used them to wipe her ass. So, the sergeant goes back, handcuffs the roommate, has her sit outside. He searches the cell and finds nothing. He goes back to cell 20 to talk to the girl. She starts yelling “She took a shit and wiped her ass on everything !” She throws out her sweatshirt, sheet, night gown, and blanket. While she was handcuffed downstairs, her roommate did take a shit and did wipe it on everything. It was disgusting. I guess that was her payback. I’m not sure what kind or how many write ups there will be, but I’m sure at least one of them will be moving housings. This morning was insane. Sure lots of action. But, really, I don’t need “action”. I need to be out of here. I don’t belong in this looney bin. The second I have a chance, I’m speaking to the sergeant personally. I need to be moved to a “normal” unit. I am not a behavioral problem. Surprisingly, after meds, the deputy let us all out, both tiers. We got an hour. 9-10am. She’s on shift with us the rest of the day, so I should be getting out 3 more hours this afternoon. It started out wild and looking like “Lockdown Saturday”, but it turned out not too bad. Our original deputy returned this afternoon. So, we had to split the time. I am just thankful we got out. I hope this deputy isn’t back tomorrow, she’s absolutely miserable. She’s so annoyed to be bothered, you hate to ask her for anything. I hope we have a good evening deputy. I have a visit tonight, it’s my Mom and Daughter. I have not seen my Mom in two months.
The deputy almost forgot about me again, but we made it. It actually started 30 seconds early. I can’t believe it ! Had a really nice visit tonight. The extra time out of my cell was nice as well.
Our tier got out at 8:30pm and our deputy gave us a late night, which is an extra hour out. I guess if you pass inspection (entire unit), you get rewarded. So, at 10pm, she let the bottom tier out and extra hour too. It was a nice surprise.
Friday, December 19, 2014
Happy Halloween ! It’s my first official “holiday” I am missing while being locked up. It’s a little sad and depressing, but I am looking at it as another day closer to going home. I am staying positive and keeping my eye on the prize, which is getting home to my family.
The night was a quiet one. We made it through without any tirades. But, about an hour after breakfast, our neighbor started up again. The deputy just ignored her for a while, but she wouldn’t stop. So, the deputy came upstairs and asked her to be quiet, because everyone was trying to sleep. Amazingly, it worked and she settled down and we were able to sleep. The crazy thing is she had a new roommate in there with her. I can’t believe someone got stuck in that cell with her. The mental health ward is full so this unit gets the overflow. That is the reason we have to split the tiers, because there is too many “crazies”. Again, I don’t understand why we don’t have better mental health facilities. We shouldn’t be throwing them in jail like this. They need help and treatment. They spent all this money on this new women’s jail, but no money on building a new facility or a better program to treat these women with mental health issues. They need trained professionals who specialize in handling and dealing with the mentally ill. They need to separate the “regular” inmates from the mentally ill inmates. It’s just not fair to either one of us. These women are an “inconvenience” to society, so the government puts them away. Locking them up is the easiest way to deal with them. It’s so frustrating, I don’t think people realize what is going on and really happening in here. Society just assumes that since you were arrested or convicted, you’re a criminal and a bad person. You’re looked at with judgement and disapproval, when in fact there are different circumstances to each persons story. We don’t look at it or take the time to see and evaluate people on a case by case basis. We just lump everyone together, forget about them, and push them aside as a lost cause.
After dinner was a little rough for me. I really missed my husband and kids. Some days it gets hard for me and tonight was one of those times. I even made an extra call to my Husband just to hear his voice. Makes me feel a little better. He was having a rough night too. Our kids were out enjoying Halloween and we were both alone. I hope to be home next year for Halloween. I am so very lucky to have such a wonderful man by my side waiting for me. Not everyone is so fortunate. My roommate has been in here for eight months, her Husband has not picked up his phone when she has called. No visits, no emails, and no contact for eight months. He has just written her off. I don’t know if I could make it without my Husband. He is such a big support along with my kids and family. Without them, I don’t know if I could survive.
But, talking to my Husband lifted my spirits. Then we got mail. I got two emails, one from my Dad, being Halloween jokes, then another amazing and loving email from my Husband. I got a chocolate lovers gift bag from my Sister. She is incredible. Even though I don’t need all the goodies, I loved it ! Shared the chocolate moon pie with my roommate. Can’t wait to eat the Twix bar (my favorite). Ended up having a decent night considering where I am. Thank God for my family.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Well, last night was a rough one. Our neighbor in cell 25 lost her mind. She freaked out. I had been reading then fell asleep. Shortly after I dozed off, the yelling begins and I wake up to “Get the f*** out of here you stupid bi*** !!” The poor girl in that cell was getting blasted. She was going ballistic, screaming and banging. The deputy went upstairs and immediately removed the girl and just left the crazy one in there. She went on a tirade for at least 30 minutes while cussing out the deputy and other inmates. She was out of control. She finally quieted down and I was able to fall back asleep, but then another rant woke me up. We got a 3rd show after breakfast. I couldn’t believe they left her in there. I’m guessing the psych ward was full ? In the meantime, she threw, soap, blankets, and clothes under the cell door. She then pissed on the floor so it came into the common area. Another case of an inmate in the wrong housing. She clearly has mental health needs. The woman finally got her meds and was fine. She even thanked me for mopping up the soap and urine in front of her cell. She said “I know I was being bad, but thank you”. Of course it was no big deal and I understand she had an episode, because she needed her meds. But, better services need to be available. We can’t wait for something terrible to happen before changes are made. The system needs to be proactive, not reactive.
I discovered my roommate was in housing unit A1. This is the best unit there is. There is so much “freedom” and contact visits. I’m like, what did you do to get in here ? I am in housing unit F3. The behavioral unit. The super strict unit that houses all the inmates with mental issues along with problem inmates with write ups and repeat offenders. How or why I am in here is questionable, because I am none of these. Anyhow, she got into a fight with another inmate and lost everything. I don’t care what anyone says or does to me, it’s not worth it. She thought she had to do what she had to do because it’s jail. But, it was petty and could have been avoided. Plus, you can get additional charges when you fight. She’s young and made a poor decision. She didn’t realize how good she had it in that dorm. From the sound of all the stories she shared, all the girls in the dorm need to do a week in housing F3 and I bet they would be behaved and grateful for housing A1.
I spoke to our daytime deputy about beds being open in other housings. She looked it up and stated there were beds available in housings A3, B3, C3, D3. 10 available between all four units. I asked how do I go about getting transferred over there ? She looked me up in the system and said “You don’t have any write ups and are a level 2, you shouldn’t be in here”. She told me to put in a request, so I did today and I hope it goes through. It would be wonderful to see my kids and Husband in person. I know it’s a long shot and I’m not giving up. If I could be moved by next Friday and see my Husband on our wedding anniversary, that would be the best gift ever ! I will be praying that I will get to hear “roll up !”. It sucks, I got put into this housing unit and it’s very hard to get out of it. The deputy thinks they were full and that’s why I ended up here. I even put in a request for the program dorm, maybe I can get moved there. I am not gong to quit. There has to be a way out of this unit.
I am tired, due to last nights fiasco. I didn’t get much sleep, so hopefully tonight is a quiet night.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Happy Hump Day ! I lay in my bed last night reading and enjoying my book. My roommate is doing her hair. The bottom tier is out for their evening time. My roommate feels the need to try and talk to the girls below. Well, they are not allowed upstairs. It’s very hard to hear through the thick cell doors here, so my roommate is screaming through the the door trying to talk to them to no avail. They can’t hear her, but I sure can. I ignore her, but now it’s going on way too long. I want to yell “Do you mind !? Shut the hell up please !” But, instead, I suggest maybe she should write a note and give it to them before we lockdown. It was my polite way of telling her she was driving me crazy, please be quiet. She got the hint and settled down. I read into the night until my eyes were tired. Once my head hit the pillow (inmate made pillow, there are no pillows issued in jail), I was asleep until breakfast. I love Wednesday's breakfast, because we get bananas after breakfast. I try to fall back asleep after breakfast, but my mind is racing with too many things. I finally settle my mind and fall back asleep.
I wake up to the sound of cell doors opening. I am tired, but get up, you never know if this will be your only time out for the day. I get dressed, wash my face, brush my teeth and head downstairs. It’s 7am, what a nice change. Deputy says she will spilt the morning and afternoon between both tiers. I am very happy, today's a good day. Just that little time out makes such a difference. I still long for and wish I could move housing units, just to be out of my cell a little longer and be able to physically see my family. It would make this stay a little easier, not only for me, but for my kids and Husband. The chances are slim, but I’m not giving up hope.
During afternoon dayroom time, the deputy asked me to move downstairs to cell 9. I said “Really ? Do I have to ? I don’t want to move downstairs.” She was nice and made my bunkie move instead. The girl in 9 was her friend, so it worked out for her. Now, she didn’t have to bang and yell out the door to the bottom tier any longer. My new roommate was an older lady named Kat. Why they moved her upstairs, I’ll never know. She could barely make it up the stairs. I helped move her in and make her bed. She’s nice and very quiet. She lasted 30 minutes and then they moved her back downstairs.
Roommate 6 came and went, roommate 7 just moved in. She seems normal and friendly. She has lots of books, like myself and enjoys reading. I see the book “Gone Girl” in her collection ( I love that book) and I know we will get along. My new roommate has been here since April and is waiting trial for gross vehicular manslaughter. Trial starts in February, because her public defender is busy on a murder trial now. She’s hoping to make a deal before February. She’s looking at prison time. She’s so young and scared. After dinner we talked for hours. She told me her story and what happened.
She made me cry twice. I feel bad for her and if her friends had been wearing their seat belts, maybe they wouldn’t had been seriously injured or worse. She probably wouldn’t be here right now. She’s only 25 and is facing 4-12 years in prison. That’s so sad. I hope she gets a decent deal. She seems like a good person. She was in the Navy, she helps take care of her family. She has some great goals for when she gets out. About talking to young people and sharing her story. She definitely deserves a second chance and when she gets done with her sentence, I hope I get the opportunity to help her with that second chance in life. This system is so cruel and harsh. Where is the forgiveness, rehabilitation, and redemption.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
It’s Tuesday, tried to sleep in and just can’t. Don’t know why. I read until “meds”. That’s when the meds are given out to the inmates that “need” them. So, it’s 8am. So, dayroom should be soon. We have another new deputy.
Meds came and went and no dayroom for either tier. What the heck is it today I wonder ? The deputy has a long list in her hands. She starts letting inmates out, one at a time, sometimes two at a time. I am curious what is going on. This takes over an hour. It’s 9:15am, by the time she gets to my cell, it ended up not being anything. The nurse was there doing sick calls. In a housing unit of 53, over half the inmates put in medical requests. I am pretty sure it had to do with the head lice “outbreak”. We were stuck in lockdown all morning. Even had lunch in our cells. But, they finally got around to taking care of the problem. They addressed all the medical requests and removed the “host” inmate. Hopefully they are treating her and not just moving her to another housing. Then her cell was emptied, cleaned, and sterilized. The girl sharing the cell was issued all new bedding. Now, hopefully we can move on. Unfortunately, we lost dayroom time because we caused such an uproar about the lice issue. But, it needed to be addressed and I’m glad it finally was. Thankfully, the books my Mother sent me arrived last night. 2 weeks ago when I was desperate for books, my wonderful Mother ordered me two. They were delivered and signed for at the facility on the 18th of October. I got them on 10/27. The deputies had them this entire time. It really makes me angry. Before the deputy gives them to me, she asks how many books I have. I tell her “5” and then she gives me my books. I guess there is a policy here, you are not allowed more than 6 books. I understand that is the rule for “shared” books, but I own these. I wouldn’t have to have so many books ordered if they would just give out the books for us to read that were donated. Generous people donating books to the jail that the deputies won’t give the chaplain to give out. How can you limit how many books I have when you keep me on lockdown for 21-22 hours a day ? This place is really out of hand. Again, I am not a dangerous criminal that committed some heinous act. The corrections system is not about “correcting” anyone. That’s why so many people end up coming back. Why so many people end up being more “broken” then when they arrived here. Why so many people aren’t ready for the “real” world when they do get out. All because the corrections system is broken and needs an overhaul. We need reform desperately. Maybe my voice, along with others can make a difference.
Only got out an hour this afternoon. Had to have dinner in our cells. Didn’t have time for a shower., so I had to “sink” shower. You have to do what you have to do in here. The lockdown makes people desperate. Two girls couldn’t take it anymore and they “hurt” each other. One slammed the desk on her bunkies foot and the other on her hand. They were swollen and black and blue. They really did hurt each other pretty bad. But, this “accident” got them out of here and into a nice bed in medical. No lockdown, no waiting for the phone, tv all day, desperate times equal desperate measures. That’s how bad it is here. So bad they were willing to physically hurt themselves to get a break. The entire housing unit has no dangerous criminals. They are all non-violent drug and theft crimes. I just can’t understand the extreme amount of lockdowns.
Then to top it off, the deputy on duty forgets to let me out on time for my video visit. It’s 10 after 7pm. My visit was at 7pm. I now have 20 minutes left. She apologized, but that doesn’t get my 10 minutes back with my Son and Husband. This is a state of the art, hi-tech facility. But, there is nothing to keep visits on time. Seems so simple. Some people may think “What’s the big deal ?” Well, again, with two, 30 minutes video visits a week, it’s everything. It's all I have.
Well, it wasn’t the best day, but I made the best of it. I didn’t let this facility's BS get to me, and to me, that’s a victory !
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
The start of a new day begins right now. No going back to re-write the past. Go forward and write the future. Stop pondering over what you did and did not do. What you should and should not have done. Go forward with new wisdom and knowledge and make the ending much more than the beginning. Starting today, remember the choices you make today can affect your tomorrow. So, think before you act, before you do, and before you don’t. Learning along the way.
I start my Monday with another inspiration from my Husband. Another motivation to get me through yet another week. Monday means laundry. We have another new deputy. That makes 9 days straight with a different deputy everyday. It’s hard to go every day and not know what your schedule is going to be like or know when you’ll be stepping foot out of your cell door. I just have to deal with it and hope for the best.
This deputy splits the time between both tiers. So that’s good. Got a shower in and did the stairs for 30 minutes this morning. Found out my first bunkie, Mama J, went home today. I am glad I talked to her yesterday and got to sort of say goodbye. I wish her the best and will always be grateful for her kindness and generosity my first two weeks here. I hope she sticks to her plans and goals and makes it. I wish I was out and able to help her on her new journey. It’s hard for me to comprehend the idea that so many women here leave with no home to go to. Mama J’s family is in Texas. She’s hoping to get an apartment at St. Vincent De Paul, but what do you do while you wait for an opening ? My current roommate was telling me last night, how she hopes to find a studio or garage to live in and rent when she gets out next month. She leaves here homeless too. Where are the resources to help these women locate a home or place to stay before they let them out ? Why aren’t the counselors meeting with them a couple of weeks prior to their release ? Shouldn’t the goal be to not return ? More money needs to be spent on rehabilitation than throwing lives away and overcrowding the prisons and jails. We need reform, we need to improve the system, we need to just stop locking people up and forgetting about them. We need to focus on allowing forgiveness, rehabilitation, and growth. I hope one day I can help make a positive change to the reform our system desperately needs.
Due to medical conditions and such, certain inmates cannot be housed on the top tier. So, the deputies will make changes. That’s how I ended up on the lower tier then back upstairs. So, changes were made today. One of the new arrivals had to be moved downstairs. Well, in the process of this move, they moved the insane girl with head lice out of her cell (cell 19) and into a new cell. She still has yet to be treated for the head lice. The deputy on Saturday said she got her an appointment with medical, but it has yet to happen. Now, they have just spread this. Exposing more inmates to lice. What is wrong with this place ? I’m not expecting luxury resort like conditions, but basic clean and humane conditions would be nice. We are at the mercy of the deputies and the system. When you end up here, you lost all rights, all power, you have no voice, and no one cares. All you are is a number. The favorite response to any gripes is “Well, don’t come to jail then”. They are in charge and they will do whatever they want to do and you can complain, you can fight, and you can file as many grievances as you want. But, you will never win. It’s your word against theirs and your word means nothing behind these walls. The abuse of power is just something you have to accept in here, because you can’t change it. The way you win. is to not let them get you down. If you stay strong, keep positive in your mind and being, they can’t win. For myself, I refuse to be broken. They can keep me in lockdown, they can refuse medical, ignore my requests, be rude and dis-respectful, but I am not going to be miserable. I’ll make the most of it and in the end in the end, I’ll still be me. Strong as ever !
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Trying to prepare for the inevitable. The day my Wife is taken at midnight for her 8 hour bus ride to Chowchilla, CA for receiving. Where they decide what prison will be the right fit for her. Low security housing. Will it be the fire camp that she has been praying for ? Or CIW in Riverside CA ? I have even heard of a possibility of Folsom. Yes, that Folsom. When an inmate goes to receiving, they are allowed NO phone calls or contact visits. I have heard you can get a visit through the old glass plate with phone. 20-30 minutes. That’s IF you get your visitation approved. You are allowed to write letters. I love to write to her. It’s almost therapeutic . The down side though is, Chowchilla’s mail is a mere 6-8 weeks behind. She is slated to be there no longer than 4-5 weeks. We will be very fortunate if we hear from her before she is taken. That, will be a rough phone call. I honestly think this will be the hardest part of her incarceration for all of us. She thinks she will leave right before Christmas. Perfect ! But, once she is through this part, it should be much easier for all of us. We can set up longer visits and she’ll finally get a routine. Hell, maybe we will too.
While in receiving, she’ll have to deal with 7 other personalities in her cell. Knowing my Wife, she can do that. In fact she should do well with it. I will always worry about her. But, she is a very strong woman. When we finally get that phone call that she’s at her “mainstream” home and out of Chowchilla, we will be able to take a deep breath and know that the end should really start coming quicker. At least we hope and pray.
Friday, December 5, 2014
We are up before the sun is up. Time for inspection. It goes quickly and we are done a little after 7am. I am hoping for dayroom time, but no luck. It seems everyone else has gone back to sleep.
We get out at 8am for an hour. My Husband and Daughter are about to start the Tough Mudder (8:20am start). A grueling, 12 mile obstacle race, in the hills of Temecula, CA. I am thinking of them and wishing I could be there. I know they will do great and I can’t wait to talk to them later today.
I am glad we get to get out a little this morning and afternoon today. This afternoon I go to make a call and I can’t get through. My phone account is empty. This can’t be, because I had $11 on it last night. I specifically made sure I had enough on there so I could have a full 30 minute call with my family. So, either I spent $80 in phone time the last 8 days or someone has gotten my PIN number and has been using it. I was averaging $50-$60 a week in phone calls, but this weeks increase had seemed very strange. I had already mentioned to my Husband and Sister to see if they could log on to my account and get a transaction history. Today when I was at zero, that was it, I knew something was up. I went and talked to the deputy. She was unable to access the information, but suggested I put in a request to the commissary for the information. So, I immediately put in the request and to the Sergeant on duty to get this investigated. I wanted to know if my information had been compromised. I have been very careful with my PIN, but I am living in a jail with criminals. I was talking to one of my acquaintances, and she said if someone did take my info, they would be getting additional charges. Then she told me to watch my cellmate, because she was using her old roommates phone time while she was in lockdown for two days. I started to get real suspicious, because this did start about a week ago when she was moved into my cell. I mean, she did sell our toilet paper. I will figure this out. I may be quiet and respectful, but don’t take that for weakness ! Phone time is so precious to me. My lifeline to my kids, my Husband, and my family. It’s what gets me through everyday. If I am unable to call my family, they worry and get upset. Hopefully, I / they can get this resolved.
We got out this evening. I got my phone time resolved ! It ended up being an error. My money was back on my account and I was able to call my family. “The squeaky wheel” ! Then I remembered what my old bunkmate told about your phone time. You can’t put money on your phone account right before you are about to be transferred. So, my mind starts racing. Will I be getting transferred soon ? Maybe this week ? I need to get everything in order and ready to leave just in case.
We got out an hour and a half this evening. Got out at 8:30pm and I made my phone call to my family. I usually walk laps, but tonight I hung out with two acquaintances. They are two older ladies and both have done time in prison. I get along with them because they don’t get involved in jailhouse drama. According to them “They are too old for that shit”. Due to the phone incident, I want to be prepared for transfer and they don’t mind my questions about prison. It’s really helpful, there is so much stuff to know. It sounds like there is very little lockdown. Nothing compared to county jail. This is a positive, but the negative is there are no phone calls when you go to receiving. But, you get visits, just not contact visits. The ole’ glass plate with phone. But, receiving is 500 miles away from my family. 6 hour drive if you’re lucky. Not sure how that’s going to workout for a 30 minute phone call visit. Hopefully, I can get through receiving quickly and get placed closer to my family so visits will be easier.
An hour into our evening time, we have to lockdown due to a medical emergency. I guess a woman on the bottom tier had a seizure. So, we go to lockdown and there are three deputies and a corporal there. They do nothing but stand there and wait. Waiting for medical personnel. Ten minutes later, they show up. I would hate to be in here with a life threatening emergency. The pace they move, you may not make it. I am very fortunate to be in good health. After 30 minutes or so, they finally take her out on a stretcher. Time for night count and lights out. Another week over !
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Hello Saturday. Woke up to another new deputy. Still on this getting out only once a day. We have the afternoon shift. Sort of a bummer, because I missed my call to my sister this morning. But, at least I get to see the sun.
Another argument broke out across the way in cell 22. I heard the deputy talking to them both and the one girl telling the deputy she’s yelling at people that aren't even there. I don’t know what else was said, but the deputy shut the door and an hour or so later, the older woman was removed. Not sure what’s going to happen or where she’s going to go. But. hopefully, it’s better for her and she gets the treatment she needs. 2 hours after I write this, she’s back. This situation is definitely not over.
So, we have an inmate in our housing that has head lice. I am freaking out and itching just thinking about it. They have done nothing about it. The girl that shares a room with her, has put in a medical request for her to be treated. She said to the deputy “Do you want to be treating one inmate or an entire housing unit ?” Still, they did nothing. It’s so disgusting and dirty. She needs to be treated, her cellmate needs to be treated, they need to strip that cell and clean the hell out of it and issue all new bedding. Again, I know this is jail, but some basic hygiene is not too much to ask. This afternoon, they tried to get today’s deputy to send her to medical, but she wouldn’t do it either. Then one of the girls decide they would help her since everyone else is avoiding her like the plague. It’s a really fucked up situation all around. She asked the deputy for a pair of gloves and she was told that she was not a licensed doctor. No gloves given and was told she should not be touching her head. She didn’t care. She wanted to help . She’s treated head lice before with her daughter’s hair. So, she takes the girl outside and is checking her head. She confirms she has head lice and is now trying to comb out the eggs the best she can. As she’s doing that, the deputy comes out and tells her “I told you not to be touching her head, now you’re on lockdown”. The girl responded with “Are you serious ?” the deputy said “Yes, I’m dead serious”. She was just trying to help, but I understand medical needs to be doing it. I wonder if they are just going to let it be and not treat her ? I was shocked that this was not taken seriously or treated immediately. No one will sit by or go near the girl with lice. It’s so messed up on so many levels.
I had my visit tonight with my Husband. Started right on time and got the full 30 minutes. He was very happy too. He said he gets in there with like 5 minutes to spare to clean the phone. This time someone had jammed gum into the mouthpiece. He used his Clorox wipes to clean it. Anyway ! It was so good to see him. He is my strength and I love him so much. He emails me positive and inspirational quotes. I’ll end the day with one of my favorites:
It is really hard to put pieces back together and make something exactly as it used to be.
But, perhaps, this is your opportunity to take the pieces and create a masterpiece.
It’s Friday, I have court today. Lucky for me, the top tier got the AM shift today so I got to read the paper, take a shower, and call my Husband before getting picked up for court. I was looking forward to getting out of here. Well, at least for 2-3 hours. The deputy came and got me at 9am, along with 5 other girls. We were taken to a holding cell where we had lunch and waited for the bus. Once the bus arrived, we came out, got handcuffed together, and got on the bus. We got to listen to the radio on the ride. It’s the first time I got to hear music in 32 days. Sure was a nice change of scenery, even though we were in a rolling jail. Darkened windows with bars across the windows.
As we merged onto Highway 94 to head downtown, the song my Husband and I danced to at our wedding came on. “Faithfully” by Journey. It made me smile and feel happy. Just to hear that song and think of my Husband made me feel this new inner strength. I felt hope and knew everything was going to be ok.
Once we get to the courthouse, they file us all in and there is now eight of us in the holding cell. I get called out to go upstairs, where I am put in another holding cell. This time by myself. It’s 11am. I did my “cell” exercises and sat around, then tried to sleep. Then they brought me a second lunch. I just ate the carrots out of it. I did feel guilty, I left a lot of the food. Being in here makes me think of all the people that need help.
At 1:35pm, they came and got me out of the cell and headed to the courtroom. I am in there for 40 minutes watching and listening to all the proceedings. Then I get called. They set a new date. My lawyer was out of town, so I didn’t even get to talk to her. It was almost such a waste, but the trip was better than lockdown. After court, the bus was just about back to the courthouse, so they took me outside. I sat on a bench until the bus arrived, got back on and headed back. Once we got back to Las Colinas, they removed the chains, patted us down, and we walked back to our housing units. The sun felt amazing on the walk back. I got back to my housing unit at 3:30pm. I went back to my cell and waited for dinner. The deputy called me down. We got sweatshirts and an extra blanket ! Thank goodness. I have been freezing every night. They crank the air conditioning every night. It gets so cold. I bet I sleep much better tonight. I’ll finally be warm.
Monday, December 1, 2014
It’s Thursday, chocolate cake tonight ! I finally got my book and I have a video visit with my daughter tonight ! That’s as good as it gets and I am thankful !
Another new deputy today. Back to being out only one time during the day. Top tier got the afternoon shift, at least I get to see the sun today. The little things in my life.
During dayroom today, two girls, one being my bunkie, got into a fight over the tv. My bunkmate got the deputy to change the channel. No one had a problem with it, except one. Everyone was down with some “Maury” and “You are NOT the father” haha. But, this one girl had a fit. She didn’t want to watch this “drama” and my bunkmate and her started arguing, Then the deputy was yelling about lockdown. I thought we all had to go to lockdown and I was going to be so upset, all over a petty fight. Especially after the deputy changed the channel back. The girl got her way and but wouldn’t let it go. She kept running her mouth. My bunkmate got up and started heading to her own cell. She stopped, but then they kept squawking about it and started threatening to fight. The deputy got up and locked both of their asses down. Because my roommate was heading upstairs, she was told she wouldn’t get a write up. But, the other girl got written up and a ticket to a new housing unit. Hard to believe there is another housing unit worse than this one. But, I guess she’ll find out.
The drama was non-stop today. During evening dayroom, the deputy on duty clearly stated no talking to the inmates on the bottom tier. So, everyone stayed clear of the bottom tier. There is an older lady here that suffers from mental illness and is very lonely and desperate for friends. Because she’s not all there and does strange things, most people stay away from her. Of course the bottom tier preys on her weakness. They talk to her and get her to pass notes. The deputy of course sees her doing this and yells at her and sends her to lockdown. It’s messed up, because she did break the rules, but she’s not all there and so desperate for anyone to talk to her. She’s completely taken advantage of. I’m not sure jail is the right place for her. I would say a mental health facility would definitely be better.
I had my visit with my Daughter tonight. It was awesome and so good to see her. I only get two 30 minute video visits a week. I cherish those 60 minutes so much and I have had problems in the past with the deputies forgetting or getting me late for my visits. So, I am always on top of the time and reminding them. Tonight, I knew it was getting close to 8:45pm and I buzzed the deputy. I said “I wanted to check the time because..” and before I could finish, she cuts me off and says “Don’t worry about the time !” I proceed to finish my sentence “I have a visit at 8:45 and don’t want to miss it”. She checks and buzzes me back with her bitch attitude “You have 3 minutes”, then let’s me out. It’s past 8:45, by 3 minutes. That deputy made me wait, even though it was time for my visit. So, by the time I logged on with my Daughter, we only had 26 minutes left. That deputy was such a bitch. I have to hound her, I don’t care, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t even had my visit at all. I understand, I am in jail and all, but some of these deputy’s just don’t care and are mean on purpose. It pisses me off, because they’re hurting my family. My kids more than me. Leaving them sitting there, waiting and worrying. It’s just unnecessary. We are human beings and your badge does not give you the right to treat people poorly. I am nothing but respectful, I deserve the same. Well, at least my visit with my Daughter was awesome. I love her so much.
After lights out, I am lying in bed ready to fall asleep, when I hear all this yelling and banging going on. So, of course I get up to check it out. It’s across the way in cell 22. Same lady that has mental illness thinks she has seen a ghost and is trying to cast a spell and communicate with the ghost. Well, that really upset her cellmate. So, her cellmate starts screaming and yelling at her. The cellmate was purposely making a scene to try and get the deputies to respond and remove the woman. The deputies showed up, pulled the woman out of the cell, wrote her up, and then put her back in the same cell. Welcome to Las Colinas. Inmates with mental illness need to be in a treatment facility with trained professionals. Not in jail with “regular” inmates who take advantage of them, or are afraid of them. Not with deputies that treat them like they are problem inmates. The deputies are not trained to work with these types of inmates. That’s why they handle them the way they do. A lot of the deputies ignore the issues and problems and that’s when it ends up escalating to an out of control situation. As it did when the girl who was licking the concrete. The deputy ignored it and told the girl she had to wait for her appointment with the psychiatrist, when she clearly needed immediate assistance. A girl was choked by an inmate that is waiting to go to Paton, the state mental institution. So, she has been declared “insane” by the state. But, she’s in jail, not segregated. She is in this housing. All they did was have the girl that got attacked move downstairs to a new cell. That same inmate started hitting a girl over a piece of cake. They both got write ups and the girl that was attacked got moved to a new housing unit. So, this inmate has attacked two people and is still mixed in with the rest of us. She clearly has mental issues. How can you just mix these people in with the general population ? They are just asking for trouble.