Saturday, January 31, 2015

Day 56 (11/17/14) "She received devastating news"

It’s Monday, start of a new week. 8 weeks down, it feels like time is so slow here, but it’s already Thanksgiving next week and before I know it Christmas will be right around the corner. The holidays are tough. I just want November and December to be over with. I am ready for 2014 to end and 2015 to begin. 
I got a new roommate yesterday. No one new has moved into our dorm. But, one of the girls hated her roommate and a few nights ago asked to be moved. The deputy told her no. There were 7 open beds, but the deputy refused. She told her “It’s jail, deal with it”. So, she did. But then on Friday night, she received some devastating news, her Father passed away. With the grief of losing her Dad and having a horrible roommate, she couldn’t take it anymore. She cried and broke down to the corporal. The corporal agreed to move her. She had no idea who was in cell 25, Me. She didn’t care, she was just glad to be moved. After dinner we talked. She told me about her Dad and about losing him. It was terrible. That’s my worst fear, losing someone or something serious or tragic happening to a loved one when I’m locked up. You can’t be there, you don’t get to say goodbye. She's so mad at herself. Full of regret and guilt. She kept apologizing for crying. I told her no need to apologize, cry all you want, I cry too, I have my moments because I miss my family. She said “Something about when I walk to chow hall”. I told her “You know what ? Every time I walk to dinner is when I start to really miss my family and sometimes I just want to cry. Other times after dinner when I get back to my cell, I do, I stand at the window and cry. It’s ok, you’re going through a lot”. She told me how weird and rude her old roommate was. How uncomfortable she felt. I told her that she had nothing to worry about. I am a nice and super polite bunkie. She was so happy. She tells me she can tell we will get along just fine. I agree, hopefully she is my last roommate while I am here. She is serving a two year sentence with half, so one year. She gets out November 3rd, 2015. She is 33 and has 4 kids. Her oldest is 14 and her youngest is 3. Her sisters live in Washington and is taking care of her children for her. This is not her first time in jail or prison. But, hopefully her last. I think losing her Dad was a wake up call. She plans on moving out of CA when she gets out and going up to Washington to start over with her kids. Life is too short for this bullshit, in and out of jail / prison. She has so much to give and live for. I hope she gets her second chance and makes the most of it.

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Day 55 (11/16/14) "We make poor choices and don't realize who we hurt"

Officially one week in the new housing unit. What an improvement this week was for me. It was much easier and time goes by quicker and the contact visits are amazing. Ideally, I would prefer to be home with my family, but under the circumstances, things are much better than Housing 3F. I know that this is the “calm” before the storm. I’m still waiting to be sent to CCWF in Chowchilla. But, I can only live day to day and try not to worry about that right now. 
No inspection this morning. Corporal told us she did inspection last night while we were at dinner last night and we all passed. She was also very pleased that we got a good report from lunch today as well. That means we will get late night this weekend. 
I actually got to watch almost the entire Charger game today, that was a first ! 
We had an incident last night during visitation last night. One of the inmate’s visitors had Nutter Butters in her pocket and ate them with the inmate. You can’t bring anything into the visit. You can eat and drink together in the visiting room, but the food and drink must be purchased from the vending machines that are in the visitation room. The deputy came over, made them move, separate, and scolded them. This was two minutes into the visit. She’s very lucky they didn’t end the visit. 
After the families left, we all got yelled at and lectured. The deputy said now no one (visitors) was allowed to wear jackets into the visitation room, because they can’t trust anyone. One woman ruined it for hundreds of visitors. The deputy said just because they (deputies) are sitting here doesn’t mean we’re not watching and we go back through the tapes and re-watch everything after the visits are over. They threatened to remove us and our family members from the visiting list. What was worse to me, was the inmate that helped cause this, didn’t even care. I am on my first week of contact visits and here’s a dumbass trying to screw things up. She’s so lucky she only got a warning. 

My visit last night was with my Husband and Son. It’s night and day, the contact visits compared to video visits. The difference it makes is huge. Especially because I have kids. I hate being away from my babies. At least being able to see them and hug them twice a week makes things easier on all of us. It keeps us close and keeps our bonds tight. 
One of the girls had a visit from her 6 month old baby. Those are hard to see. Such a small baby needs her Mom. We make poor choices and don’t realize how they effect so many other people until it’s too late and the damage is done. I would never intentionally  hurt my kids. I would do anything for them . I would die for my kids, they are my world. I just lost my way and thought I was doing the right thing. I went down the wrong path. I feel so much guilt and shame putting them through this. No child should have to experience the trauma of a parent to incarceration. I will make things right. Use this to show them we all make mistakes and no one is perfect. I am forever thankful that I have a Husband who loves his children and does his best to keep their lives as stable as possible. There are plenty of women that are the only parent and end up in here. It is so sad. There has to be a way to help them. That is one of my many goals when I get out of here. 

What defines who we are, is how well we rise after we fail and fall. I will rise above and I will be stronger, and be a better person, Mom, Wife, friend, sister, and Daughter. I cannot thank all the family and friends enough that have supported me through these dark days. But, I will never stop trying. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Day 54 (11/15/14) "Again, you're not a deputy, you're an inmate"

It’s Saturday, no inspection this morning. In a new housing unit, I’m curious how the inspections are. I would think over in 3F it would be stricter being a behavioral unit, but I don’t think that’s the case. We were in lockdown so much and never left the housing unit, there wasn’t much for us to hide. Inmates had extras, food, and put pads on the vents, but not much else for the past 4 weeks I was there. We got late night for passing inspection, but I feel because of the freedom the “movement” dorms get, they are much stricter and sticklers for the rules. When I arrived last week, there were numerous people on lockdown for failing inspections. I have nothing to worry about because I refuse to risk going back to a lockdown housing unit and losing my contact visits. I keep quiet, don’t cause trouble and follow all the rules. Whether I think the rules are dumb or unnecessary, it doesn’t matter. We are in jail, just follow them and don’t argue about it. Some of these women are just so hard headed, get a clue ! 
We had a corporal on duty today. She was fine all day. No issues, no problems. Then it’s time for dinner. This is where this housing unit is a nightmare. Dinner is mandatory. So, we all have to line up in a straight line and be quiet. Seems like a simple task, but it’s nearly impossible. They have no desire to get in line and they sure the hell don’t know how to stop talking. Kindergartners could do a better job than these women. It’s unbelievable and actually quite pathetic. But, when you don’t care and have no respect for others, this is what happens. The corporal let everyone have it “I have been cool all day. I have not yelled or got on anyone. All I ask is you line up and be quiet, put your hands in your waistbands, walk quietly in a straight line to the chow hall, be quiet in the chow hall, and walk back quietly in a straight line”. Then she informs us she’s back tomorrow for inspection. In can be a quick check in and out of our cells or it can be a search (patted down, put outside your cell, and they destroy your cell). It was up to us, the choice was ours. There was still talking in the back of the line and people were getting pissed. Before we left, I figured no way we’re gonna make it. Then we head out the door to the chow hall. That line was perfectly straight and everyone was quiet the entire walk. I couldn’t believe it. Then we had to wait outside the chow hall before we could go in. Everyone still in line and quiet. It was amazing. Then we hear “Put your hands in your waistbands, turn around and stop talking”. There is always one. Then another deputy comes up and starts yelling at everyone with only a sweatshirt on. She was all over everyone about it yesterday. She told us it’s in the rules and regulations that we are required to wear our blue shirt and blue pants everyday. Sweatshirts are optional, blue shirts are not. It’s an automatic write up if you don’t have your blue shirt on. We started off good, but now it’s not looking so well. We enter the chow hall and everyone gets in line quietly. Then some busy body gets out of line and starts lecturing people in the back of the line. Dumb. What a total idiot. Again, you’re not a deputy, you’re an inmate, not a Mom, not in charge, stay in line and shut the hell up ! These women need to worry about themselves, no one else !  Dinner is just about over and the corporal comes in. She’s just standing, watching us. Everyone notices and is super quiet, but one woman, so oblivious, she keeps talking and talking. Guess who she’s talking to ? Miss busy body. Everyone is trying to tell them to shut up, but by the time they figure it out, the corporal has walked outside. I can only laugh inside because their stupidity is now comical. Miss busy body was one of the women on lockdown who failed inspection last week. You’d think she would control herself, but she can’t. We are lined up outside to head back and the deputy does a blue shirt check in front of the corporal. Totally busted ! We walk back in again in total silence and perfectly straight I might add. But, I figure it’s too late. Then as we come in, everyone without a blue shirt get pulled aside. They are getting write ups. You lose your visits, commissary, and dayroom time with write ups and you get moved to the lockdown housing units. I have been there it’s no joke to me. These women don’t take it seriously. They need to have like a 3 day, 5 day, or 7 day punishment. Send them to 3F and they’ll all take it seriously. They don’t realize how good they have it, until it’s too late and they lose it all. 

I still don’t have a roommate, but I’m ok with it. I prefer it actually. Because, the majority of the women in here don’t care about anything. With no roommate, you don’t have to worry about someone else breaking the rules. Classification needs to check and re-adjust their housing units. There were more disciplined and behaved inmates like myself in 3F then there are in 3D. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of behavioral inmates in 3F, but some of these women in 3D belong in 3F. Tomorrows inspection should be interesting, Will we be sleeping in or up bright and early ? 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Day 53 (11/14/14) "I guess we all thought we were smart"

It’s Friday, we got clean sweatshirts today. Been rather quiet for a change. There were a few squabbles over what we were going to watch on the Tv. You get 25+ women trying to agree on one tv show to watch, not everyone is going to be happy. Miss “housing unit monitor”, the one who likes to think she’s the deputy and scolds everyone about the rules, well she couldn't walk in line today or keep her mouth shut on the way to the chow hall. On the way back from lunch, she was messing around so much, she pretended to fall and was laying on the ground. Really, it was so immature and unnecessary. I was so annoyed. These women are very childish and they totally bug me. I can’t wait to get away from this madness. 
One of the biggest rules here is to not communicate with the other inmates in the other housing units. Well, on the way back from dinner, two women actually stop in front of Housing Unit E and try and talk to the girls sitting at the window. The rest of us were already in our unit. I couldn’t believe it, just because there isn’t a deputy standing there, there are cameras watching and guess what ? They called our deputy and reported them. It’s like the time we were outside and the deputy could not see outside, but there’s a camera. They are always listening and watching. My old roommate has a hot flash and takes off her sweatshirt and is walking around in her sports bra. Well, that is not allowed. The next thing she knows, the deputy comes through the door as my ex-roommate tries to throw her sweatshirt back on fast. The deputy says “You’re killing me”. The deputy had gotten a call about one of her girls walking around in her bra. She was spotted on camera. Instant write up. The deputies hate to get phone calls. These women are so dumb. You’re in jail, they are always watching. What the hell are they thinking ? At chow hall time, they monitor like hawks. That’s how they get caught with the extra food they try to hide. I just laugh to myself sometimes. These women think they are so sly and smart. But you know what ? I guess we all thought we were smart and sly at one time. Hell, we’re all sitting here in jail. Inspection should be interesting this weekend. 
There are 4 phones inside and 1 outside. One of the phones inside is broken. So, we have four phones to share between 56 women. The evenings are hard to get to use the phones. It’s a wait. So, this afternoon, the phone guy comes to fix and check the phones. This is great, we need that 5th phone. Well, when he leaves, we now have 3 working phones now !? So, he was unable to fix the broken phone and ended up breaking a working phone. WTF !?!? He said he would be back. That sucks ! It will be real hard making a phone call tonight. 

My visit was awesome and so amazing yesterday. But, it made me sad today. After dinner I really missed my family. I wish I could see them everyday. They will be back tomorrow night. Something to look forward to. 

When one door of happiness closes, another opens. But, often we look so long at the closed door, that we don’t see the one that has been opened for us. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day 52 (11/13/14) Today is the day....

Well, we didn’t lose an hour last night, we lost an hour this morning. So, the entire housing unit got out at 8am instead of 7am. We did much better today when walking to the chow hall. Especially at dinner. No one wanted to lose the evening dayroom. We have to be up at 3:30am for breakfast. It does really suck, but I don’t mind. It’s a trip outside and out of the housing unit. The girls in line behind me were talking about how they hate walking to the chow hall. They preferred having breakfast in the housing unit and they didn’t mind the lockdown. I’m listening to this and thinking to myself “really” ? I was on lockdown for 20-22 hours a day, now I am on lockdown 14-15 hours a day and 8 of those hours are when I’m sleeping. I would never prefer to be on lockdown 20-22 hours. I guess it’s not bad if you can sleep your days away. But, I can’t even sleep past 7am. 

Today is the day I have been waiting for. My first contact visit ! It’s been 52 days since I have seen or hugged my Husband and kids. They will be here tonight ! I can’t wait. I am so very happy and excited ! Today was a very good day. Time just flew by. Now, it’s the final hour to wait. This has to be the biggest smile I have had in the last 8 weeks. 

The deputy came and got me for my visit. I came through the hallway to the visiting area. She unlocked the door and there they were. All 3 of them sitting at the table waiting for me. They stood up and I hugged each of them. We all had tears of joy. God how I missed them. My family. Together. My visit was amazing ! To hug my Husband and kids was the best feeling. Just to be able to sit at the table together was incredible. We laughed and had such a good time. We were a family again. It didn’t matter where we were, just that we were together. It was unbelievable, I love them so much. 30 minutes goes by quick. I didn’t cry when they left. Instead, I had a huge smile on my face. It felt so good inside. I have not been that happy in a really long time. I can’t wait to see them again. Next visit is on Saturday. I am very blessed with an amazing Husband and incredible children. They are my strength and why I make it through everyday. Their love and support fuel my fire to keep fighting and pushing forward. Later, my Husband would say to me “See babe, no one can take what we have away from us. They may take this and want that, but they don’t have what we have. Never will. We have true love. We have unconditional love”. He is right. We will all be together soon. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Hardest Part - From the Outside (Husband)

You don't hear much about the Husbands or boyfriends when their Wives or girlfriends are sent to prison. Doesn't seem to be much talk about that. I'm sure there are several reasons for that. I don't have any problem sharing my journey. It's a nightmare. I refuse to feel sorry for myself. In fact I never really even think of myself. My family is my world. Kelly and my kids. They are everything. I write to my Wife in my journal everyday. Sometimes I just stare at her pictures at my desk while I'm writing. Like she's right in front of me......
The first few weeks weren't too bad. I was on the "The sooner you leave, the sooner you come home" mindset. Well, 4 months in, I'm struggling. I really miss you. I feel so alone. I have no one to talk to. I want to call you after every thing new that I do. I want to tell you about my day. I want you to be proud of me. It's so hard Kel.  That is the hardest part for me. I can't talk and share things with you. It's hard to remember that this is only temporary. It hurts so bad. You know what kills me ? I can't remember what it was like when you were here. God, that makes me so sad to say.  It's been a tidal wave of so many things. I can see how some people would crumble going through this. I just don't think I have that in me. Mostly because of our children. I love them so much. I honestly didn't realize how much I did love them until now. Quitting and giving up has never been an option. Yes, there are days that I want to lay down and disappear for a day. I want some inner peace. I feel like I am not allowed happiness. I don't know why. Some days I feel like I cannot give and do anymore. I feel like a broken man. But, I find the strength. Somehow, I find it. Somehow it comes. I pray every night to be pointed into the direction of strength. Please show me the way, I will find it and I will take care of the rest. Just show me which way. That is how I live everyday. For now.
I was told that things don't get easier with time, you just get stronger. I can see that. The kids and I are closer and stronger than ever. But, we still have dark days. Some days we pull together, other days we stay apart. But, we always come back. We worry about you a lot and I'm sure you do the same about us. A close friend told me that this will show the kids what unconditional love is. I agree. We will make it through this, as a family. One day, when they go through heartache, they'll realize they can make it and it's not the end of the world. They will have learned that from their Mom and Dad.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Day 51 (11/12/14) Tried to beat the system and lost

I am really struggling with sleeping. I was up at 6:30 am today, got cleaned up and did a ton of exercises. I have the cell to myself again. I’m actually a little sad, my roommate left for prison last night. She's 28, but looks like she’s 18. She’s just a baby, so young and off to prison for the first and hopefully last time. She got 2 years, but after all her time served, she has a year, if that. So, she’ll be home soon. She couldn’t sleep, they come and pick you up at midnight. She was really nervous, I gave her some tips that I was going to use myself. I told her she was going to be ok and she was going to make it. I have faith that she’s going to turn her life around after this. We only got to know each other for a day, but she’s a good kids and I will keep her in my thoughts daily. We said goodbye at midnight. I tried to watch out the window, but didn’t see her. I was nervous for her. This all very hard. I miss her today and hope she’s hanging in there. I wish her the best of luck and I said to her that I might see her up there. She was sentenced October 16th, so 4 weeks she waited for transfer. If it’s 4 weeks for me, then I won’t leave until January. I was hoping to be out of here in December, but I would need immediate removal after my court date on December 12th. I want to get through receiving and on with this as soon as possible. We will see what happens. I can only hope for the best. 
Now I have to wait and see who is going to be my next roommate. The anticipation sucks. I have been pretty lucky so far, I hope the luck continues.
It’s nice in this new housing unit, the freedom to walk to chow hall and be out of our cells so much. But, it’s still jail and I’m surrounded by inmates. Some of these women deserve to be in 3F (behavioral unit). When we walk to chow hall, we are supposed to walk in a single file line, no talking, and hands in our waistbands. How hard is it to follow directions ? It’s so irritating to be around these women. They broke the law, so I don’t know why I’m surprised they can’t listen and follow simple rules. Most just don’t care. It’s hard to be around sometimes. It just reminds me of how I don’t fit in here. It’s almost like they are from another planet. Lifetime of crime, lifetime of not working, lifetime of using and abusing the system, lifetime of drugs. Many have no empathy for others. It’s a strange, but eye opening experience. Today at lunch, this girl did not drink her milk, so these two girls wanted it. They asked her if she was going to drink it. She replied "No”. They asked her if they could have it. She says “No”. They were so pissed and started talking shit. They couldn’t believe someone told them no. The girl in between them told the mean girls to leave her alone. But, they wouldn’t. The entire walk back to the hosing unit, they kept going on and on about it. Even threatening to kick her ass. Really !? Is lockdown worth a milk ? What’s wrong with these two !? Well according to them, it’s the principal. She should have given them the milk. I wish they would send both of them to 3F for a week. I’m not sure it would change their attitudes, but it would definitely put them in the housing unit they should be in ! 
We also have a “self appointed housing unit monitor”. A tattle tail. She thinks she’s in charge. She’s a brat who tells the deputy to lock us down because we don’t follow the rules. She’s not a deputy, she’s an inmate. All you can do is control yourself. It’s unbelievable. This housing unit has more petty bullshit drama, less mental health issues, but tons of “high school” BS. It is jail. 
It’s time for dinner. Our deputy tells us that she only has a few cell numbers down on a piece of paper and those cell number will get out on time at 7pm. Everyone else loses an hour of dayroom time tonight. She lectures everyone about how many didn’t make their beds today (beds have to be made by 9am) and that we talk too much instead of getting in a straight line and being quiet to go to the chow hall. So we waited. 
I made the list. I mean, my bed was made, I was in a straight line and didn’t talk. Not very hard to do ! 
So, we lined up to go to dinner. What a cluster. They kept yelling to move the line back. People were cutting in line. You sit in the order of your line. Each housing unit sits together. 8 people to a table. So, inmates are cutting in line to sit with their “friends”. It’s so ridiculous. Then we have one girl who refuses to sit by anyone that smells. She walks up and down the line yelling “the showers are free, soap, shampoo, and toothpaste, please us it !!”. I agree, good hygiene is a plus, but really, you have to cause trouble when the deputy is waiting on us ? This place is out of control. I am one of the few, that follows the rules. Nothing is worth losing time to see or talk to my kids and Husband. I just want to scream “just do what you’re told, stop trying to beat the system, you always lose, look where we are, we lost !” 

They did a pat down on the way out of the chow hall tonight. You should have seen all the food they found. It’s an automatic write up. Like I said,  they don’t get it, you tried to beat the system, and got caught again. You lose. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Day 50 (11/11/14) "Now, she's in the same unit as her daughter in law"

Happy Veterans Day to all the Men and Women who served our country. 
It’s day 2 in the new housing unit and things are going well and my spirits are high. I got a new roommate last night. Everyone calls her Chuckie, because her hair is short, red and wild and it looks like Chuckie’s hair in Child’s Play. We only met before bed, she seems nice, but I found out she’s pregnant and has to be on the bottom tier. So, first thing in the morning, she moves. I get “Piggy” as my new roommate. She’s pretty cool and funny. She has a daughter who just turned one, her pictures are adorable. Well, another girl leaves and Piggy moves across the way. So, I’m back to having the cell by myself again. 
Got a good work out and showered this morning. At lunch, as we were waiting to leave, three new girls are coming in. They are all from 3F. I was hoping to see my old roommate, but no such luck. But Rosie, Dirty Die’s old roommate is here. I’m glad to see a familiar face. They already had lunch, so they get moved in while we head to the chow hall. When I return, there is no one moved in. I still have the cell to myself. One of the three new girls has to be on the bottom tier, so Jay has to move upstairs. She was moving to 19 but then came over to 25 with me. She said 19 was really dirty and there was a smell coming out of there, so she asked the deputy if she could move in with me. I like Jay. She’s young, nice, and exercises a lot like I do. We talk after lunch. I’m happy with her as my roommate. 
We get out at 1pm for dayroom. Rosie and I do the stairs together for 30 minutes. She fills me in on what’s happening over in 3F and I fill her in on what’s happening here at the new housing and how wonderful it is. She is so happy. She’s here on an 8 month sentence. She has 6 more months to go. This new housing should make it much easier for her. When walk to dinner, she says “Oh Kelly, I like this” and takes a big deep breath of fresh air. I am so happy she got moved, she deserves it. Now, she’s in the same housing unit as her daughter in law. She introduces me to one of the four pregnant women in this unit and says “this is my grandson” and points to her belly. This girl is due December 11th. I’m glad they can be together, but I can’t imagine having a baby in jail. Giving birth, then leaving your baby behind and then coming back here. How awful. It’s really sad and there are four women here that are pregnant. It’s such a shame. It’s too bad there isn’t a program or something to get these Moms home to their babies. Maybe house arrest or something. Rosie has family to take care and come get her grandson, so he does not end up in CPS and in foster care. But still, the best place for that baby is with his mama. All circumstances and stories are different and should be considered. If the Mom is not a threat to her baby or her community, put her on house arrest, so she can care and bond with her child. Have mandatory parenting classes and programs so we can break the cycle of crime, for Mom and her baby. Rosie’s daughter in law was in a car with someone with drugs as a passenger in the car. Of course poor choice of friends and not a good decision, but to keep her locked up and away from her baby does not seem right. 
At dinner, one of the ladies is talking about prop 47. This prop passed last week in CA. Giving non-violent, such as low level drug and property offenses, misdemeanors instead of felonies. Helping reduce the amount of men and women in jail and prison. The millions of dollars saved is supposed to go to programs, rehab, homeless services, mental health and education. It’s the start of a good reform. We just need to make sure we are providing the services, otherwise it’s just  a waste. 

There is a woman here who is 52 years old and homeless. She’s here on a probation violation. She was unable to find work due to her felony record. It’s sad to hear these stories. Prop 47 should help her. The felony drug possession charge should be dropped to a misdemeanor. Hopefully, that would help her in finding a job. This is where the services and programs need to kick in. Help her with  a shelter or place to stay when she gets out and then opportunities to find work. Some of these women really do want a second chance. Not all of them, but there are those that do and if we can give them that second chance, it will only help our communities and neighborhoods. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Day 49 (11/10/14) "I took things for granted, like fresh air"

A new chapter in my journey began today. I slept well last night. Then was up at 4am this morning for breakfast. But, instead of going downstairs and eating in our housing unit, we lined up and walked to the chow hall. It was wonderful to be able to go outside. To walk and to breathe the fresh morning air. The things I took for granted. I appreciate the little things in life so much more now. After breakfast, it’s back to bed until 7am. Then the cell doors open and I was almost out for 3 hours ! Watched the news and read the paper, went outside and walked the stairs for an hour. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. It’s Monday, which means laundry. After laundry we were in our cells for an hour. Then off to lunch. A nice walk in the sun to the chow hall. When we got back, we locked down for an hour and 30 minutes. I wrote letters to my family and then at 1pm, the cell doors opened again. I am not used to this at all ! I’m starting to feel human again ! I went and did the stairs again for 30 minutes and then actually sat down and watched a full episode of Criminal Minds, start to finish ! I couldn’t believe it. Then I took a shower and walked some more before dinner. Again, off to the chow hall. Breakfast and lunch are optional, but dinner is mandatory. Some women just stay and sleep. For me, I’ll be at every meal. The walk outside 3 times a day makes the trip worth it. Plus, if I sleep during the day, I won’t sleep at night. So, after dinner we are locked down for 2 and a half hours, 4:30pm - 7pm. I use this time to write and read my book. I am nervous and anxious today, this is all so new. It’s like starting over again. I miss my old roommate, I wish she could have come along. Then it would have been perfect. My roommate now, went home this morning, so I have the cell to myself. A little lonely but it’s alright. I like the privacy and control to do whatever I want. I need to enjoy it now, because soon I’ll be sharing a room with seven other women. I do hope my old roommate gets moved soon as well. I felt guilty for leaving her behind, but I can’t pass up the opportunity for a contact visit with my Husband and kids. This unit isn’t going to have as many stories or drama to share like 3F did, but I’m ok with that. This is where I should have been all along and now with less lockdown and more routine, I will have the strength to get through the last 5-6 weeks I’m here. I am very happy with day one in my new housing unit. 
This dorm has books available to read, the pencil sharpener works, no one steals the newspaper, you can actually watch tv, and for the most part, everyone seems to get along and is nice. Most importantly, there are no “mental health” issues in this housing. Now, I’m looking into other programs, classes, and services available to me now that I’m in a “movement” dorm. I’m looking for anything to keep me busy and productive. Another day almost done, one step closer to being home. 

Well, the drama never ends in the “behavioral unit”. I can see out in the main part of the jail now. 3E and F are right next door. After dinner I was looking out the window and see two deputies running over to 3E/F. Then around the corner comes another 4 deputies and then a final 2. Something is going down. I can see it now, lockdown and some inmate is out of control. A few minutes later I see a handcuffed and chained inmate being escorted by 4 deputies. No wonder they hated our unit. I am so glad to be out of there and in a lower security unit. My evening was great ! Out from 7pm - 10pm, called my family and was able to read quietly in the dayroom. What a nice change this is. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Day 48 (11/9/14) "I can't believe it ! I wanted to drop to my knees !"

I was very tired, so I was able to get a good night sleep and fell back to sleep after breakfast. I was awoken by the deputy calling my roommate for her medical appointment for her knee. I was so jealous that she got to escape the cell again and actually got to leave this place. I so desperately want out of this cell, lockdown is torture.  Now I’m awake and can’t sleep. I am anxious to see who our deputy is and how the day is going to go. That’s the problem with this unit, there’s no routine. Everyday different deputy, different rules, different schedule. I hate it. I hate waking up and not knowing when the cell doors are going to open. Will it be 7am, will it be after meds ? Will they split the time ? It’s just awful. I work myself up pacing the cell and crying because I miss my family and I just want to move housing units, so I can have less lockdown, more structure, and see my husband and kids. I feel horrible. I question can I make it here another 6 weeks in this housing unit. I don’t think I can. I am trying to dig deep and find the strength, but it’s so hard. It’s upsetting to be in this “behavioral” unit. I don’t belong here. I wish Classification would answer my request. 
We have inspection this morning. No issues or problems, we pass with ease. The deputy on duty is not known for giving us much dayroom time, UGH ! Not want I wanted today, we at least get out for 30 minutes this morning. Just enough time for a quick shower, get toilet paper and sharpen my pencils. 
Time for lunch then back to lockdown we go. My roommate is back and she tells me about her trip. How one of the girls that used to be in our unit was in the van. The one that hurt her had on purpose with the desk. I found out it was with a hairbrush, not the desk. She enjoyed medical for a while, but the cast came off today, and back to our unit she came. I hope she enjoyed the break. My roommate also share with me that one of the girls is “high risk” and is in unit 4B and in their unit, both tiers get out at the same time. What !? That makes me crazy if it’s true. My roommate also found out she should be going back to her old dorm room in two weeks. I am happy for her. She has a long road ahead of her and does not need to be spending it in housing 3F. I am going to be so sad when she leaves me. 
Well, we had afternoon dayroom time and when we locked down, I lost it again. I am really tired of feeling this way. As I am standing at my cell door looking outside, the deputy comes by and asks me what’s wrong. She has me come out of my cell and I lose it. I just tell her how much I miss my Husband and kids and how I have been waiting for Classification to get moved. It was nice that the deputy actually cared and listened to me. I felt better. When I was losing all hope and faith, I find the strength not to give up.

After dinner, I got the call I thought would never come......”B***E, ROLL UP” My request went through ! I am leaving Housing Unit 3F ! I can’t believe it ! I wanted to drop to my knees ! I am so happy and excited ! A little nervous and sad. I am sad to leave my roommate, I feel guilty leaving her, we had a bond and I wish she was going with me. I am a little nervous starting over.   All new faces and routine, and a new roommate. But, I am so excited and happy ! I can’t wait for my first visit and to hug my Husband and kids !! No more video visits ! I will have much less lockdown, hopefully less crazy and problem inmates as well. I pack up and say goodbye to my roommate. I promise I will be in touch with her in the future. I will help her get  a second chance. Then I wait and the deputy lets me go. I get to walk to my new dorm alone, no escort. I breathe the air, feel the freshness. It feels amazing !  I am dying to call my family ! I can’ wait ! I walk into my new housing Unit 3D. The deputy is nice, sends me to cell 25 and a new chapter in this journey is about to begin. I know I can power through the next 5-6 weeks with ease. I am going to be much stronger when it’s time to transfer. I will be able to see my Husband and babies before I go. I am so very thankful and reminded to never give up ! 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day 47 (11/8/14) Acquaintances & "Over the Wall"

I am tired today. I can feel it in my eyes. I want to sleep but I can’t. I was up around 6:30 this morning. It’s just so hard. I want to sleep my time away, but my mind won’t let me. Being up, I didn’t get to say goodbye to “Dirty Die”. She was one of my best “acquaintances” in here. She’s older and has a Daughter that’s the same age as my Son. She’s been to prison before and has really helped me with advice, what to expect, and answered all my questions. We always would trade at lunch. My mayo for her mustard. She was a really good lady. I will not forget her. I am actually sad she’s gone. I am so happy she’s out of here, but I will miss her. I know she won’t be back. Like she told me, she needed this to set her straight. Remind her what she has and to keep on the right path. I hope she keeps on the right path and maybe we will meet again. Just not in this setting. 
Today is just a rough day. I want to stop crying. It should be a good day, we have a really good deputy. I got out at 7am, read the paper, and called my Sister, did the stairs and showered. I get to come out in the afternoon as well. What more can ask for being in this housing unit. Today is a perfect day, yet I am sad. I think it’s a combination of things, missing my family, especially my Husband and kids, Die leaving today, and just being stuck in this housing unit. I really want to get transferred to another unit. One with  a little less lockdown. I know I would do so much better and be so much stronger if I get moved. I have 6 more weeks here at least. I am stressing, because when I get transferred I have another 30-90 days in receiving. That’s more lockdown. 6 months of total lockdown. I dread the thought of it and is why I’m not sleeping. It gets worse before it gets better and I’m trying to find the strength to make it through it all. Deep down I know I can. I know I can do it, but it’s not going to be easy. Not being able to sleep 10-12 hours a day is what’s going to make it rough. I’m hoping if I can get a job in the kitchen or a job cleaning I will be ok. I will make it, it’s having to lay around 15-16 hours a day with nothing to do. Waiting for each minute, each hour to tick by. Every second feels like an eternity. I do know I will be able to write and read books, so that will help, but still the thought of it all makes me anxious. I am ready to get it over with. The worst part of it all is not being able to call my Husband and kids. No phone calls while in receiving. I hope I get through receiving and “over the wall” (sent to mainstream prison) quickly. I am praying for record time, but I know nothing is ever fast when it comes to the system. 
I talked to the deputy before dinner about being transferred to another housing unit and she said I just need to be patient. I was being patient, but I have been here almost 50 days patiently waiting with excellent behavior. I’m tired of waiting. I miss my kids. So, of course I just lost it. It’s been  a while since I have cried so much. My roommate and I cried and talked for hours after dinner. I felt bad making her cry too, it was such  a rough day. She’s a good person. We listen to each other and support each other. We are good people who just want to go home. I take responsibility for my actions, my past poor choices. I want to serve my time, but why does the system punish my kids ? Just 1 contact visit a week is all I’m asking. 1 visit to keep the bond between mother and child is all I’m asking. You know how much less traumatic it would be for my Son and Daughter to be able to give me a hug. I know it’s my mistake, and I have to pay for my mistake I made, but I still have to go back home, back to my community, back to being their Mom. Why is it not considered ? Why isn't there more effort into re-entry, rehabilitation, and reunification ? 

We’ve had the same deputy the last four nights. She is wonderful. She opens the dayroom at 7, gives both tiers the full 90 minutes. She’s respectful to us, but does not tolerate anyone’s crap. Follow the rules and do what your told and there will be no problems. I appreciate the no-nonsense deputies. Both visits I have had on her shift were on time ! Then tonight, she let both tiers out at the same time and gave us late night (late night is when you get an extra hour of dayroom time on Saturday night if your unit passes inspection). So, were were out for 7:30pm - 11pm. It was amazing. There are days we don’t get out that much the entire day. So it was a nice surprise. I got to actually watch a movie, Sleeping Beauty. What was great was, she gave us a chance. Most deputies just hate this housing unit and don’t want to deal with us. But, she gave us a chance to earn the time out. She’s back tomorrow night, Wednesday, and Thursday. This week, if we listen and have no issues, we can be out the full 3 hours on the next 3 nights she works our unit. I am not sure if we earned it, there were no issues, but we did get loud one too many times (that’s the women that don’t know how to be quiet). I hope we get out again. I am thankful for the night, either way, the deputy put her ass on the line to give us a chance and do something nice. It was a pleasant change and reminds me that just like I don’t want the deputies lumping us together and labeling us all as “bad” or “problem” inmates or horrible people, I can’t label and lump all the deputies together as mean and heartless. It was a really good night after a long rough emotional day. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 46 (11/07/14) Unconditional, Unbreakable

It’s Friday, I was finally almost able to sleep until 8am. That’s a nice change. I had an absolutely amazing visit with my kids last night. It was on time and such a pleasure to see their faces and hear their voices. What I would do to be able to just give them a big hug. Just that 30 minutes with them gave me so much happiness and strength. They warm my heart. I love and miss them so much. They are both my special angels. I went to sleep happy and loved thinking about my family. I hope they hear me every night when I tell them how much I love them, miss them, and hope they are doing ok. 

This morning was rough. I stood at my cell door and stared out the window and cried. I just thought about my Husband and how much I miss him. Today is our 16 year wedding anniversary. 16 years ago today, I married my hero, my king, my best friend. He’s been there by my side loving me unconditionally. Everyday, I am so very lucky to have this amazing man. I love him so much and can’t wait to spend another 16 years with him. I spent my morning reading his letter to me over and over again. This is what he sent me:

16 years ago I married my soulmate, my best friend. It seems like a blur sometimes. It’s been  a journey, an adventure, a love story. There have been fantastic times. sad times, tough times, beautiful times. memorable times. I feel so lucky to have you in my life. You have made me a better man. You have stood by me through thick and thin. You’ve listened to me over and over probably when you didn’t even want to ! I would trade any of this for the world. I am so very proud that you are my Wife. I love you, Happy Anniversary. 

It was a hard day, but I made it through it. I called my Husband in the afternoon when I finally got out. Talking to my family really helps. I wish I could talk to them more. 
Then my Husband and I had our video visit. Just the two of us. We joked about our “hot” anniversary date. I love and miss my Husband so much. This situation has brought us closer and has made our relationship stronger. I can’t imagine doing this without him. 
I got a photo postcard today ! It’s my family at the beach. Myself, Husband, and the kids. I love the photo. Just to be able to see them feels good, but hurts at the same time. I miss them so much and desperately want to see them, hold them, hug them, and kiss them. I just want this to end, I am so ready to start a new chapter in my life. My Husband and children give me the strength to dig deep and keep pushing on. 

Life is a Journey. If you got everything you wanted all at once, there would be no point in living. Enjoy the ride and in the end you’ll see these “setbacks” as giant leaps forward, only you couldn’t see the bigger picture in the moment. Remain calm, all is within reach, all you have to do is show up everyday, stay true to your path and you will surely find the treasure you seek. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Day 45 (11/6/14) “You’re going to prison, you’re a convicted felon, what the hell am I going..."

New deputy today. She is respectful and does a good job. Like she said “If you don’t give me any problems, I won’t give you any problems”. She does not split the the tiers in the morning and afternoon. So, we got the AM shift. So, that means 8 hours of lockdown until we get out again. These days are the hardest, but I called my husband this morning and just talking to him briefly gave me the strength to push through the day. I also have a visit tonight with my kids. My Daughter got this place to give her another visit after the debacle on Tuesday. I am so proud ! That’s my girl ! Being assertive and making things happen. 
My roommate let me borrow her book “Splintered, the Real Wonderland” So far it’s excellent. It sucks my roommate got removed from her really great housing unit, but I am thankful she’s my roommate. She’s my best roommate by far. She can talk too much at times, but I don’t mind at all. We get along great and it’s a treat to have someone without any mental illness or behavior problems. 

One of the girls came back from court today just so upset. She signed a “deal”, a four year sentence, she’s going to prison. She gets officially sentenced in December. I feel bad for her. I know what she’s going through and how she’s feeling. I went through it, it feels like the end of the world. Your life is over. What’s left ? Anything ? You’re going to prison, you’re a convicted felon, what the hell are you going to do ? Hopelessness sets in. You think what kind of future are you going to have ? Do you even have a future ? There’s a stigma that goes along with going to prison and being a criminal. No one wants that. You dwell on the past and the mistakes you made. The guilt and shame set in and you start to fall into  a depression. Then you think about the future. The unknown. The fear and anxiety starts up. It’s a crazy time, but from my own experience, you can overcome and find the strength to take on your fate and change to make a better future. Sometimes in life, stumbling blocks are not meant to be harmful to us, but instead they can be viewed as an opportunity to re-focus on our purpose ! I know now that my purpose was not to just collect a paycheck every week. It was to help others. Now, I feel I can really help others. I will not put this all behind me and forget, I will move forward and help. I can share my experiences and hopefully help women about to go through my situation. I will make that happen. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Day 44 (11/5/14) Can you handle the truth !?

Hump Day, had another great deputy. Very respectful and split the morning and afternoon. Guess what ? We didn’t have any issues or problems again today. Miss Personality was the problem, not this housing unit. I understand, we are criminals (those of us who are sentenced, those who are not sentenced are innocent until proven guilty, uh huh). We are in jail, but we all have demons, we all make mistakes, whether we’re in jail or not, and we are all human beings who should be treated with respect. That’s all I’m asking. I’m not asking for Club Med, I just want to be treated with respect. If I ask politely for a pencil, you don’t need to throw it at me and act like I put you out. It’s your job, you are getting paid. I’m tired of this system labeling us as problems and writing us off. Inmates have to be released at some point, therefore we should focus on rehabilitation, not punishment. This new facility is no longer called Las Colinas Detention Facility. It’s now called Las Colinas Re-Entry Facility. It’s supposed to program and help these women in here rehabilitate and prepare them for re-entry back into the community. Well, I love and support that idea, but that’s not how it works here. There are 16 housing units in this facility that house 864 women. This does not count the SHU or Mental Unit. Of the 16 units and 864 women, 1 unit, 48 women are in “program”. 48 of 864 are getting help and services to re-enter back in to our communities. Does that make any sense ? What about the other 816 women housed here ? Why are they being denied services, programs, and treatment ? There are 4 housings that house 224 women that have access to classes and services. They are not in the re-entry program, but they can benefit from schooling, 12 step program, and anti-theft class. They also have services such as book legacy and have contact visits. Resources are available to them, but the remainder of the women get nothing. We are denied all resources, programs, and services the re-entry facility offers. How is this possible or even legal ? Isn’t this discrimination ? Over 50% of the women here are put on lockdown and offered nothing to help them re-enter their communities and prevent them from returning here. It just sickens me what they are doing here. It’s all a facade. Tell the public their tax dollars are being spent on rehabilitation and re-entry, when actually they’re not. The women in here have committed crimes, they have broken the law, but the majority are non-violent offenders and they are not bad people. They just made bad choices. Everyone deserves a second chance. The past does not define a person’s future.