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. 

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