Friday, February 27, 2015

Day 66 (11/27/14) "Tough Times Don't Last Forever...."

Happy Thanksgiving ! This Thanksgiving is going to be a tough one. But, like my Mom told me this week, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do”. This time will pass and I am tough and have the strength to get through it. 
Instead of being down and depressed, I am thankful this Thanksgiving. I have many things to be thankful for. I am thankful to be alive, I am thankful for all the family and friends I have, and all the love and support they give me. This Thanksgiving I am very thankful for my amazing Husband. 16 years ago I married my best friend and soul mate. We have had our ups and downs, but he has stuck by me through thick and thin. I am so very lucky to have a Husband who adores and loves me so very much, who gives me strength and support daily. I am very thankful for my two beautiful and strong children who have brought me so much love and joy. My babies are my world and I am such a proud Mama to have two wonderful, loving, and supporting children who love me unconditionally. I am so thank for my Lioness and Lion Cub. I am thankful for my Mom and Dad. Who have supported me through all my highs and lows throughout my life. My Dad, who’s love, support, and inspiration every day has made me stronger. My Mom, who’s love, support, and encouragement gets me through the day. I am thankful for all the love I receive daily from my parents. I am thankful for my two Sisters who have been my family, my Sisters, my friends my entire life. The bond and love we share, is so very special. Their love and support is absolutely incredible. They have gone above and beyond for me and my family. They always have my back. I am thankful for my Mother in Law. She is a very special lady with a very big heart, who has welcomed me into her family and has treated me like I am her Daughter. I am so thankful for her love and support. I am thankful for the rest of my family, Aunts , Uncles, Brother in Laws, Grandparents, cousins, and so on. The amount of love and support I have received in unbelievable. 
When I thought I was all alone, I really never was. I just couldn’t see the sun through the clouds. I was in a dark place for a long time. I am thankful for my friends, my true friends that stayed by my side even during my lowest point. I am thankful for my current cellmate, who is a good person, is supportive, and a pleasure to share a cell with. I am thankful for the new housing unit I am in, the contact visits I receive, and the few deputies that go out of their way to treat me like a person rather than a criminal. I have so much to be thankful for this year. 
Happy Thanksgiving. 

My day was alright. We got dayroom time this morning and afternoon. I was able to call my family and talk to my Husband and kids. Everyone was disappointed about the visit, but I’ll see them on Saturday. I was able to talk to my Mom and Dad as well and wish them Happy Thanksgiving. Due to the short staff on hand this Thanksgiving, the visits got cancelled, and we were not allowed to leave the housing unit. So, no walking to the chow hall or patio time today. We had all our meals in our housing unit. Breakfast and lunch were our usual meals, but dinner we had slices of turkey, some stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, mixed vegetables, a roll with butter, chocolate milk, and a piece of pumpkin cake. It was actually not that bad. I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, due to the jail being understaffed, we are in lockdown again tonight. I am reading a really good book right now, so I’ll get through the night. Tomorrow will bring a better day. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day 65 (11/26/14) My Family is in Prison Too

Happy Hump Day ! This week seems to be going by quickly. Must be because of the 4 day holiday weekend coming up. I have my visit with my family tomorrow. I’m so excited, at least my Husband, Son, Daughter, and I can have 30 minutes together this Thanksgiving. I am out of my moody funk from yesterday and am in  a positive, happy state. Enjoyed some more patio time late yesterday afternoon, so I think that really helped. Talked to my family and enjoyed Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Today was a good day and went by pretty quick, until the evening shift arrived. We got out at 7pm and like usual, all the phones were full so I waited for the phones. Our deputy did razors and mail. Then, while I was sharpening my pencils, there was a call on the radio and we had to lockdown. It was only 7:25pm. The deputy said it was nothing we did , but we had to lockdown. Something was going on in the facility. My guess it was in housing unit F. She said if she got back in time, she’d let us back out. I didn’t get to call my family. I was hoping we’d get to get out, but we didn’t. We stayed on lockdown the rest of the evening. I was bummed, but handling it pretty good. I was actually glad it happened tonight instead of tomorrow. When I sat down to read my emails, I started to worry. My Husband tried to schedule our visit online this morning for Thanksgiving and it wasn’t letting him. He felt incredibly guilty. He felt he didn’t do enough to insure the visit. He was up and online at 6:20am and was thinking he should have gotten up earlier. He assumed that all the visits were full. The kids were super disappointed. He was very upset and to not get the visit was devastating. He said he would be calling the jail in the morning to see if they could help him schedule it. He was hoping it wasn’t full, because he didn’t want me to be crushed if he couldn’t get a visit scheduled. He was so stressed out, he starts thinking the worst, and his mind goes crazy. After reading this his email, I feel horrible. Because, to add to the stress and worry, I can’t call them tonight because we are on lockdown. I know this is going to add panic as they wait by the phone for me to call and the phone never rings. Of course this happens on a Wednesday. Prison transfers leave on Wednesdays at midnight. So, I am sure my Husband is worried that I could have been transferred to receiving and I feel awful as I sit in my cell and there is nothing I can do. I think to myself it will be ok. I’ll call them first thing in the morning and I am hopeful he got our visit scheduled. This whole situation is so unknown. It’s torture for my family. The have no clue what’s happening. It makes you lose your mind. Like my Husband said, my family is in prison too. It’s heartbreaking and devastating to know my family is suffering, worried, and scared. It’s not right and I know it is my actions that caused this. But, the system shouldn’t punish the innocent families. They didn’t just prosecute and sentence me, they prosecuted and sentenced my family too. We have to reform our sentence and find a better way. I found out this morning at breakfast, that we are on a non-movement lockdown. Meaning we can’t leave the housing unit, as in, we ate breakfast downstairs and not in the chow hall. I asked the deputy about visits ? She no visits today. I immediately lost my appetite and went back to bed. I cried before falling back asleep. Hoping we would at least be able to be out of our cells so I could call my family. I am so disappointed. This holiday weekend is going to be so hard. 

It may be stormy, but it never rains forever...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Day 64 (11/25/14) Ever have a bad prison ?

It’s another day and I’m feeling annoyed. I’m not sure what it is. Ever have a bad day ? I try and stay positive everyday and do my own thing and stick to my routine. But, today, I am just moody. I think these women are taking a toll on me. See, on the outside, you have a bad day and you can get away from it. Definitely not here. It started with breakfast. The walk to breakfast is no longer enjoyable. At first, I loved getting up and being able to just be outside and walk to the chow hall. Now, it’s miserable. It’s really cold, so your up at 3:30-4:00 in the morning walking outside in the cold. We have a little old lady who shuffles her feet and walks very slow. One of the deputies put her at the front of the line, so we had to walk at a snails pace in the cold. It was not a fun experience. I am really not a morning person either, so I prefer to not talk. I want to be left alone, eat, and go back to bed, but got stuck next to “chatty Cathy” this morning, who would not stop talking. She talked my face off on the way to the chow hall, in the chow hall, and back to the chow hall. I was nice and polite, but when I got back to my cell, I was over it and complained to my bunkie how annoyed I was. I felt bad, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. The worst part was the sound of dragging sandals. Half these women can’t pick up their feet when they walk. So, you hear the horrific sound of sandals dragging. You can hear them coming from a mile away. For some reason today, it was like nails on a chalkboard. I want to yell for them to pick up their damn feet when you walk ! My bunkie had to tell the story of the deputy and what she did to poor Wyonna 100 times today. Every time the story got more and more exaggerated. I guess we’ve all done that before when telling the same story over and over. 
Someone hijacked the newspaper today and took it to their cell so that wasn’t even an option for anyone today. It was found later. Someone had used it as toilet paper and it was covered in shit. Wonderful. 

We couldn’t agree on what to watch on TV. It was really a frustrating day. We have a lot of new women in our housing unit and we have a lot of our “old timers”. Then there are the “know it alls” and the “bossy bitches”. I’m tired of the “bossy bitches” telling everyone the rules and then not following them themselves. Then there’s the “TV monitors” that when they are watching TV, they always yell “TV courtesy please !!” But, when they aren’t watching TV, they are loud as hell. It’s a housing unit of 56 women, with all sorts of personalities living under one roof. Sharing one newspaper, 5 phones, one TV, 14 TV chairs, and 5 showers. Considering all that, we get along pretty well and at the end of the day, I’m glad to be in this housing unit dealing with all the annoying and irritating women than sitting in my cell in lockdown. Nothing was as bad as Housing 3F. I can’t imagine how I’d be if I were still in there. That was mental torture. This is probably the most I have bitched since being in here, but I’ll allow myself to slip from being positive once in a while. As another day passes, I am thankful for what I have. I remind myself to be happy and grateful for what I have, because it sure could be a lot worse. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

CA Prison Receiving Flow and Effect

CA Classification Process (Receiving) Flow for Women and the Effects Part One
By Blogger Voice (Husband)

I wasn’t really sure how the process worked after sentencing in CA. But, I do know this. After sentencing, you are held (well, for my Wife) at county jail. The length of time at County can vary. It can be determined by any other local court dates to even just waiting for a seat in the van. We were told by a deputy, that CDCR tries to move the male inmates first. So, the wait time might be longer for females. Then you are sent to classification (receiving). All women serving prison time in CA, go through Central California Women's Facility (CCWF) before being sent to their mainstream prison. There, you are tested medically, mentally, your education is tested, and your “work” abilities are determined. County>Receiving>Mainstream Prison. 

When you get sent to Receiving from County, you will not know until maybe 2 hours before you are taken to the van. So, once you’ve made your phone call to family or friends that night, you could be notified say around 10pm and you are packing up and leaving at midnight. You are not allowed to call anyone to let them know (For security reasons. You know, for those of us that are in say a “Fast and the Furious” type group with all the movie type stunts to rescue our loved ones). So, the next morning or day your family doesn’t hear from you, they are left to figure out what happened. Calls to County and hearing that your loved one is no longer in their custody is what they will say. Not much else. So, you have to just wait until they have been processed (24 hrs) at CCWF and show in the “Inmate Locater” on the CDCR website. Your loved one, will then make the drive to Chowchilla, CA. From Las Colinas Detention and Re-Entry Facility in San Diego, the drive is 375 miles (approx 6.5 hours). Way out in the middle of nowhere. During their stay there, which could be up to 4 months, there is no contact visits or phone calls. They do allow emergency phone calls. But, your main communication with your loved one will be via letters and postcards. Originally, we heard that the mail took 4-6 weeks to get through. But, I believe that was around the holidays. Letters to us took 5-7 days. Postcards to us were 4-5 days. Our postcards sent, took 7-8 days. I still don’t know how long letters take to get through. The fact that they have to be opened, adds time, due to the already short staffed prison. The staff isn’t supposed to read the letters, just scan for keywords like drugs, gun, kill etc. But, who really knows. Postcards are definitely the way to go to make initial contact. They also tell you to not have any art or drawings on the plain postcard you’re sending. So, having the inmates child draw them a picture on the postcard isn’t allowed. Might signal something. Crazy. These are all things that I have run into. You may have gone through something different, but this is what I have seen. 
When they first get into receiving, they are put into a 2 inmate cell (depending on overcrowding). Praying you get a decent bunkie. They will eventually be moved into an eight inmate cell. That’s where things might get interesting. You aren’t dealing with one other personality anymore, you’re dealing with 7 others. Remember, inmates are being “classified”. There are all different security levels there mixed in together. I did hear of fights. I mean, there were fights in County too. You just never know. 
What’s really tough is, when your loved one runs out of paper or envelopes, she has to wait for commissary. Which in receiving, is once a month. Her books can have money on them, but it won’t matter until that once a month visit to commissary. As far as putting money on her books, the company we had to use was JPay. Total ripoff. Their processing fees for your deposits are ridiculous. Can range from 10% to 20%. You can send a money order to JPay, but the processing takes forever, Trust me, they (JPay) encourage you to use your credit or debit card for “Immediate deposit”. Gee, I wonder why ? JPay is just one of the many companies that profit from the incarcerated. 
So, the communication between inmate and family can be very tough. I was very surprised that there wasn’t any type of program that would allow a child of an inmate to see their Mother while in receiving. I even called CCWF and asked why that was. While they were courteous, they gave no reason. It’s just the way it is. The information on the CDCR website, doesn’t give much info regarding family during receiving. There was this:

The intent of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Visiting Program is to develop and maintain healthy family and community relationships.

This is for mainstream prison visitation. Receiving seems to be the “black hole” of the process. The lack of communication for children with their Mothers is devastating. We will wait and wait for that letter to come. We, as adults, are equipped to deal with this separation, though it hurts like hell, we can deal. Children ? No way. Confusion, pain, sadness, depression, separation anxiety. It’s all there. It’s brutal on them. They can receive letters and write. That’s it. That’s not anywhere close to relieve what they are going through. Yes, there are programs and groups that will help with the feelings of a child of an incarcerated parent. But, they need that contact. At least a phone call. 
I would love to see this “rule” changed. I’m sure there would be overwhelming support for this change. 
Stay tuned for Part Two..Blogger Voice

Website For Receiving in CA

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 63 (11/24/14) "It's easy to send people to prison"

It’s Monday, the start of a new week. I read an article in Sunday’s paper titled “It's Easy to Send People to Prison - Hard to Keep Them Out”. It was about the new re-entry programs that County of San Diego has launched. Helping inmates prepare to re-enter their communities. This is very important, because 95% of the people sent to jail or prison are going to come back to our communities. When they do get out, do you want them breaking into your car or robbing your house, dealing drugs on your street, or stealing your identity ? Of course not. We would rather they get out and stay clean, get a job, no longer commit crimes, and give back to the community and neighborhoods. Rather than destroy them. For so long we put people in jail or prison, offer them no rehabilitation and put them back on the streets to commit more crimes. 65% of felons return to prison within 3 years of release. We have to break the chain somewhere. The programs are a start, but we have a long way to go. But, hopefully the trend to have re-entry programs will grow and continue over the years. The goal should be to help these people with substance abuse, mental health issues, housing, job training, life skills, get back on track, and end a life of crime. There is a lot of work to be done for women and I hope in the future I can be a part of and contribute to the San Diego Re-Entry programs and services. 

Tonight we had a new deputy. She was training with another deputy. Training with the same deputy who wrote up everyone in our unit who was not wearing their blue shirt under their sweatshirt to the chow hall. This deputy is a real peach. I am debating who’s worse. This peach we have tonight or Miss Personality. They both are a real piece of work. Unbelievably rude, mean, and disrespectful. I know we are in jail, but we are still human beings, not garbage. She wasn’t too bad during the evening, because she was training. But, she did not hand out mail until after we were in bed asleep and then proceeded to wake us up at 1am to check our wristbands before giving us our mail ! I don’t know what procedure this is, but we usually get our mail handed out during evening dayroom time, if not, then it’s given to us at night count. Not tonight, I was woken up to get my mail that I can’t even read because it was dark ! Then breakfast rolled around. We were all aware of how this deputy is and no one was going to chance anything with her. So, as soon as we come out of our cells, the new deputy is asking and checking to make sure we have our blue shirts on under our sweatshirts. Once we are all in line, Miss Peachy Personality, comes by yelling at everyone and starts doing a blue shirt check. Everyone is showing her their blue shirts under their sweatshirt. Then she goes to Wyonna, who is in her late 60's, who can’t hear, has trouble walking, and has no clue what the deputy is asking. So, the deputy pulls up her sweatshirt and sees her nicely tucked in blue shirt. Instead of moving on down the line, she yanks the old lady trying to untuck her shirt and roughly man-handles her to make sure she’s not wearing her night gown underneath. Wyonna is taken back and looking at her like what the heck is going on ? She’s a little old lady. Why did you felt the need to treat her that way ? The deputy was just out of line. This morning, Wyonna told our day deputy how mean she was to her. My bunkie was so heated about it, that she filed a grievance on the deputy this morning. She was really fired up and she’s right, it was really uncalled for. I hope we don’t have her all week. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of my bunkie’s grievance. 

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”

Monday, February 16, 2015

Day 62 (11/23/14) "Her Mom let her down so many times"

I had my visit with my Husband and Son. It was wonderful. I love and miss them so very much. I absolutely love the two visits I get a week. It helps me get through every week, every day, and every minute. I know when I leave and got to receiving, there will be nothing, so I can only hold onto what I have now. 
I felt guilty before my visit, my bunkie was supposed to have her visit with her Mom yesterday morning. She was so happy and excited on Friday. Her oldest Son is with her Mom right now, so she thought she might get to see him too. On Friday, she was really struggling with her Dad’s passing and the meds. I just kept trying to keep her positive and hopeful. Then she finds out she had a visit and confirmation of her GED class. She was in high spirits. We cleaned our cell together for inspection, we talked, we laughed. My bunkie was doing really well and I was so happy for her. She got up this morning and got ready. She was waiting excitedly when the deputy had to to tell her that her Mom never checked in. So, either she was a no-show or she was late. You have to check in one hour before your scheduled check in. If you are 2 minutes late, your visit can and will get cancelled. The news just devastated her. She was very upset and so let down. I felt horrible. She went back upstairs and slept the rest of the morning. I checked on her and asked if she was ok. She was so angry at her Mom. She shared how her Mom let her down so many times in her life. How she would steal and hustle to get rent money because her Mom would gamble it away. It was really sad to hear and she was so disappointed because her Mom knew how much she needed and wanted to see her because her Dad just passed away. She was so alone and this just crushed her. She would rather do her time alone than be set up for disappointment. I tried to comfort her as much as I could. I just listened and was there for her. She spent the entire day really depressed and slept the day and night away. It’s really painful to see women go through this nightmare all alone without love and support from family and real friends. I am so grateful for my family and friends. I have the support, I think that’s why I want to help others while I’m in here. I try to share that love, encouragement, support, and inspiration with others who might not have it on the outside. But, I do worry about what family and friends will be here all the way through this nightmare. I know it will change. People move on and live their lives and they forget. I can’t ask them to stop living. It’s my fault. I’ll hold tight onto what I have now. 
I hope even though I am in here, I hope I can still help others and make a difference. I read this quote in this book I’m reading. I loved it, will never forget it, and will live by it. “Never look down on a man unless you are trying to help him up”. 

I signed up for patio time today. There is a patio section outside the housing units. In front of the two buildings, 3AB and 3CD, there are cement chairs and picnic tables. The area is out in the open with grass and trees. Each unit (A,B,C,D), gets specific days and times to go out on the patio. There are no “in and out” privileges. You sign up and once you come back in, you can’t come back out. I went outside and sat in the sun for over an hour. I did some exercises, walked a little, and just laid there and let the warm sun beat down on me. I felt alive to see the blue sky, feel the sun, and breathe the fresh air. It was the first time in 9 weeks I was able to enjoy the outdoors. 
I watched the Charger game and started a new book. I struggled a little today. I have my moments when my desire to be home overwhelms me. God I miss my Husband and kids. They really need more and longer visits her. My Husband and kids are my strength. As the day comes to an end, I am thankful another week as passed. 

Being deeply loved by someone give you strength

While loving someone deeply gives you courage 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Day 61 (11/22/14) "I have Tourette's, so sorry"

It’s the weekend, hello Saturday ! I guess my mind still feels a weekend is a good time. Maybe a taste of freedom. I'll take it while it lasts. 
Last night we had some drama. A fight over the TV. I have a feeling that TV is one of the main reasons for fights in jail. It's not like we all have flat screens in each cell with cable and remotes. There is one tv to be shared with up to 56 people. We’ve had some new inmates come into our housing unit over the last two days. Two girls moved in next door to me Tuesday morning. I am not a fan. They are loud, have attitude, and I can tell they are trouble. But, I just stay away and ignore them. Last night after the movie we were watching ended, everyone that was watching tv actually agreed to change the channel and watch the show Criminal Minds. The two new girls had already gotten up and left, but came back 10 minutes later. They came in and start complaining that the channel got changed because they wanted to watch Bride of Chucky and start demanding that it get changed back. Everyone watching told them no. “You got up, we all voted to change the channel, plus you’re new to this unit and we have already seen that movie”. The one girl is not happy and starts yelling out. The deputy comes up and asks what she’s doing.  She replies with “I have Tourettes, so sorry”, really sarcastically and bitchy. The deputy tells her she can have Tourettes in her cell. But, the girl is refusing to lockdown. So, the deputy yells that if she doesn’t lockdown, she’ll lock the entire housing down. Well, this gets everyone’s attention. As the deputy is walking up to her, her cellmate and friend jumps up and says “I see how it is, you have to be black in here to be treated right”. Well, that really got everyone up in arms ! Everyone is now yelling at her that it’s not about race. It had nothing to do about race, it had to do with two little brats not getting their way and trying to mess it up for everyone else. As the roommate was walking away, the deputy says “What cell are you in ?” Everyone starts yelling that she’s the roommate and the deputy locked her down as well. Then the deputy yelled “I’m not new, don’t push me or I will put you on lockdown every time”. Once the two problem inmates were locked in their cell, it was a quiet night. I believe the difference is, some of these girls are here for a short stay, they really don’t give a shit. The ones like myself that still need to go to receiving then prison, your mindset is different. A much longer journey. Why make it worse ? I guess they can't help themselves. 
There has not been any serious issues in this housing unit, until these two in 26 showed up. I hope they learned their lesson. If not, the deputies need to pack them up and move them to a “non-movement” dorm. Again, they have no clue how good they have it over here. Honestly, they are nothing but trouble and we don’t need the attitude or problems. It’s just so irritating to be around this ridiculous nonsense. It’s not too hard to be respectful and it’s not too much to ask. Like I said within a week or two of being here, this place is like junior high school.  

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Day 60 (11/21/14) "Life is happening without me"

Day 60 today. It’s hard to believe I’ve been here for 60 days. It’s tough, because I know life goes on. Life is happening and it’s passing me by as I go through my daily routine, that is nothing of substance. My family and friends are continuing on with life without me. It’s depressing when you think about it. But, I just focus on the positives. What I have learned, how I have changed, and the stronger person I have become. I remember, it’s only temporary. I have so much love and support backing me and a wonderful family to go home to. Not too many women in here can say that, unfortunately.  They have to do their time alone and when they get out, they face the reality where they will go, live, eat, what are they going to do, fight to get their kids back, try and find a job, all the harsh realities of life they will face. 
I found out today that Las Colinas actually offers a pre-release class that helps women find housing, services, employment assistance, and give you clothing vouchers. I am not sure how many women get to participate, because these services and classes are offered in the small re-entry part of the facility. Not the detention part of the facility. But, it’s a start and I hope this can be expanded in the near future to help more women. 
I have been helping my bunkie out with listening and talking to her about her Dad. Just being there for her as she grieves. Then she just found out that CPS is trying to take her kids. There’s a court date in December. Her kids are together and are well taken care of by her Sister, so I helped her out and we reached out to counseling about it. The counselor came and brought her paper work for guardianship and is assisting my bunkie with everything to insure her kids stay together and with her Sister. Then we got her signed up to get her GED. She starts class on Monday and I promised to help her with her homework and study for the exams. Then on her own, she signed up for NA meetings. She said she’s ready to turn her life around and do something. She wants to make her Dad proud. She plans on becoming an inmate worker next month, after she gets her meds taken care of. I am really happy for her. I think she’s really going to do it. The death of her Dad really hurts, but I think it was a blessing for her and the wake up call she needed. I am glad I could help her and be there for her. I hope she is successful with her second chance. 

It may be Stormy, but it never Rains forever 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Day 59 (11/20/14) Come in "Clean" and leave "Dirty"

It’s Thursday, we get chocolate cake for dinner and I get a visit today ! Today should be a really good day. I still struggle sleeping in, my internal clock is up at 6:30am everyday. I can’t seem to stop it or sleep in. I know this may sound like I just want to sleep, but it’s more like I just want to sleep this time away. I guess it’s just the routine I’m on right now. I just get worried and panicky sometimes about it, because when I transfer and have to sit in receiving for 2-8 weeks (maybe longer), what am I going to do ? I am unable to sleep my days away. I am restless and hate being locked down and the sitting and laying around all day makes me crazy. I’ll just have to adjust and remind myself it’s only temporary. I think about requesting meds to sleep, but I just can’t do it. I see what meds do to some of these women and I don’t wan to lose who I am, so I just have to power through it. Right now I am powering through it. I have a pretty good routine going and I have a really good roommate. 
My bunkie is going through a lot right now and all the meds they put her on just makes her so tired and irritable. At night, she takes four different medications. I think medication is being over used in here. I believe medication is needed for certain mental illness, but it’s not the answer. My bunkie lost her Dad, she needs to grieve and process. This is so she can move on with her life, not just sleep the days away and not face it and deal with it. They really need a mental health clinic and services here. Individual counseling, group therapy, classes and treatment. We can’t keep doping these women up while they are in here and then release them back on the streets. Come in clean and leave “dirty”. I hear the stories so many have suffered really traumatic childhoods, or have had traumatic situations, such as rape or abuse which has led them to drugs and alcohol. Covering up and hiding from the pain and never dealing with it and the mental illness that goes untreated for years. Eventually, we have to attempt to help them, treat them, and break the cycle of crime. Currently, the treatment in jail is far from adequate. The mental health service offered is a psychiatrist that will prescribe meds and safety cells (24/7 lockdown). If you need to see the psych doctor, it takes a month to be seen. We need more efforts on treatment. Eventually these inmates have to be released. Clean or dirty. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Day 58 (11/19/14) There's something wrong with the meat

It’s hump day and one more day until my visit. Things are going by pretty quick. It’s a beautiful day out and the sun feels amazing. I wish we got to be outside more. The walks to lunch are my favorite. The sun feels great and it’s so beautiful out. Breakfast walks to the chow hall aren’t so enjoyable anymore. It’s freezing in the morning. It’s hard to get out of bed at 4am, from under your warm blanket and you have to go outside where it’s 38 degrees. I get up in the front of the line because I can’t get behind stragglers when I’m freezing ! I want to get there and get inside quick. 
The pregnant women in our dorm get a special diet for lunch only. Today, I found out the reason they get a special diet at lunch. They can’t eat the lunch meat that they serve at lunch, so they get chicken or eggs. This is a bit alarming to me because, what is wrong with the lunch meat that they can’t eat it and that it will harm their baby ? Of course we can’t ask the deputies why. I am so glad I don’t eat the lunch meat. I knew there was something not right about it. That is why I have a cheese sandwich everyday. I know there have been times that the meat has been spoiled, but they serve it anyway. I stay away from anything that is questionable. If it’s fresh fruit, I’ll eat it. 
Today when we lined up for lunch, there were a group of girls at the window talking and laughing and trying to communicate with the other housing units on their way to the chow hall. As I mentioned before, this is a big no no. So, because they couldn’t stay out of the window, the entire housing unit lost an hour and a half of dayroom time this afternoon. It totally sucked. It’s so frustrating how a select few can ruin it for everyone. 

Then right before dinner, our deputy says she’s doing inspection for any extras. The number of women panicking was not surprising, and our cells were locked, so they could throw any away. Many thought they were going to be locked down. I was just praying it would be individual punishments, because if we get locked down, I can’t call my kids. I could also miss my visit tomorrow. I was so upset, I could even enjoy my walk to the chow hall. Panic was setting in. Once we got back, nothing happened. Today ended up being a warning. She confiscated what she found, but reminded us she was here all week. Including inspection this weekend. This should make for an interesting 5 days. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Day 57 (11/19/14) "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum"

Today started out pretty uneventful. Our housing unit is down to 45 inmates. That’s 11 open beds. More and more people are going home. Prop 47 really helped out a lot of women. As our numbers go down, the quieter it gets in here. That’s what I thought, but at dinner last night, one of the girls had a seizure in the chow hall and was taken to medical. While she was gone, her cellmate who is doing a 10 day flash for a probation violation, used her personal stuff. So, today, when she was back to her cell and realized what her cellmate had done, she was pissed and ready to beat the hell out of her. During afternoon dayroom time, she went to her cellmate and said they needed to talk. They went back to their cell and slammed the door shut. Usually, that would mean it’s brawl time. But, the girls didn’t want lockdown or get written up, so she went off on her and told her to “Roll her shit up and get the hell out of the cell”. Then she went to the deputy and said “I have a thief in my cell and she needs to get out”. The other girl rolled up her stuff and got out. She didn’t put up a fight at all. The deputy moved her into another cell. I think when the inmates "take care" of their own issues with the others without violence, the carrying on, the deputies don't mind. But, that would be the "grown up" thing to do and that rarely happens. 
This evening, one of the inmates got into it with the deputy. Our deputy at night has been assigned to our housing the last five days. One of the male deputies has visited her every night. It’s not uncommon for the male deputies to come and check in the units and talk to or help the deputies. But, the inmate was making a comment that the deputy’s “boyfriend” was here. The deputy got mad and told her to stop. The inmate was disrespectful and was calling the deputies “Tweedle dee and Tweedle dum”. Well, that didn’t really go over well. Lockdown she went. The deputy wrote her ass up and the Sergeant came by and he was pissed. He let the girl have it. Assigned her a two day lockdown. Again, this girl just couldn't keep her mouth shut. It still amazes me. No, it's not at all easy in here, but you sure can make it worse for yourself. Rule number one, this is their house ! I’m just happy another day is down.