The Felonious PhD.

White Collar Female PhD. Felon, Prison Camp, Re-Entry, Criminal Justice Reform. Women, Lesbian

One Month Down…

on November 26, 2013

November 14, 2013

As I sit in the library writing this blog, I cannot help but think, “What the hell??!!”  Then I remind myself that I must continue to look forward.

Over the past month, I have met and conversed with several women and there are many more who  I’m sure will come into my path and want to share their story.  Up until now, there is a theme that runs through every story, no matter the sentence or the offense.  That theme is the shared sense of loss of families, friends, careers…..lives.  No matter if the surface conversation is about the justice system, the food, the three secure men’s prisons that surround this camp, the recreation schedule, t.v. room, and limited commissary list, especially when they are out of yarn, the aching for home and the familiar underlies everything.

On the other hand, I have had very limited discussions about what is next.  I mean, I am, and always have been, a planner.  Whether all of the plans ever completely come to fruition or not is not the issue.  I am in a constant state of planning.  What I am finding in here though, through the few conversations I have had on this topic, is that people in here, especially if they have a long sentence, only plan to fight to get out or have their sentence reduced.  If they have a short sentence, they are only worried about getting out.  Period.  If they are like me and have a middle of the road sentence, they are vacationing.  Not all, but some, have just stated that it is, “In God’s hands.”  I truly do not see my train of thought as particularly faithless or spiritually void, I just see that I will be 51 years old when I am released, my son will be 16, the system has destroyed my organization, revoked my license to practice in the health  field AT ALL, locked me up, and then will set me free!  So, I have to plan.

I feel that I have another good 15 to 17 years of mind-boggling energy to give somewhere.  I must plan.  I plan to stay politically aware, even though we get no news and our newspapers are days late; I plan to keep my mind and body sharp even though I feel this system is one that creates dependency and mediocrity.  I plan to never allow this experience to break or define me.  Even though everywhere I turn I am called by my last name,  number, or simply “inmate.”  I plan to remain loving, caring, and peaceful even though the environment is over crowded, loud, and commands distrust and silence.

The last month has provided no “lesson” to be learned.  I have and will continue to be extremely inconvenient and wasteful in so many ways.  After hearing some of the other’s stories, particularly two that I heard yesterday which were very similar to mine, I am thankful but I feel so angry and frustrated with this process.  They are also health care providers and were given 12 years.  What is the point in that punishment?

With one month down, the initial shock is over.  I am no longer a “newbie.”  With one month down, I am getting closer to leaving this camp and once again contributing to the lives of those I love and care for.  With one month down, I am on my way to putting this experience behind me.

I will now have to endure the holiday season without my son.  I want the system to know that this so-called justice is spiritually mean, financially draining on itself, and ineffective at creating societal change.  As an African-American woman, it is all too familiar and I have overcome it before.  This past month has validated that for me.

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