The Felonious PhD.

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

My New Bunkee……Moving on Up….

I have now reached the mountain top!  I will spend the newt 20-26 months here in the last phase of the housing process. As I have detailed, the crowded and extremely noisy multi-purpose room  is the first stop on the journey.  In there, most people begin on the top bunk when they arrive.  The bottom bunks are prime real estate for several reasons; if you are older (and I, being a young, fresh, vibrant 49, am on the borderline of old in here which is a sad testament to who is in here, so I  began on top) or handicapped the lower bunk is a necessity for safety reasons.  Other reasons have to do with socializing, and that is all I will say about that matter. As I said, I was initially placed, by the intake worker, on a top bunk, but because of the quick thinking mentors, I was able to switch to a lower bunk in the multi-purpose room fairly quickly.  Typically campers remain in the multipurpose room for three months or more so the goal is to move to the bottom bunk during that time because the next step would be to move to a bunk in the “condos.”  This new neighborhood  is a permanent area divided into  6×8 foot spaces by concrete slabs which stand about 5’10” tall.

As the weeks went by, and as people kept coming, and coming, and coming, I was beginning to feel some anxiety about not being able to have any space at all in the multipurpose room.  One of the experienced lead orderlies in the unit told me how and what I needed to do if I wanted to move into the condos more quickly.  Being my stubborn, independently thinking self, I decided to just find a way to move into the smaller multipurpose room with the wonderful older people.  This turned out to be great because I went to sleep the same time as they did (Haha) and they had wonderful stories to tell.  The only downside to that move was that I was right across from one of the t.v. rooms and people were in my room constantly!  After a week there, I decided that I did need to listen to KeKe, the orderly, and request to be moved to a top bunk which would afford me the opportunity to move into the condo area in a matter of days or just a few weeks.  As soon as I spoke to Keke, the request to bunk with my new bunkee, Net, was processed and I was immediately excited.  She and I have had several conversations regarding this process and have briefly discussed our plans for the future.  So, I knew she was a positive thinker and had overcome many obstacles, like me, to become very successful and eventually ended up here on a devastating 10 year sentence which she is planning to have reduced at her appeal.  Now I feel like I can just settle in and do these next 20-26 months with ease.

My bunkee is great!  We both have to refraine from cursing the system and all that are involved in it.  Sometimes we just go through it and laugh.  Throughout my life, there has been several constant themes;  I can do anything I put my  mind to; I always surpass my original goal and always, and I mean ALWAYS, I meet some incredible, talented and caring people along the way.

Today, I am so thankful form my Bunkee.

 

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As The Sun Comes Up…

November 5, 2013

6:25 am

I woke up this morning and looked around the room at my fellow bunkees.  Today, I am going to attempt to give you a visual of everyone in here, or at least a small introduction.

In the two beds to my right, there are three Hispanic, twenty-somethings who are very respectful and seem to accept responsibility for their actions.  From what I have witnessed, they are eager and ready to participate in any educational opportunities that are available.

In the far bunk, up against the window, there is a forty-something Hispanic woman and a 40ish Italian woman, Ms. Y.  The woman on the bottom bunk usually speaks Spanish and is very maternal with the younger girls.  They are always cooking meals-incredible mexican dishes-on the weekends.  Ms Y., who is presently in the top bunk but is very excited to be going home to her kids and family soon, is always ready for a conversation and told me she both laughed and cried when she read Black Butterfly Blues.  Little J and I sit in the unit and laugh with Ms. Y, quite often.

To my left is Ms. L.  She has declared herself to be my bodyguard.  Ms. L is a forty-something hispanic female who is hard-core, but has a very soft heart.  We often laugh and joke around with one another.  She reminds me that she has been incarcerated for so long that she has become used to it.  No tears, no worrying about the outside world, just existing in this limited environment.  Neither she nor I currently have a top bunk-mate, but I am learning that this revolving door system is about to bring a plane load (Con-Air style)  this week.  So neither of us will be without a bunk-mate for much longer, I assume.

To the far left of me, near the door, is Ms. M.  She is a fifty-something caucasian woman who has found her worth on the camp grounds by winning almost every competitive game that is offered on the weekend.  Yes…to keep us busy, they have card games, board games, sports, and ongoing competitions where the big prize for the winner is a goody bag filled with junk food that is not sold in the commissary.  Yes, Mrs. M received all seven of her winner’s goodie bags yesterday!  She was the most popular person in the unit! It was very cute and equally enlightening for me.  It validated my belief that all people truly need and desire is to be loved, accepted, to belong.  She finds value in her game winning skill and has found where she belongs here!

On the next row, in front of me on the far right bunk, is one of my favorite young people, Ms. L, a young hispanic woman who is here on a parole violation and leaves in less than two weeks.  Below her is Ms. C.  Ms. C is a 71 years old, African-American woman who reminds me of my grandmother and who humbles me daily when I wake up cursing the system for doing this to me.  Ms. C is a veteran of the Marines, the first black person in her unit and has the pictures to prove it.  She is a gospel singer and promoter….a God-fearing woman.  Every day after she reads her Bible I try to go talk to her.  She makes no bones about being angry at Obama and the system that she says has done her so wrong.  I wish I could help her, but unfortunately we are wearing the same green uniforms, stuck in the same dysfunctional system, so all I can do is listen.

In the next bunk, there is my counterpart, Ms. LittleJ.  She is a 40-something, Native American female who keeps reminding people she is not black.  We laugh continuously and even though she may be the loudest, most potty-mouthed person in here, at times she is the biggest softy.  She will cry at the blink of an eye just because she feels like it.  She is here for a year and a day, so she will leave before I do.  She is free of a bunk-mate as well…..for now.

Stay tuned to meet the rest of the characters…..

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