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Pregnant in Prison…THERE IS HOPE!!! July 17, 2009

Posted by bamafanonly in advise, hindsight, blessings, struggling, addiction, prison programs, education, hope, Justice system, LIFE LESSONS, Life Lessons, Pregnant in Prison, prejudice, prison, second chances, shackling, Statistics, Uncategorized, women in prison.
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Just wanted to share a brief piece:
10 years ago I was 6 weeks pregnant and sentenced to 150 months (12 1/2 years) in Federal Prison on a Drug Conspiracy charge. I was told by the pretrial officer that even though this was my first offense, I would most likely be allowed 12 hours with my baby when he was born and would be shackled, due to the length of my sentence, during the birth. Thank God that I had a Case Mngr. that fought tooth and nail for me and I was entered into the MINT Program. (Mothers and Infants Together). As I researched this program and the Justice system, I realized that I was one of the first Female Inmates with a sentence over 10 years to be accepted into this program. As soon as I gave birth and got to spend 3 months with my son, take him home to be placed, self reported (again) to the Federal Facility, my sentence was reduced to 5 years thanks to a co-defendent. What if I had been catoragized as the ‘MONSTER’, ‘BAD PERSON’ etc… society is so convinced we are? I would not have had the results with my beautiful son that I had. He is much better today at 10, I truly believe, because he got that binding time with me.
Now, let me tell you what one piece of hope can do for a person who has ultimately lost all hope. In the 5 years that I did not see him, my ultimate goal was to better his life than the way it began. I earned 2 business degrees while incarcerated, 48 self help certificates and awards, self worth that I had never had, and went through pretrial, 5 years in prison, 3 years parole worked 3 jobs after my release and rode the City Transit system to all 3 jobs, never late, met all meeting requirements-never late and all throughout this process I never recieved a negative mark on my record. I vowed that it I got a second chance and a little hope I would never let him feel the pain I felt for the way I brought him into this world.
Today, 5 years after my release, I’m close to a six figure income and have full custody of a well adjusted son. He is 10 now.
All women and men in prison aren’t what society has envisioned. A conspiracy charge is the charge they don’t have to prove, although, in my case, I wasn’t innocent in that my lifestyle was not one of a good contributing member of society. I was messed up, addicted and was being swallowed up by a lifestyle that I truly didn’t know how to get away from. But, I was raised in a good and nurturing home and once I had the skills to adjust and love life without the drugs again, my true self came out and I earned enough college credits for 2 associates degress and became a certified parallegal while incarcerated and now earn just under a 6 figure income and that is due to being comfortable with placing him comfortably and bonding with my son, so that I could get ME better so that HE could be better in life. Going to prison was the 2nd chance I needed to get back on track.
So, please, before anyone puts all inmates who are pregnant in prison, ask yourself one question? How would you want it to be for your daughter if by some crazy chance it happened to them? That’s the question my dad asked himself when he was hit with the fact that his only daughter was going to prison-pregnant with his grandchild! Think about what hope and prayer could do for them!

I want my tax dollars to go for programs that I have experienced myself that I know work…it’s obvious that the old ‘Lock ’em up and maybe we won’t see them’ mentality isn’t quite making the numbers in the right direction…

Is a revolving door really necessary? June 23, 2009

Posted by bamafanonly in education, hope, Justice system, Life Lessons, Pregnant in Prison, prison, second chances, Statistics, Uncategorized, women in prison.
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From the first day of my incarceration almost 10 years ago, I found myself with a burning question.  Why do I keep seeing the same women get released and in no time they are walking right back through the door?

So, being the laid back, easy to get along with personality that I am, I had to ask. 

This one lady, not quite 30 years old, had returned for the 5th time on a small, menial charge to Federal Prison.  When I approached her with my question, she quickly stated that the reason she keeps coming back is that none of her kid’s father’s help financially or emotionally, so she will do something to catch a charge and that way she knows that her kids will be fed and clothed either by a Foster parent or a relative, and she will get fed and have a bed. 

I quickly saw this was as honest of an answer as she knew or she had convinced herself that this was all she deserved due to guilt or abuse.  Now that I look back, as many times as we sat and talked, she never really revealed much about her past in depth except little inserts here and there that it was pretty damaging to her self worth.

And trust me the number of women in prison that have done or are doing the same thing is staggering beyond belief! So, my take on this is that how can these women continuosly outsmart the tax paying citizens, outsmart the Government bodies who use the ‘ put ’em way and maybe we won’t see them’ thought process by those wonderful Mandatory Minimums, and don’t look into the individual prisons and see that the programs aren’t being used effectively, yet they are the same people who paying for it to happen.  Has it not ever occurred to any of these people that if these women had a little hope and a little useable Life Skill techniques and not just a once in a while class or list that is read to the inmates and has no bearing on what all is available and the process it is when you are released with the intentions of never returning.  Hell, to get my drivers liscense was an absolute nightmare.!! 

If it had occurred to anyone, they would see that the people they are condeming are the exact same ones who are outsmarting them?

JUSTICE SERVED June 12, 2009

Posted by bamafanonly in education, hope, Justice system, Life Lessons, Pregnant in Prison, prison, second chances, Statistics, Uncategorized, women in prison.
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BY: Lynne

Making sense of it now would never happen
I now know that I had stepped into the lions den.
Women with stories and pain and sorrow,
Most growing up wondering if they will eat tomorrow.
I entered this place unsure and with child
Knowing this process will be anything but mild.
I had heard the phrase ’going thru the motions’
Clearly it felt much like waves in the ocean.
My charge is conspiracy, a charge they don’t have to prove,
The only comfort I get is when I feel the baby move.
The sentence was harsh and I am so confused,
Twelve years for that, the prosecutor wasn’t even amused.
The girl next to me murdered her child,
But, she’s only here for a very short while.
Justice served? I think not!
But, that’s what the Judge says I’ve got!
My sentence was cut, it’s five years now,
My son has grown, but, I wasn’t there to see how.
Instead I was here, but not in vain,
I studied hard so not to go insane
I earned two degrees and finally got out of that place
I made it through the nightmare, but only by grace.
The statistics and society say a felon will never be much
What most don’t realize though is that education is my crutch.
My son is with me now after all these years,
His resilience always seems to bring me to tears.
Life is good now and I have started to smile
I must admit though, it took quite awhile.
Strength, it seems, comes from very deep
The rewards I get are all for me to keep.
Justice served? That’s pretty lame,
But, whatever they threw at me, I no doubt overcame!