The Lives of Women Behind Bars (Pt. 10): Inmate 97298 & Other Difficult Things


By Christopher

They say that Incarceration is universal for women and men, but I disagree with that notion. That’s an opinion penned by the uninformed or state administrators pushing canned narratives. Frankly, there are stark differences.

Within this narrative are hidden the emotional struggles we prisoners are faced with. This, in all honesty, is the most difficult aspect of imprisonment. Unable to affect change, left alone to struggle and grasp at hope. Incarceration is about overcoming adversity, learning about yourself, how to cope, and how to accept the things you can’t control. It’s about developing the skill set to grow and move forward. But, before any of this occurs, there’s a lot of gnashing of the teeth and a lot of soul searching.

The moment you enter this world of iron and steel your identity is stripped from you, torn away and replaced by a number. And it’s this number that you will be identified by, called upon by, stereotyped by. You’re set adrift on a journey akin to slogging through swamps of snapping gators and constricting pythons. It’s difficult at best.

We prisoners cope by writing, venting on paper, setting loose thoughts that would consume us if we didn’t. Self-therapy so to speak. I don’t filter the words of those who write for this blog, even when the emotions are strong. Why? Because they’re the voices of the forgotten and are part of the incarceration story. It’s truth. We prisoners are human with similar hopes and dreams as those of you reading this. We struggle, cry, get angry, laugh and smile like anyone else. I think this is often lost in the broader narrative of incarceration.



Inmate 97298

By Cara Bailey

Shattered Visions, shattered dreams there’s never an in-between; it’s either black or white, lies or truth. Time to make your mind remind, reboot. Being locked up, incarcerated and degraded fu— with our minds. Oh how I wish I could rewind time to the good ol’ days where everything was so divine and a bunch of sunshine. Now my world has stopped and crumbled. Now I’m looking into the rubble. Trying to pick up the pieces to be back intact, with me myself, who am I? Inmate 97298. A failure, a fu– up.

I’m just a lost soul trying to stand up, fight for what I believe in. But oh no, here comes that fight that takes me back to that night where I had to make the hardest decision of my life. Do I tell the truth or a lie? You answered with you taking the charge, the blame. So I did…

Here I am inmate 97298. It’s a little too late to go back in time. Wait I don’t have magic. This prison sentence has been fuc—- tragic…

I died, came back. Wish I never had. All the abusive words, the confusion, I know ain’t true. Do you see why I’m so confused? I’m just inmate 97298, trying to find her place in this world. What I’ve been called to do. Can you tell me what you would do?

Cara Bailey #97298 (ORW)(OH) “2018”


By Cara Bailey

Addiction is an affliction of the mind, body, soul, try this one, try that one, aw nah let’s try em all. Heroin, crack, meth, oh my now I’m flying high above the sky, will I come down? Wait, stop! I hear that needle drop, another round, now I’m on the ground trying not to pass out?

Everything is so warm, a bright light. I’m not ready to go, damn my heart stopped. Can you hear me? Please! Bring me back. I promise to never shoot again and that’s a fact. But now I can’t breathe. I’m probably blue, CPR, a breath. It’s too late. No way you were supposed to save the day.

Cara Bailey #97298  (ORW) (OH) 2018

There Is No Me With You!

By Cara Bailey

Try to keep your head up, don’t let no one bring you down, blows below the belt. You know they know how you felt. Everyday is a battle to put one foot in front of the other. The struggle is real, but I still deal with the anger, the pain, the shame, the doubt. I can’t let it show. So I smile, laugh, put that mask on. If they ask me if I’m alright? Even though it’s in plain sight, I’m trying to hold back the tears. Try not to scream. I wish I could wake up from this horrible dream.

I thought you and me were meant to be. Just you and me, Bonnie and Clyde, Tina and Ike. But now, it’s the knockout round, time to choose me? Or you? I’ve forgiven you, but I’ll never forget the way you lied, used my kindness for weakness, to the extreme. There’s no line in between, no turning back. Too much time lost, memories not made. But it’s time for me to move on permanently. Leave. Don’t think for a second, I’ll forget our good times, even the bad. I’m not even mad. Just know I wish no harm no foul. I just want you to be happy. Find new love. Just know I’m good and will always be good. This is goodbye.

Now I’m keeping my head up. No longer looking down. I’m a lot stronger now. Thanks to you, I know I deserve better. I’m striving forward. No looking back. I thought I loved you but damn love is truly blind, and now I see you weren’t any good for me. You were a part of my demise. Why was I so surprised?

No more me and you. That’s the truth. I’m a brand new me and you are a brand new you. The devil is always a lie but I’m here to say this is goodbye. I’ll pray for you. Hopefully you find peace in everything you do. Just know you were never made for me and I wasn’t made for you.

Cara Bailey #9729 (ORW)(OH)   2018

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Love is blind. I’ve tried to tell myself a thousand times what if that eye that holds that beauty is blind tho?

Love is not supposed to hurt, sting, yet my ears still ring, the thought of your fists, the fear just means beware of the screams, the kicks, take your pick. What do you mean? I’m unworthy of love, is that true? Nah, it was only you, you’re mean, with all your stupid insecurities, telling yourself lies, no truth, you burnt your bridge. With me there’s no in between, no future for you and me.

Cara Bailey #97298 (ORW)(OH) 2018


I’m Sorry (what am I apologizing for?)
By Felicia

Damn it’s cold in this cell, but it’s warmer than his heart,
Don’t do this, don’t do that, your fat, you’re ugly,
I’m Sorry (what am I apologizing for?)
Damn it’s cold in this cell,
but it’s warmer than his heart,
Don’t do this, don’t do that, your fat, you’re ugly,
I’m sorry, (what am I apologizing to him for?)
The slamming of this cold metal door is loud
and hard but not as loud as the screams in
my head or the hardness of his hands.
I claimed I’ve never been to jail or prison,
Now that I am here, I realized that I
was under the grasps of incarceration
for 17 years, my relationship with
the man that I gave my all to was my prison
and he was my warden.
Slam goes the gavel, time to be served
at the Ohio Reformatory for Women.
Once here I began to smile,
breathe and speak freely,
There I was a prisoner in my own home,
to most this sentence is a consequence
to a negative decision,
To me it’s a second chance at life without
looking over my shoulder or living in fear of
making that one mistake that will leave you
shaking in tears on the cold hard floor.
Whispering “I’m sorry”
(What am I apologizing for?) Again.

By Felicia

The walls are white, dark only by night
The walls I see are closing me in,
Shadowing the light.

The darkness becomes frightening, leaving me
terrified, it’s so dark, what’s that? Some
thing’s moving. The monster under the bed,
in the closet?

Who do you call? Mom? Dad? Maybe a friend?

No answer, voice mail, your call was not
accepted, is this how it all ends?
I’m reaching, trying to hold on, to what?
Hope, faith, love? Only to be shoved.
The tears running down my face,
my fears of being alone, the pain,
make it go away,
grabbing a razor, slice, moans of a
pleasurable reminder that you’re still alive,
flashes of brightness peak through,
thinking “yes, I win”
But in the end, it always comes again.


Felicia (ORW) (OH)


Lettersfromchristopher is written by Christopher & Felicia and the forgotten prisoners of America’s penal system. Please share these posts with others. Thank you for following!



3 thoughts on “The Lives of Women Behind Bars (Pt. 10): Inmate 97298 & Other Difficult Things

    1. Frivolous Squirrel

      Without the voices of strong women like these, mental and physical abuse will stay in the shadows. Thank you ladies! 🌼🌸

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