Forward By Christopher
Every so often I receive stories written by people who were recently released and are now back home. They’re stories about events of mistreatment endured at the hands of other inmates or even the very staff tasked to protect them. I’ve noticed that these stories always seem to find my hands after the author is safe at home. I can only speculate, of course, as to why, but I’ll leave you to decide.
I think, however, it’s important to note that while the author of this post encountered unprofessional staff, they are not representative of the majority. At least, that’s my experience. We have a director in Ohio that will not tolerate unprofessionalism.
This is a two part essay. The second part titled “My Residential Treatment Unit Experience” will post shortly following this part one.
The End Of A Beginning
By Cara Bailey May 2022
Everyone has a story to tell. Some are good, some are bad. But what is a story if they all read the same?
My journey here at Ohio Reformatory for Women began in 2017. Hurdle after hurdle, becoming angrier by the day. Feelings of being lost. Not sure how or if I was going to be able to survive 8 years of incarceration.
As I was searching for ways to get my two feet planted firmly and failing, I turned back to my roots. I decided to check out the church. Then attending Bible studies, joining a ministry (choir). Thinking, finally here’s some relief. So I clung to the religious route trusting God to walk beside me through this journey.
I got baptized on December 3rd 2017. I thought my walk with the Lord would change things for me, but it didn’t. When you become a newfound Christian the Devil begins to throw daggers, constantly trying to steal and kill.
That’s when the bullying began. “You’re ugly, Your ass is small, or You don’t have a butt.” Then as if criticizing my body wasn’t enough, rumors spread that I was a “cho-mo”. Mind you, I’m in prison for complicity to aggravated arson, but when you look me up, one of the charges that was thrown out was corrupting a minor. These girls in here automatically assume the worse and prove that lack of knowledge intensifies ignorance.
As if that wasn’t enough, I was put into a situation with a correctional officer and a friend of mine. The correctional officer would send for me, having me pass notes and other items to and fro. After she got walked out other correctional officers called me a snitch.
At some point I became depressed, already being in a dark place. I became the Energizer bunny. To cope, I literally kept myself busy 7 days a week from 4:30AM to 8PM giving me no time or energy for anything else.
Then on January 26, 2018, I was sitting at my bunk. A group of women (maybe 5 or 6) proceeded to approach me calling me a bitch, a snitch, a pussy. A correctional officer by the name of Bear caught them, stopped and asked what was going on. The women told him they were going to jump me, and his exact words were “Wait until I’m done with my round so I don’t have to do the paperwork.”
My first thought was, What the hell? He’s supposed to protect when it comes to my safety, but now I’m not safe…
At 6:30PM on January 26, 2018, I took a whole sleeve of my blood pressure medication (Atenol). 27 pills to be exact. Popped them out in my hand, took a cup of water with me to the bathroom, sat down on the toilet and took all 27. No hesitation.
Once finished I walked out to the rec room, sat down beside my prison mom and wrote a suicide note. The next thing I know I was getting Narcan squeezed up my nose. The nurse asked me what I took. In the midst of this happening a film strip of my life played. From birth to present.
I awoke in the infirmary to a nurse telling me I had almost died. The paramedics had to shock me to bring me back. Then, when I was released from the infirmary, I was admitted to the Residential Treatment Unit (RTU). Also known as the prison’s psyche hospital.
*Cara Baily was released through court order on May 5 2022. She is now home with family. This essay was written prior to her release. Part two “My Residential Treatment Unit Experience” will follow this post.
Lettersfromchristopher is written by Felicia & Christopher, a half dozen regular contributors, and incarcerated men and women all over this great Nation. I began lettersfromchristopher in 2019 to draw attention to the plight of America’s incarcerated.
Thank you to everyone who has commented on a post, I make sure every comment to a post is brought to the attention of the author. Your comments are encouraging and inspiring to those behind bars and every writer of this blog has expressed gratitude for your thoughts.
Finally, please see the recently updated “About Christopher” section and thank you for following!