Maximum security is different from time at the lower levels. You’re caged with men serving very long sentences many of whom will never be released. The mentality of convicts is hardened, and it’s day in and day out of endless madness. Each day is about survival.
In maximum security most convicts could care less about the next man. They certainly have a disdain for a hostile administration protecting bad staff or that promotes retaliation.
March 29, 2007 at 5:46pm, a day that I will never forget. Becoming a mother for the first time, looking down into his beautiful (then) blue eyes. The silkiest black hair I had ever seen, long enough to lay on his neck. Delivered by C-Section, weighing 9 pounds 3 ounces, 21 1/2 inches long. Dr. says, “Hey nurse call Jim Tressel, his new quarterback was just born.”
The first time my heart skipped its beat, quickened and slowed all at once. Love at first sight, one of those feelings that happen very seldomly in a lifetime. They knock you off balance. Watching my son grow up kept me on my toes. My days filled with fear and anxiety.
Every time he would stumble and fall, I wanted to be the one to break his fall. The day he was born I vowed to protect him at all costs, later realizing it was impossible. Have you ever not been able to breathe? That feeling of panic that sets in. That’s the only way to describe how you feel while raising a child. Every minute of every day mixed with feelings of unconditional love and happiness. Does the feeling of fear ever go away? Who knows? Fourteen years later and many miles apart, that feeling is still alive and burning.
My heart is full of cherished memories. From his first word (“dada”), to his first steps (10 months old), to his first day at school, trips to the hospital. The normal boy injuries to the scary WTF happened and how injuries. All these moments and many more brought happy tears along with moments of sadness. Knowing with each moment, it was a step towards him growing up and no longer needing mommy. A very common worry with most parents.
Now at 14, about 6 foot, 200 pounds, I can’t protect him anymore. Doing 17 years in prison. They say you come here to get reformed, but the things they don’t tell you is the ups and downs you will go through with your children, family, spouse and friends.
After teaching me what true love felt like, making me a mother and showing me what happiness really is, he’s teaching me something new. A feeling only your child can give you. A pain that cuts so deep you have to second guess yourself. He taught me that no man can break your heart like your own son.
“Fuck you bitch, I have no respect for anyone in prison, and there’s not shit you can do about it.” Words that replay over and over in my head. Shattered my heart. Made me mentally evaluate myself, questioning why I’m doing the things I’m doing…G.E.D., college, writing, groups, programs, etc…All to benefit my success in the future upon my release. To be stronger for my children. But if my own flesh and blood hates me, what am I really doing this for? What am I really going home to? I have always been a mother before I’m anything.
How do you repair your relationship with your child or help them when they are crying out? These invisible handcuffs take away more than your physical freedom.
(“I Got You” by Ciara) “I love you son and I’ll always wait for you to come back.”
To the average person today is a day to celebrate the man that helped give you life. Raised you to be the man or woman you’ve become. To thank them for everything they’ve done and continue to do.
While others spend today remembering the man that has become their personal guardian angel. That raised them, taught them everything that they know. Supported the family. Disciplined you when it was necessary, but has since passed away. Leaving behind memories of happiness mixed with a feeling of yearning to have just one more conversation go unanswered…
ion, one mo
re hug, just another moment.
To me Father’s Day is just another reminder of what was, will never be. My father is still alive, walking, living and breathing. Where is he? Your guess is as good as mine. Th
e last time we spoke was July 2018 shortly after I was arrested.
Does it bother me? Not in the slightest. Yes, I’m happy on Father’s Day, but not for the standard meaning. I’m not celebrating who he is nor what he has done for me or to me. I’m h
appy that I don’t have to be tortured with his presence. The uncomfortable tension that lingers on the air when we are in the same room. The unspoken events that have taken place.
s the ne
rve to claim he is embarrassed and ashamed of me. Why? Oh, for coming to prison. I’m his only biological daughter. Who does a normal girl call upon in a time of need or danger? Her father…
But my call
See I’m far from normal. The life I have lived, the things I have endured under my father’s supervision, makes him the last person I would call upon.
He allowed m
e to be robbed of my innocence in his home while he was shit faced drunk, pa
ssed out in the same room. Being raped while your father is present, looking over with tears in your eyes, seeing him passed out with no knowledge of what’s happening. Begging and pleading silently that he would wake up but never did, will change your opinion of the person you considered your own personal superhero once upon a time.
Two, he got so drunk one night that his own daughter became desirable and he got his rocks off while touching me at a very young age.
Three, I am of no importance to him. I wouldn’t even know where to look even if I wanted t
So with that being said, I want to wish all of you real men out there a happy Father’s Day. Thank you for understanding what it takes to be a father. While also wishing myself a
happy Father’s Day. Another happy day without my father’s presence. Another day passes reminding me that I survived and didn’t allow the hand he dealt me cause me to fail.
Felicia (Ohio Reformatory for Women) (OH)
Every boy has a superhero. Sports figures, actors, comic book characters–it doesn’t matter.
Every boy has his ‘Superman’. Mine has always been my father, but I didn’t always know this.
There was a time, I think, all those years ago in Las Vegas, that maybe my mother could’ve been my superhero. But Mom loved ringing slot machines and riffling poker cards. Even though she abandoned us boys for entire days at a time out gambling, locking us in our cribs and rooms, I still yearned for her. What child doesn’t yearn for his mother? What child isn’t quick to forgive?
My father is an amazing man. When he wasn’t around when I was a boy I didn’t understand. ”Where’s Dad?” I’d ask. ”He’s at work Christopher,” or ”He’s on a business trip,” was always the reply. His absence at my after-school events left me with feelings of loss. There was so much I didn’t understand as a boy.
But upon his retirement, upon the day culminating his distinguished career, during a ceremony surrounded by people that I knew but didn’t truly know until that day, all the past days of my life with Dad became clear. I understood.
Dad had never been absent. He was always there for me and my brothers, working tirelessly so that we three boys wouldn’t have to struggle growing up like he once did. Working to protect family and country. He was, the whole time, my real-life superhero. And like any true superhero, he hid his powers from those around him, never seeking recognition.
Last year I lost my younger brother John and his absence shreds all of us. Me because he was my best friend, Dad because he was his son. I see how it has injured him. I’m powerless to heal my superhero, lost in prison while Fate smirks.
You discover much in prison. Every day is a lesson. Most importantly, you discover what matters in life–family. There’s nothing more important, and I think this is why I’ve surrounded myself with those who don’t have family or a father like mine. Maybe it’s because I understand? Maybe it’s because I want to rescue others from the pain? Or maybe it’s because I’m terrified to lose what little remains of mine, and to be reminded through the lives of others I shall never lose sight of what I have? Honestly, I don’t know why.
Celebrate this Father’s Day, with your superhero while you still can. Love him, cherish him…
Brutally Honest By Felicia (Ohio Reformatory for Women) (OH) Forward By Christopher (Madison Correctional) (OH)
Few jails across the country are properly equipped to handle female prisoners. I know this because I’ve heard from female prisoners in 22 states. There’s no consistency. This is in stark contrast to the widespread standard states adhere to when handling male prisoners. Why is this?
In part 6 of this series ”From County Jail to Prison’‘ Jennifer in WI wrote about the dehumanizing journey she endured while being shuffled from county jail to county jail. I wish I could say that her experience was unique, but it isn’t.
What comes to mind when you hear the word jail? Some Hollywood image perhaps? Consider what doesn’t come to mind and you’ll be closer to the truth.
Brutally Honest By Felicia
If I asked 100 people ”What comes to mind when you hear the word jail?” maybe 5 would speak of the female population. Sadly, those in jail, and those who run them, would answer this question similarly.
Women have been punished, disciplined and locked up for just as long as men. So how come we are forgotten when blueprints are being drawn up for these facilities? When procedures are being put into motion? And what about necessities for mother nature? They’re often nowhere on the list of supplies.
We have all of these ”ME TOO” movements, campaigns bringing awareness and giving women a voice. But what about the women behind bars? On a daily basis there are vulgar comments made to women just like myself, men undressing us with their eyes, coming into our shower and bathroom areas–not all, but some–making you feel like it’s more for their own curiosity and pleasures. What about us women feeling like we have to allow these men to have their way in fear of a trip to the hole? Or fear of retaliation? Where is our voice?
So the next time someone asks ‘What comes to mind when you hear the word jail?”, really think about it. What if your daughter, mother or sister was locked up? Would that change your opinion on how things are for women behind bars?
This opinion was penned by Jeff Collins, an inmate incarcerated at (NCCC) in Ohio.
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our prosperity, do ordain and establish in this constitution for the United States of America.”
I remember a time not too long ago when I was a kid in elementary school, where I first learned the preamble, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pledge of Allegiance. I was taught the general history of the former 13 colonies, and the later