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.
Hearts beating, minds racing, excitement, sadness, anticipation, anxiety. Thoughts of What if I don’t make it out there? What if I fail? What if I relapse? All these crazy feelings and thoughts. With every step I took, all the way to the vault. My chest was getting tighter. I didn’t want to leave her. I didn’t want to leave everything I’ve known since (1/12/17). But is was MY TURN to go finally. My time for freedom.
The wait for my county to arrive to pick me up was excruciating. I was nervous, my stomach hurt. Then the walk to the van came. I was taking in everything (every little detail, mental photographs). The one person I needed to see but couldn’t. It’s not her turn yet. But it’s okay. I know she loves me. This is just as hard for me as it is for her.
I’m sitting in the sheriff’s van watching out the windows. My stomach is in knots. I’m nervous, excited, emotional. I can taste freedom from within these handcuffs and shackles. The whole ride I am car sick. Keeping my head between my legs. Feeling like I’m going to die.
Once I arrived to my county jail I was feeling fine. I spent 8 hours in booking. That was boring. You can only count the bricks on the wall so many times. I sat in a hard chair the whole time, through a storm, through my own sleepiness. I kept asking the guard “How much longer?” I kept getting the same response: Soon. Finally, after 8PM, they took me to A block.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 34 USCS 30302, also known as PREA was passed into law on 4 September 2003 to protect prisoners and vulnerable populations within our nation’s prisons, jails and lockups. The act establishes “a zero-tolerance standard for the incidence of prison rape in prisons in the United States.” and to “increase the accountability of prison officials who fail to detect, prevent, reduce, and punish prison rape.” (34 USCS 30301)
In today’s guest written post you’re going to discover how one state is handling the issue of transgender inmates. It’s also about how the state legislature has passed laws and created policies that have created an unsafe atmosphere at the state’s women’s prison, both for the staff and for