Caroline Peoples

Depraved (Pt. 8), by Caroline Peoples

I was telling you all how this time breaks the spirits of so many women here. I knew these women when they were sane. When they were in their right minds. I watched them slip away so there is something wrong with it all. A woman was beat til death here and she died in confinement. No one was charged with her murder so that leads me to believe that these prisons are torture chambers. I know to you reader that this sounds very dramatic and even though I am a Leo I believe that I am so desensitized that if I describe it to you this way it was actually 10 times worse Also due to me having to be here and because my mind needs to stay on the broken side of reality I tell it to you like a news reporter, feel me ? I’d lose my mind if I stop too long to look at these hunger games I’m living in. I’m not even sure which direction of this prison I need to steer you to. What would you want to know about prison that no one would tell you ? I’m laughing my ass off right now because I’m taking you on a one day sabbatical into the Department of Corrections. It’s 6:00 a.m. I get out of this makeshift bed and look out the cell door to see if anyone is in the showers on this quad that houses 64 women. I see an opening and put on my shower slides , take my Hygiene’s, and go shower. I get out, make coffee, and get dressed in my prison blues. I sit on my bunk for count time doing my makeup which is necessary since Florida Department of Corrections made us dread- locked women cut off all our dreads. Yeah it’s real in here. We wrote anybody who would listen about our hair and to no avail our voices were drowned out by racism. I wrote a poem and recited it at Chapel services to attempt to keep things from turning into a riot type situation. In the midst of being racially profiled and attacked I had to keep my sisters alive. It is status quo to cause a disturbance and find yourself handcuffed from the back and slammed on your head by some huge Caucasian men who spend their down time at KKK meetings. Let me take you there. There is an inmate here who keeps a swastika posted on her locker and uses the Buddhist religion to do it but all of the women listed as Rastafarian still couldn’t keep their dreadlocks. Racism is very prevalent in FLDOC. Now where was I oh yeah I’m inspection ready (which means nothing out of place and nothing out of the locker ). You could be doing life in prison and everything you own has to fit in a box that would make your childs toy chest look like a walk in closet. I leave out of my cell to go sit in the day room area and wait for work call to be announced. I am also a law clerk so I make my way out of the quad door to the main gate to the main door out to the recreation yard. I automatically look up at the sky and take a deep breath of some fresh air. Line up at the locked barbed wire fence to be checked off and let out of the dorm yard on my way down the center walk being careful to stay inside the 12 inch wide yellow line painted to keep us in line. Yeah this ish is real. I get down the road to another locked razor wire fence to get let into the education department that houses the Law Library. I walk in say good morning to my supervisor, go to my desk, and bust my butt helping these women get out of prison. Most of us Law Clerks have long sentences but we have hope and desire to live lives full of purpose. What we do is important work so we do no take it lightly. It feels good to have meaning within a meaningless existence. I know you probably expected me to tell you about the fights, sex, and drugs but I told you I was going to tell you something that they would never tell you. That something is that there are women here who are selfless. Women who wake up and go to sleep doing their best to keet others from giving up. We’ve got Maya Angelou’s in here. Nelson Mandelas in here. Juanita Bynums in here. There are women here who have life in prison but have not lost the goodness that prison attempts to rip from you. They are freer than you may be because they can see past the bullcrap.

To be continued…

Caroline Peoples
DOC #163969

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2 replies »

  1. I know what prison is like but if you walk around like a victim you will always be bitter. Next time your out in the sun be thankful you got another day to see it. Bitterness will rob you.

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  2. Nice continuation but must counter one construct regarding how time takes sanity (of sorts). I do not believe incarceration takes the sprit or sanity from the individual; the individual has the choice to retain sanity and spirit under the most extreme situations. As a result, if one loses one or the other, it is because the choice was made to allow it — and was given freely.

    Our reentry programs at 2nd Chance University, as intense as it is, refuses to mitigate responsibility — we all have the choice to give freely.

    Danny
    2nd Chance University

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