09 Oct 08
Women in Prison: From Andrea (Letter 1)
Andrea is a 28-year-old Scottish woman. After suffering years of domestic violence, Andrea was arrested for attempting to murder her partner. The attempted murder charge was subsequently dropped to wounding and she is due to be sentenced next Monday.
Andrea is writing from a women’s prison in England. It is my hope that she will become a regular contributor to Jon’s Jail Journal.
As a first time prisoner I was really frightened, as I didn’t have a clue as to how the system worked, or how to work the system. My first steps inside my new home were scary, especially the looks of all of those women. I was wondering if I would fit in or not. I had to figure out who was the leader of the pack.
Living with all sorts of women is far from easy. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, ages, nationalities and mental states.
The so-called lesbians – really all they are are swingers – try their luck as soon as you walk through the gates for the first time. I never even got time to unpack my things and it had started. I am just so lucky to be as strong-willed as I am to brush them off. They soon got the hint, but they still like to try their luck as time goes on “just in case.”
Finally, you get settled into your cold cell, then all you hear are door knocks and, “How are you? What are you in for?”
All you want is peace is quiet. But you have to talk because you just don’t know what’s around the corner! It isn’t long before you get the gist of it, you don’t have a choice.
In my case it was easy as I got along with everyone, and I will never get involved in any backstabbing as that’s what causes trouble. Women are the world’s worst at that. Men fight their problems out, whereas women bitch and it never stops no matter what the situation.
There’s always the one woman with the big hard mouth, the gift of the gab. But I sussed her out from day one. She's like that because she's scared and lives in fear. Sad really.
I sit and watch all of them – “checking them out” as I say – to see who is really who. Mostly drug addicts. Loud and full of it! Thinking they are big and nobody will question them. They forget that there is always somebody who will do just that.
From what I’ve seen so far the older generation are the dangerous ones. Devious, malicious old women who hunt for the young vulnerable prisoners and bully them into giving them tobacco, etc. It’s funny in a way watching a woman old enough to be your grandmother getting banged up for 28 days for being a bully.
Meal times. It’s like sitting at a table full of animals. It’s disgusting! Food falling from their mouths. Talking while eating, which leads to getting sprayed with food. I choose to eat in my cell, with manners at that. If I did sit at the table, I think I would be sick.
Personal hygiene. I know we are all in prison, but that doesn’t mean to say that you have to stop having a wash! Some of the prisoners seem to have forgotten how it’s done. As for the state of the shower rooms, I wouldn’t let a dog in them! Dirty used sanitary wear lying on the floor. Blood all over the toilet. Unflushed toilets. I just feel for the cleaners.
Thanks for reading my first blog!
As this is Andrea’s first letter for Jon’s Jail Journal, your comments and questions would be appreciated. If you wish to write to Andrea then email me your name and address. She does not have Internet access, so I will mail your comments and emails to her.
Also, I am starting a letter writing campaign for Mike Hunter (Slingblade). I'll be posting more about that with John McCain's address in Washington to Jon's Jail Journal on Monday.
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Shaun P. Attwood