23 Mar 09
The Bite (by Lifer Renee)
Renee - She was only a teenager when she received a sixty-year sentence from a judge in Pima County. Fourteen years into her sentence, Renee is writing from Perryville prison in Goodyear, Arizona, providing a rare and unique insight into a women's prison.
Just about every day in a women’s prison is filled with some kind of drama, tension, and/or violence.
A few days ago, while I was at work at 6:15 am, I overheard an officer’s radio: “I need an A Team response to Kitchen 27.” Static and heavy breathing. “I have two inmates fighting.”
Well there sets the tone for the day, I thought.
A few hours later, I was walking to the visitation area where we are allowed to take our breaks, and I noticed 24 Yard was locked down. Then an officer left the yard gate, escorting an inmate in handcuffs.
The woman around me immediately said.
“What’s going on?”
“Was someone fighting?”
“Can you see who it is?”
I said nothing because I knew nothing.
Then a second officer with a second inmate walked across the field.
God, that’s a long walk, I thought, remembering how I’d taken that walk many years ago.
Then a third officer appeared, escorting a third inmate.
This just got more interesting, I thought.
I finished out the rest of my day at work oblivious to the prison yard and the chaos running rampant. I walked onto the yard and things appeared normal. The mob scene in the smoking area. Women in orange standing on the runs, sitting on the stairs along Building 23. I went to the control box. “Can you take my room off of no access and open it?”
Why the guard stood there and looked at me like I’d spoken in Greek I do not know. “What did you say?”
Through my teeth, I said, “Open my door and take it off of no access!” I turned around and ran into my friend Cletis who can tell you just about anything that is happening or has happened on the yard.
“Friend, who was fighting?” I asked.
“That big black girl in the kitchen and some new girl. Did you hear what happened?”
“The black girl bit the new girl twice after beating her up, and told her, ‘Bitch, you don’t ever have to worry about getting any STD’s ’cause I’m HIV positive.’”
My jaw hit the ground. I couldn’t imagine what I’d do if someone intentionally infected me with HIV.
Cletis continued, “I asked some of the black girl’s friends if she’s really HIV positive or if she was just trying to scare the new girl. They all said it’s true. She is HIV positive.”
Click here to read Renee’s previous blog.
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Shaun P. Attwood