Moved to a New Cell (by Lifer Renee)

Renee – Only a teenager, she received a 60-year sentence. Now 15 years in, Renee is writing from Perryville prison in Goodyear, Arizona, providing a rare and unique insight into a women's prison.

New policy states that inmates with the same crimes and time have to live together.
So, at 5.30am, a crew of sergeants, lieutenants, and support rolled down to the yard, screaming “Lockdown!”
I could see the papers in their hands. My stomach knotted.
An officer stepped by my room. “Thorpe, pack up your stuff, and take it to the table.” He was moving my roommate.
Not knowing who I was going to get kept my stomach in knots. It’s hard to get a compatible roommate.

When I saw Virginia, high-strung, OCD, a non-smoker, coming, I didn’t just say no to myself, I said hell no.
She came in saying, “I can’t handle smoking.”
I replied, “I did not burst forth from your loins, and I’m not sleeping with you. I’ve done 16 years here, and you or no one else is going to run me. Know that! And know this: it will only be temporary.”
“No, no, wait.”
“I’m done talking.”

I saw Hope, who I’d been hoping to get. She asked, “Do you want to live with me? I got Jackie. Can you see what you can do?”
There was a congregation of African Americans around her cell.
“Let’s fill a kite[request] out now and get it to the COII[counsellor]. He is going to be gone all next week.”
We managed to get the kite to the movement officer before the morning meeting, and we talked to the disciplinary officer. Hope was crying. We talked to everyone and became a topic of discussion at the morning meeting.

At 10am, the movement officer notified me at work that I was moving.
“Go pack your stuff and get it done before count.”
I ran to the yard, packed my belongings, a little traumatized. I had lived in that cell for 9 years – the same old cell. I thought, Who gets attached to a cell? Obviously, I had.
I moved, losing my lower bunk. Whoever has the lower bunk pretty much runs the room. Me and my former roommate were alright. I’m not real comfortable where I’m at. I hear everything and it wakes me up. I am alright with my new roommate. It’s just going to take a while to adjust to the location.


I am still adjusting. I live in D pod, right by the yard gate and control box. The good thing is I see everything coming and going. The bad thing is I live right next to the “barber shop” AKA the “card shack,” where the girls hang out, play cards, talk loudly about nothing, and every once in a while someone might get a hair cut.

Click here for Renee’s previous blog

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Shaun Attwood


Anonymous said...

Hi Renee, I am so sorry your life has been distupted. oit must be so difficult when you have been in one place for so long!!. You are in my thoughts. Brightest Blessings to you, with love from Mary xx

JM said...

you spent longer in one cell than i did my whole incarceration. I feel for you having things uprooted like that. hope everything works out for you Renee. I really enjoy your stories.

~Big JAson