03 Nov 08

Women in Prison: From Lifer Renee (Letter 4)

As a teenager, Renee received a sixty-year sentence from a judge in Pima County. Fourteen years into her sentence, she is writing from Perryville prison in Goodyear, Arizona.

Oct 1, 2008

Dear Shaun,

Hi. How are you? I hope all is well.

I am sitting here because we are locked down yet again due to a shortage of staff, which seems to be the set pace for things.

I finally received a better job. It’s great, only I haven’t been working because they have no work for us at this time. Go figure. Being locked down drives me nuts. All I really want to do is sleep.

You asked what I think of chow. Oh that made me laugh. I can not eat in the kitchen. I’ve seen them pull a cockroach out of the soup and keep serving it. I’ve seen the trays on the yard and the pigeons eating out of them. Raw chicken lying about not covered up. It grosses me out.
I am not skinny because I have good genes. I told my friend a long time ago that I only eat to sustain life. There is no enjoyment in it. Now with DOC’s “Heart Healthy Menu” they’ve cut back the servings, so if I wasn’t starving before I really am now.

You asked about relationships in here. Ha ha! They’re crazy! There are open gays, LURES (lesbians while incarcerated), bisexuals. There are butch broads, but they are usually the most feminine if you get to know them. Shaved heads, no makeup, trying to look like boys.
Mostly what will happen is a butch broad will get with a feminine girl, then they adopt some kids and kind of build a “family,” which is creepy to me, but is what happens.
A lot of the relationships pop off with the newer girls, they think it’s cute or the thing to do. A lot of the relationships are dysfunctional. Usually, one of the girls ends up being used as a punching bag.

I’ll tell you a story about a couple I knew a long time ago.
I met C. while working state issue. We used to dress out the new intake girls. She used to talk them up, flirt, play games and leave them hanging.
S. came through intake and she did the same thing with her. I really couldn’t understand why they all fell for C.’s line of crap. Maybe because I knew it was game.
Time goes by and me and S. become friends, and her and C. are together.
C. started to beat the holy crap out of S. all the time. S. stayed in the relationship because she “loved” C.
I was always a friend to S.. We actually ended up living together for a short time and the violence I saw in that relationship between those two was unreal.
Years go by, life goes on, and they get out and go their separate ways.
While working maintenance, I saw S. again in intake. I asked her if she was still with C., and she said no.
She started laughing, and said to me, “That bitch got her karma. She’s with a man who beats the crap out of her.”
C. had actually called S. to pick her up because her boyfriend beat her up so badly.
At first, I felt like, Well, that’s what she gets, but then I felt sorry for her because nothing was really learned. How’s that for ironic and karma?

No, drinking alcohol is not very yoga healthy. My discipline with staying sober is hard. At first I broke weak a lot. Honestly, I realized I would rather have a donut, soda or cup of coffee instead of a fix. It was just pointless. It wasn’t any fun when I really thought about it. I mean, really, who wants to be twacked out of their mind, lying still in your bed all night, playing like you’re asleep, so the cops won’t see you?
I’ve learned that if you can think one step ahead to the possible consequences of your actions it will help you make a better decision in the moment.
Besides, right now I have set a goal. I need $750 to possibly retain legal assistance. The choice right now is easy: a fix or what I really need.
I find though when I have urges, if I can distract myself it goes away, although it was not always like that. Live and learn.

Well, Shaun, I’ve got to go to school. I will write more later.



To read Letter 3 from Renee click here.

Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below

Shaun P. Attwood


Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

The goal of saving for legal assistance is a good one. Any way readers might help, or would you want that?

Jon said...

Any readers who want to help can contact me for Renee's contact info.

Shaun Attwood

Anonymous said...

the women start their own families

thats crazy!


Anonymous said...

Renee, the letter I sent you was returned to me about a week ago!

Shaun - can you email me her address? I'm going to be in AZ next weekend, no promises but I will probably have 3 hours to kill.