“When was your last period?” The doctor said.
I thought about this question for a minute and I couldn’t remember, my problem was because of my blood condition I had irregular periods.
“I cannot remember.” I said.
Then we will do a pregnancy test. He replied.
I was told to pass urine and hand it in, which I did, well I knew I couldn’t be pregnant as I recall me and D, had only slept together once a few months back. I left the doctor Office quite unconcerned. We were taken down the corridor to the laundry room and informed we would be doing chores every morning. My task would be to fold all the prisoners clothes. I recall my chest getting tight at the thought of doing this, but I don’t remember much after this.
“Time to get up”
I heard the rattling of keys, it was 6am, in the morning. Two hours since I arrived. We had no sleep due to the long processing of the prisoners.
I jumped up and sat on the cold hard mattress, I didn’t realise I had crashed out soon after arriving to the cell, I do not even recall getting there. We were told to form a line, so that each prisoner could be frisked before going down for breakfast. We walked the long prison corridor. (Below)
We were shown the shower room, and handed a white soap and towel for a quick shower. This was welcomed. The only problem was the prisoners had to take it in turns and was only given five minutes each. After that we were brought outside for fifteen minutes fresh air. I recall standing by the wall, looking around and being too frightened to mingle with the others. I observed as the other women chatted amongst themselves, whilst lesbian lovers were making out on the corner. The other prisoners just walked around. I do remember looking at the prison guards thinking, this wasn’t the life for me. I was better than this. I wanted to be in authority.
After a while it was time to be brought back for breakfast. We were taken through several doors four at a time, with the sounds of keys locking each door behind. I was still in shock and would just cooperate in a trance like state. I still didn’t hear anything about my children and the obsessive thoughts were still present as strong as the first day. However, there were less tears, I needed to be strong, I was in prison after all. I didn’t feel suicidal anymore, and Always remembered the prison guards words.
“Even if you was in your last breath, we would still revive you” what was the point.
We lined up in the canteen, and were given a white roll and porridge, I couldn’t eat it the porridge was thick grey and lumpy; one of the prisoners asked if they could have mine, the food was terrible. I decided to survive on bread and water.
After breakfast I was brought back to my cell, it was then the prison guard spoke to me, you will be moved out of the isolation chamber today. Isolation chamber so that’s where I was.
“This made sense, I thought to myself, no wonder I didn’t realise where I was or how I got there,” apparently I had passed out, after being assigned my chores in the laundry room, and due to concerns about my health I was put on suicide watch. Now I was being shifted again to my real cell.
I was ordered out the room, and taken along a long corridor, (picture). There was a lot of swearing and angry women. This is survival I thought. I hoped I would not get into a fight with anyone. I heard someone shout “fresh meat” I didn’t know what they meant but I knew they were talking to me. It was then I knew to survive I needed to be myself; and as I always had a way with people I knew it wouldn’t be hard.
It was a large room, with seven prisoners. I was terrified. I walked over to my side of the room and looked around. I learnt on the same day that the prisoner next to me was a murderer. I was petrified but all I could do was cry. I quickly glanced to my right to see the prisoner staring at me, would I be next? She was a slim Filipina woman who had murdered her partners two boys, because she was jealous of them, the eldest was six years old. I was absolutely horrified. But looking at her I remember thinking, I’m not a child and if she tried it, I would be ready. As a result I slept with one eye open most nights
I found out that there was another lady whom had killed all her children as they slept, she was called a nunce. The other prisoners hated her, to commit a crime against children was the worst crime. Every time the killer went past the other prisoners would attack whilst the prison guards would pass a blind eye.
I was in a sense lucky, as my crime was a drop in the ocean.
In a room of seven prisoners, all but me where murderers, I felt like the rose among thorns.
I was curious about the only other black girl, in the cell. She seemed different, eventually I found out she had murdered her boyfriend. She said it was self-defence, I didn’t know what to believe, but she didn’t seem the type. She claimed she loved him and maintained it was an accident, who was I to judge her? Everyday, she would say, it’s because he was rich, that no one believed he could love her. She seemed sincere, but I tried not to get involved. After all I was no better because I was still a prisoner, but knew I had to become friends with them.
Although the thoughts of suicide was still present, it wasn’t as prominent. This was as a result of hearing the stories of the other prisoners some were lifers with 25 years or more. My twenty-eight days seem trivial.
I decided to find a way to survive these days. I was fortunate to be given a pen and note-book from the other prisoners, and I managed to work out in my head the date. I wrote out the whole month with 31 days,
I decided that I would tick each day as soon as it was lunch time, this was how I survived the first few days in prison. By day four inside I tried to clear my mind from the outside world.
After I had been in prison for one week. I was informed I had a visitor. It was the duty solicitor, that I had met at the police station. I was pleased to see someone, and because he was a solicitor, the guards waited outside. My solicitor smiled and sat down.
How are you coping, I know it’s not the best thing to ask, but are you treated ok.
Tears welled up, and I cried, hysterically, it was as if he gave me permission to cry. ““M sorry but you shouldn’t be here” , but I’m going to try my best to help ok. I still couldn’t manage a smile. I begged the solicitor to take me out of there. But I knew he couldn’t. After a while of being consoled by the solicitor.
My first question was, “How are my children, please? Where are they? I asked.
“YOUR CHILDREN ARE WITH YOUR MOTHER” The solicitor replied.