Bunkmates Birthday

by Tamara Sawyer

So it was my bunkmates birthday on Thursday, and it is now Sunday and I am starting to figure some more prison things out.

She has been in prison for 14 years and all of her friends that have been with her in one prison or another have taken it upon themselves to cook all weekend and oh how they can cook. I have eaten more in the last 4 days than I think I have in the last month. Here’s the other really fun part of this story. They are all black and I am the only white person in the group. Sitting for 4 days at a table with a bunch of black woman who are all over the age of 40 (except 1) is hysterical. I cannot keep up. They talk, and they talk, and they talk, usually all at the same time because one or two of them start answering way before the person talking is done saying whatever they are saying, but that person doesn’t stop saying whatever they are saying the entire time the other 2 or 3 are answering. Finally, after the second day, and me having sat there saying nothing but “wait, who, wait what, wait I don’t understand” my bunky leaned over and said, “ole bird, it’s not polite to keep asking those questions, just wait and keep listening you will figure it out or just remember to ask me later and I will tell you.” I agreed, until later when I can’t remember one thing I was going to ask!!!!

The other funny part of this story is the new “prison” name they gave me. You may recall that everyone here has a prison name…mine has been Kardashian, or my bunky calls me ole bird, (not OLD bird, but ole bird). However after this weekend they now say I have another new nickname and it’s Taneequa. That’s because they think I am becoming just as loud as they are so I have to have a name that fits when I am with them:) Funnnnny. I told them I only get loud because it’s the only darn way they are ever going to hear a word I have to say over all of them talking all at once.

Another one of my friends has come back to this fine establishment. I have now had 9 of the people I got to know when I first got here just a mere year ago get out, and come back. All on parole violations which basically means they did something they were not supposed to in the half way house, or in this case most of them broke the conditions of their probation. Here is the interesting part…the majority of them were in here on drug charges of some sort….most got caught up on the phone or a conspiracy charge for selling drugs, all very minor, so the sentencing judge knows they are addicts, make their money selling, put’s them in here for a number of years, they get no help whatsoever, they get out, they can’t pass a urine test within months of getting out, so they send them back for a few more months, let them out again, they break parole again, and this time when they send them back they tell them the are going to add another 60 days to their stay here so they will be “off paper” meaning no more probation so that the government can quit sending them back. I am confused. At what point did they solve a problem? They still have a person addicted to drugs that they thought was so horrible that they wanted to catch them and throw them in prison. No rehab…but wait, that’s right, these prisons are called “correctional facilities” but there really is no correction, but they keep them for a number of years, feed them, cloth them, clean them off of all street drugs anyway, send them back out to try it again and then are shocked when they come back. Hmmmmmm….I am thinking someone needs to re-think the system. Apparently, it’s not working.

Oh well this is what I do all day long. It’s like a circus. Around and around we go. That’s all for today:)