Bullying in Prison is Hard for Me to Tolerate

Some things go on in Federal Prison that is hard for me to tolerate; the bullying and the gang mentality is high on the list.

Each day all the inmates are called to their rooms for the count. It usually happens twice a day except on weekends it’s three times. It is time the inmates are supposed to be quiet, but it doesn’t always happen that way.

The officers start counting on the opposite side of the unit, so we have about 5 minutes before our side has to worry about anyone hearing them. Today, while we all had our doors open waiting for count about 10 of the women housed next to me, started in on a younger Spanish inmate. The language quickly became offensive and hateful.  It made me sick to my stomach. For about 3 minutes they degraded and made fun of this poor girl and accused her of stealing their underwear.

The poor girl stood there quietly waiting for the officers to come so they would stop. Karin and I were upset by the display, but Karin said she was too scared to say anything.

The Bullying Continued and I Lost It

Again, at our 4:00 count they started laughing and making fun of her with each girl taking a turn saying that she was a thief because a sock or pair of underwear was missing.

I couldn’t take it anymore, so I stood up at my door and said, “If you’re so sure she has been stealing your stuff why don’t you ask the officer to roll back the surveillance tape?”

The girls shut up and then one of the leaders said, “I’m not a snitch! I would never tell the officer anything.”

It’s interesting that these women had threatened to beat the young girl within an inch of her life while she sleeps, but they are above asking an officer to check the tape.

I sat back down in our room and told Karin I was going to stop the verbal assault. Karin gave me a great idea when she quietly said,

“Hey, you guys I’m missing half my pack of ramen. Maybe it was her?”

I stood at the door and said,

“Maybe we should string her up, never mind needing any evidence lets hang her at the nearest tree.”

Everyone got quiet. 

I’m hoping that was the end of it, but I highly doubt it.

Bullying is Unfortunate Part of Prison

I’m not treated poorly in here, truth be told, I seem to have garnered respect from most of the women. I can’t tolerate cruelty to a less fortunate inmate. I haven’t decided yet how I will deal with it if it continues to happen, but I can’t stand seeing someone treated like this.

My first thought was to ask them to stop politely, but they were unusually riled up today, and I got pretty angry. I will have to pray about what to do.

Bullying is one of the unfortunate circumstances of our situation here. Seriously violent offenders are sleeping all around us.  In our unit, I know of women doing life in prison for sexual assault of their children.

There is a woman doing life for murdering and killing a woman who was pregnant and another for rape and murder. When I asked why minimum security inmates are housed with violent offenders I was told because the inmates in high-security facilities would injure or kill the inmates who have harmed children.

I guess they put them here to keep them safe. Not sure I agree with that logic but I am sure that I don’t feel safe.

Great Friends

On a more positive note, the new inmate “B” and I have become great friends. I have many friends here but none that I have more in common with than “B.”  I am grateful that she has turned to me when the pain of being separated from her eight children became too much for her.

The day after B arrived, she came running into my room sobbing and gave me a big hug and said,

“Portia, I just can’t be without my children!”

I told her I knew exactly how she felt and I would do anything I could to help her. I invited her to church, and she said she would love to come. It is hard for me to believe that she was designated so far from home. Her husband and children including a two-month-old child are in Savanna Georgia trying to get by without her. I will describe some of the circumstances that brought her here in a future post, and it’s truly a tragedy! She is kind and respectful and seems very positive despite her pain.  

Grateful to Heavenly Father

Overall it’s been a good week.  Our family is grateful to our Father in Heaven for Chad’s sentencing!  I also met with one of the heads of education to go over the curriculum for my photography class. I will be making a few changes and should be teaching these women a valuable skill in no time 🙂

Thank you again for your kind remarks 🙂

If you see Chad around town ask him to tell me hi.   He generally does it, and it brings fond memories of each of you and gives me great courage and reassurance.  

He mails many of them to me, and it is such a blessing to stay connected to all of you. Tomorrow is Sunday, and I can’t wait to go to church, I am always uplifted and strengthened. I have found when we are gathered in the Lord’s name his spirit is with us.