“The drug court judge sent me to Tutwiler Women’s Prison for using Methanpetamines while pregnant. I was not a meth user and had never done that drug, but it didn’t matter. I was there for six months. I had six-month-old baby and a two-and-a-half-year old daughter.
Tutwiler is the nightmare you hear about. There were three big officers that called themselves the goon squad that carried billy clubs and wore gloves. The physical abuse there is insane. There were women who were mentally ill. Girls threw themselves at officers. One got pregnant by an officer so she could get out of prison. Some girls took a shower at count time to get caught naked.
At Metro Jail in Mobile, I befriended Alecia. She was in the bunk next to me. She gave birth in jail, and we had children the same age and became close. When I left, I gave her everything I had with me. I sent her letters and money when I could. She was at Tutwiler when I got there and protected me. When I first got to Tutwiler, a lot of people didn’t like me. They thought because of the way I talk, I thought I was better than them. That was not the case. I was supposed to be there for a year and was released after six months on probation because the warden couldn’t believe why I was there.
In prison, I learned addiction does not discriminate. You can get locked up and go to jail, no matter who you are, where you went to school, or how much money your family has.
When I got out of Tutwiler, I found out my husband had gone to a doctor and gotten his own pain medication and using. I couldn’t find a job because of the felony on my record, and he was laid off from his good job at the plant when they downsized. I started buying pain medication on the street.
I came home one day and the power had been cut off. A guy we knew was out of pain medication and asked if anything he could borrow until his script is filled. I just had Adderall for my ADHD and he wanted to buy a few. We met him with our kids in the backseat, sold him the medication, paid the power bill, and went home. The guy set us up.
This time they arrested my husband and me for the distribution of a controlled substance. I bonded out immediately. They tried to get me to work for them to set up other dealers, but I wouldn’t. DHR took my children and gave them to my mom. It was the biggest blessing in disguise. My husband was in jail and I knew I was going back to prison. They charged us with every pill we sold. That was seven.
In Metro, they put me in a cell with Morgan who was in for murder. At 22, she and her boyfriend went to a Catholic wedding rehearsal and went to the rehearsal dinner. They were both drinking. Her boyfriend asked her to drive home because he had been drinking and taking Xanax. She didn’t want to drive because she had also been drinking and didn’t have her glasses, but she gave in. She crashed the car and killed him. She was arrested for murder. We became friends and that was a holy shit moment. I am Catholic, do you know how many wedding rehearsals I have been to and drove home drunk? That could happen to so many people.
I did not want to be put in a cell with Heather or the Wood twins. Heather was the first woman from Mobile to be sentenced on death row. She and her boyfriend tortured and killed his two children. I ended up in a jail cell with her. That taught me a lot of patience.
I became friends with the Wood twins. They were the aunts of Brittany Woods. Wendy was sentenced for 219 years for sodomy, sexual torture, rape, and public health and morals offenses. The men got much less time. The girls were raised with this sexual abuse and thought it was normal. The things she and her sister talked about was not normal stuff.
I also became good friends with a Alicia who was arrested for sexual conduct with her student. I didn’t want anything to do with her at first. But again God said you aren’t going to judge this person. She got out before I did and she wrote me the whole time. She taught me about grace. She asked for forgiveness from the family. Jesus forgave her and her church forgave her. Her pastor was at every court date with her. She knew what she did was wrong and turned her life around.
They sent me to prison in Talladega on the way back to Tutwiler. The only book you can have at Talladega is the Bible. I read the Bible from front to back and it humbled me. My husband served close 2.5 years and I served two. We kept in contact as much was we could. It brought us closer because we realized we hated being apart from each other. We realized we had been through the same things. We wanted better lives and hoped to turn things around.
After we go out, it was hard finding jobs. We were constantly turned down because of the felonies. That meant we were broke and couldn’t get a home or our kids back. Screw it, let’s numb these feelings.
We both went back to using.”