It Happens to Anyone!
Melinda Dawn Abruzzo
Shit. A while ago I was an officer in prison, and here I am an inmate. I’m on probation for bringing drugs into a prison. And now I’m in lockdown. Being an officer, they thought I would get beat up. They told me not to tell the inmates I was an officer. They didn’t want me saying anything to other inmates.
You’re in a room with one other person. For me, I never went to the bathroom around anyone, or took a shower. Being secluded as a kid didn’t help. I was embarrassed. When all these women took showers, it made me feel so uncomfortable. So I would do it during mealtimes. What am I doing here? I was thinking about my kids, my boyfriend, my apartment. And how I was gonna pay the bills. What doesn’t help is my boyfriend was cheating on me. They withdrew all my money.
I got called into work that day. And I knew it was gonna be problems. And I shouldn’t have done it.
I brought it in my bra. When they pat us down as officers they never would pat our top because that would be considered fondling. And that’s how I brought it in. And then when I read the “discovery,” it was an ounce and two-eighths.
I was working out in the baseball field when I saw a warden and two officers coming for me. I put it in the gym and someone was supposed to pick it up. When the guy goes “What’s this stuff?” I go, “I don’t know, something green?
When I got out of jail I had 16 dollars to my name. No apartment no car. It was snowing that day. December 2nd. And I got transferred. I didn’t know: they said I was going to get out but they didn’t tell me when. It was freezing. I had flip flops on. And a tank top. The magistrate was waiting for me. The DA said “You need something to put on.” She gave me a jacket and a pair of shoes. I thought it was really nice and then I realized they had a closet full of clothes.
Painting by Gwynne Duncan