I wish I did not have to come here. I wish I didn't have to sleep on a metal piece hanging from a wall with a dusty sheet. I wish I didn't have to eat what seems like toxic waste for nutrition. I wish I had access to clean running water that did not come out of rusty fixtures. I wish there was toilet paper but the C.O.s ration it out according to their mood. I wish I didn't have to worry about male and/or female correction officers walking in on me and staring me down while I'm in the shower. I wish some of the lights would go off at night. Just the ones above my head, please. I wish there were real cleaning chemicals to clean the living areas off with. I wish we had space, so women aren't forced to sleep with their cot mattresses directly on the floor.
I wish that the medical cart actually helped women instead of bringing them drugs that turn them into zombies. I wish the staff cared about what is going on when an inmate is in pain. I wish the prison nurses actually gave a crap about the patients they are seeing in prison. I wish the warden would spend an entire day in the halls and rooms of the prison so they could feel what is happening. I wish correction officers actually corrected.
I wish some of these women could see their kids again. Even if they could hold them for one night and never again, some of them will never leave this place. I wish some of them could hold their deceased loved ones that they were denied the right to say good-bye to. I wish someone would come visit the old lady who killed her assailant, but she's labeled a murderer and no one in her family has reached out in over 25 years. I wish she could meet her grandkids before she rots away between these dirty, rotten walls.
I wish I knew who went in my lock box and took the pictures of my children. I wish my underwear were not something that had to be handed to me used from a laundry area that reuses clothing for years and years on end. I wish I didn't have to worry about being shanked if I say the wrong thing to another inmate in the morning. All these officers and someone dies every day in at least one prison in America. I wish there was enough soap for everyone. There are so many incarcerated women who don't have soap, toothpaste or any other basic necessity. Everyone doesn't get a commissary slip.
I wish the officers would stop sneaking heavy drugs into prison. Don't they see the negative effect it's causing? They are facilitating prison wars. I wish they would stop sneaking cell phones into the prison too. I've seen inmates get hurt really badly behind those things. Some inmates are willing to kill for a cell phone. I wish we didn't have to worry about pissing off an officer and having them get other inmates to fight you.
I wish justice was being served.
Painting by Gwynne Duncan