Reality in the SHU


by Stephanie Hooks. VSPW
I am currently serving a four-year term at Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW). At the present time I am in Ad/Seg-SHU which is the Segregated Housing Unit here.
What I find to be unbelievable is the number of people that are housed back here due to enemy concerns. Anyone that informs staff that they fear for their life is an endangerment to the security of the prisonThis prison is so quick to believe any story that is presented to them and so slow about investigating these stories to clear matters up.
For the first 90 days back here you are only allowed to shop stationery [not the full canteen]. The institution supplies you with a three-ounce tube of toothpaste and a two-ounce roll-on stick of deodorant to last for a period of 30 days. Our combs and toothbrushes are cut in half, and when we are issued soap to bathe, it is issued in half bars. The medical attention back here is very poor and personally I take the Mental Health Technicians that walk through on a daily basis to be a joke.
Women are so stressed back here they claim to feel suicidal quite frequently, and they are taken to suicide watch. Visiting with family or friends can sometimes reduce some of our anxieties, but everyone is not always fortunate enough to have someone that can visit. My dilemma with visiting is that you are only allowed three visitors with no exceptions. The problem I have is that I have three children, and they must be accompanied by an approved adult; therefore, only two children can come at a time. I have been back here for over 30 days.
Ladies, there are many unjust acts that occur within the system. Until change comes our way, keep your heads high, and if you’re being treated unfairly, use your appeals system.