Abused Before Entering, Battered While Waiting for a Death Sentence not Ordered by Judge

by Charisse Shumate, CCWF
There is a cycle theory of violence. Phase I, tension builds. Phase II, explosion. Phase III, honeymoon.
There is also a cycle theory of abuse by our medical department at CCWF. Phase I, sick. Phase II, sick call, hurry up and wait, sorry no doctor or RN. Phase III, go out to medical, none of what was recommended is done, which can lead to death.
Before I was convicted of the crime, for which I am now serving 17 years to life, I was battered. I told no one until it was too late. I made excuses for the violence. I expected that having family could give my one son what I could not on welfare. It took my coming to prison to find each place where I went wrong. All of what I should or could have done to not be here. But I am here.
I was born with sickle cell (SS) disease. It did not happen after incarceration. Now I am being battered monthly by the medical department, as well as being subjected to verbal abuse to which each woman here is subject on a daily basis.
“Don’t like it here, don’t come to prison.” “You are nothing and no one listens to an inmate.” “You are a liar, a thief, a drug addict.” You are always faking when you are sick. Officers throw tampons and kotex at you like you are dogs.
The tension builds behind these walls like a wild fire. Everything is done to discourage your family from visiting. If you call home for the entire 15 minutes, the call is interrupted with “this is an inmate from a state prison.” No one must forget that for one second.
What has been forgotten by most, inside and out, is that we are human. Mothers, sisters, daughters.
Behind these walls of CCWF we are being forced to buy food and hygiene items from the canteen. If it is sold on canteen, you cannot receive it in a quarterly package. It does not matter if your account is frozen, or you are indigent. Not to mention the $5 co-payment that you pay to see an MTA who will put you on a list to see a doctor and you pay another $5 co-payment to see a doctor whether the doctor shows up or cancels.
You start all over again. When, where will the abuse stop?