Battered Woman in Federal Prison

by a prisoner, Marianna, Florida
I received my copy of The Fire Inside this week and read it from front to back. I was really impressed with the article about Theresa Cruz, I pray she is now with her children.
I can truly sympathize about not being represented properly. I have been incarcerated for over 7 years now, because my case should have been represented as Battered Woman’s Syndrome. However, mine was simply another court-appointed case. I gave my attorney a list of 15 people who would testify on my behalf. Not one of them were called. I have spent the last seven and a half years in federal prisons.
The camp in Marianna, Fl., where I have been for the past 18 months, is 12 hours from my family. I have requested several times to be moved closer to home, but that has not been a choice for me.
I have participated in every program that has been recommended. About a year ago I was given “community custody.” This enables an inmate to go into the local community and work on various projects. However, I am not allowed to go. Because of my violent nature. What a joke! I have been told I will not even be considered for a furlough.
I will be expected to walk out of here sometime next year and have a job within 3 days. What do I wear for my job interview? My gray sweat suit that the prison was kind enough to sell me for $30.00? That, by the way, is an entire month’s worth of wages for a lot of women in here.
You had an article about “Fund Education, Not Incarceration.” I have been enrolled in a computer and accounting class for approximately six months now. I have not had a single class. There is no teacher. I was issued books and I’m sure someone is receiving money for our attending these so-called classes. In the meantime, when I get released I will not have any kind of certificate stating I participated in this course.
Hopefully, once I am released I will find the right channels to make things different for the women who come here. The federal prison system is in need of someone’s immediate attention.
Sincerely, someone who has been here for seven and a half years.