Prison or Kids. It’s not a Joke.

by Running Water, CCWF
My name is Running Water. I want to tell the young women in here (Central California Women’s Facility) about my life to help them with their own. I want you to know what drugs will do to you.

Two Navajo Women and Child, by R.C. Gorman
Two Navajo Women and Child
by R.C. Gorman

I started sniffing when I was very young. My dad used to rape me since I was 4 years old. He would come loaded and drunk and beat up my mother and rape me. I think he used to hurt my brother, too. The first time I went to prison was in 1980. I did 4 years. I didn’t care. I had no kids, just myself.
After I got out, I got hooked on heroin, running the streets, doing whatever. I didn’t even know when I got pregnant. I went to a party, got jumped by 3 guys. I stuck one of the guys 8 times in the heart. When I found out I was pregnant, I turned myself in.
I did 3 months in jail trying to kick heroin. I was really hooked. It was hard, very hard, and also sad, because I could feel my child inside me kicking. It was the most pain I’ve ever experienced. I was so weak and so scared, not for me, but for the unborn baby inside me. By the time my son was born I was clean and sober. But I got in trouble again before he was a year old. I didn’t get out till he was 7 years old.
I really wanted to do so good and be with my baby. So I stayed clean for around 5 years. I was convicted of driving without owner’s permission (the owner did not want to press charges.) The prosecutor wanted to make it a third strike with 25-to-life sentence. Boy, did my heart fall down. I cried like a baby. With some help I was sentenced to “only” 6 years with 85% time.
My son Timothy, who is everything to me, is now very hurt and angry with me. I promised him I would not mess up again. And here I am. So he has a right to be angry. I hurt him. I wasn’t there to comfort him. You know, sometimes sorry is not enough to tell him. I have to show him.
Timothy was so hurt and angry he would not talk to me, he didn’t answer any of my letters. It would be easy to slip back into drugs. It is the easy way out.
After 3 and 1/2 years I am so happy because recently I got a letter from my son with pictures. My son is 16 years old. Now I have something to look forward to in getting out of here. He told me I better be out there to see him graduate from high school. But how do I make up to him these last 5 years?
I don’t think I can ever make it up. But I can be there for him now, and help myself and other girls like me that have kids and go through the same thing I’ve been through. I love my family for being there for my son and myself also.
So all you girls out here, prison is Not The Place To Be. Please don’t do what I’ve done. Only we can help ourselves. So please put yourself and your kids first. Don’t let drugs get the best of you.
My son wrote a school paper about heroin and what it can do to your baby’s health. No matter what, your kids will come around and forgive you sooner or later. So please, try and think about it. Prison or kids. It’s not a joke.