Monday, November 12, 2012

Stories from Prison

 I get so many questions about what it is like to work in a prison, that I have decided to  periodically  include in my blog, some of the things I wrote over the years.  The stories are all true. The titles are my own, names have been changed.

Don't Do That Again: The Correctional Educator and the Inmate

A scream resounded from her two hundred plus frame.  Swift as a bullet he catapulted from his desk, headed for the door with his hands up in the air.  He spreadeagled himself against the wall, looking backward towards her with a frightened, puzzled look.
"A roach." she panted, pointing to the ground.
With  a sigh of relief,  the inmate returned to the room, this time his hands at his sides.
"Don't ever scream like that again miss, " he said to his teacher. 
"If you scream like that, the officers will run inside thinking we are doing you some harm."

My inmate worker was still laughing when he told me this story about his cell mate.

Don't Do that:  The Inmate and the Librarian

"Don't do that, don't do that," he whispered  with a sort of feigned desperation in his voice.
I looked up and  a half dozen pairs of eyes, wary, hungry, speculating, amused, were focused on me.
"What's the matter? " I asked the inmate workers who were in library waiting for the correction officer to give them permission to leave.
Came the simple  guileless reply, "Trev was getting excited Miss S.  Its been such a long time since any of us see a woman comb her hair."
I had just returned from lunch, and was running a comb through my wind-blown hair.  I was in my office, door closed but they could see  through the glass window.  I never combed my hair when inmates were around again. 

A Woman's Laugh
The library was closed the day so the Principals and Instructors from across the state could have their meetings.
Inmate workers were allowed in the library to work, but not the general population.  The entire area is usually cleared of inmates during lunch.  When they returned from lunch, they had to wait outside until the officer gave permission to enter.
Staff used this time to joke around.  One instructor had a very "healthy laugh".
"Miss S. you don't understand how good that sound.' one inmate said.  "Around here we don't generally hear women laughing ."


Anonymous said...

My name is Heather Heaton, and I am a new Alabama author. Please consider helping me introduce my story, a series of ebooks entitled “Her Letters from Prison”, to your friends. I don't want other young girls to have to experience what I have had to endure.

My new ebook series ("Her Letters from Prison") is an inspirational resource for reading pleasure, review, contemplation, and discussion. My own testimony is: "God changed my life in prison!"

"Her Letters from Prison" (Parts 1 & 2) will validate your inquisitive thoughts and doubts about what goes on in women’s prisons (It is what it is!); and it can justify the efforts spent toward women’s prison ministries. These two ebooks can be a motivational (tell-it-like-it-is) resource for drug rehab/prevention and reentry programs, especially when combined with "Her Letters from Prison – Part 4: Recycled – Second Time Around".

"Her Letters from Prison" is a non-fiction, inspirational, romance ebook series; with the original letters (with prison art) included as images for authenticity. My story describes how female offenders are perceived and handled (often abused) in the criminal justice system. The story continues (Part 4) to describe my first two years of re-entry back into the real world and how she ended a destructive narcissistic-codependent relationship.

"Her Letters from Prison: Women-in-Prison" (Part 3) contains two PowerPoint presentations prepared for the University of Alabama/Women's Studies "Women in Prison" conference. Both presentations are based on Parts 1 & 2 of my story; and they are entitled "Women-in-Prison (Almost Invisible)" and "Women-in-Prison (Facts/Myths)". Also, my personal testimony is included in the Part 3 publication.

You can go to, and click on a direct link to my and/or Smashwords "book pages" for “Her Letters from Prison”. Alternatively, you can visit my “author pages”:

My ebooks are also available in paperback format. The paperback book ("Her Letters from Prison") may be obtained by contacting me through my website "contact" form. The paperback book contains Part 1, 2, and 3 ebooks. "Her Letters from Prison - Part 4" will be published as its own paperback book soon.

Also, I have a new ebook series entitled "Women-in-Prison Short Stories" available now on and Smashwords. This series is intended to help troubled teens understand the real, true prison environment in terms of the personalities, crimes, and relationships inmates must deal with on a daily basis. The message is, "You don't want to go to prison!" These true short stories describe the relationships between individual inmates with severe crime(s) and other inmates who must react to and deal with those who committed severe and often violent crimes. The short stories are being published now as individual ebooks; but eventually, they will be grouped together and published as a single composite ebook and perhaps a paperback.

Glennor said...

Have you considered joining the Prison Librarian listserv? It is on the web site of the American Library Association prison-l