Good Texas women’s prison facility, the echoes
Good Girls Gone BadBars slammed against the cold metal; the sound of screaming and chaos filled the cell. I could hear a young girl crying in the cell next to mine and it made me sigh with sadness.
As a former inmate of the State of Texas women’s prison facility, the echoes of the sounds I heard daily, still remain fresh in the back of my mind. Coming to terms with my sentence and trying to figure out what had landed me there sparked a curios interest. The increasing rate of women in prison and the factors leading them behind bars was clearly becoming more obvious as I spoke and lived with the ladies in white jumpsuits. To prevent and help these women and to also help those who have yet to make their same mistakes we need to better understand and evaluate some causes for their imprisonment. There are three main factors that I believe to be a major contributor to our daughters, mothers and children living behind bars: family status or situation, drug abuse and criminal activities.Family status and situations are important to our daily balance in life.
We often depend on and care for those who we are closest to. A woman who had had an unstable or hostile living environment, whether it be rape, incest or molestation, will be more likely to end up living in prison for part or all of her life. Our family or caregiver(s) plays a vital role in determining our future success. If we are brought up with morals and Leslie McEntirePage 2Respect towards others, we are less likely to want to be involved in criminal activity or drug use. As humans we also like to be hugged and kissed by those who call us their Own. If that affection and love is violated or destroyed all together, there is little chance for a normal recovery without expensive counseling.
Drug abuse was evident in almost every face I saw while at Plane State Jail. Although I was only 25 years old, I was aware of what drug use was doing to our beautiful women. It was written on their faces, scarred on their body and forever etched into their minds and souls. Although deadly and unrewarding consequences emerge from drug use, women continue to use and abuse hundreds of illegal substances. In many cases, women were using drugs because of pressures from their boyfriend. They also used to escape the stress of motherhood or married strife in their lives.
The women that I spoke with told me stories of how they began using drugs, after selling them to neighbors and strangers on the street. What started out as wanting to earn a little extra money to support their single family home, turned into a lifelong addiction and embarrassment. Now not only are they paying financially, but with a 1 yr to life sentence for their habit.
Criminal activity is perhaps the most common reason most women spend the days without freedom. Lack of education and support from family often sends young women to exploring illegal activities such as shoplifting, fraud and larceny. From the hundreds of women I spoke with behind bars, 9 out of ten women reported that their charge was because of something done with or for their boyfriends. This affirmed my Leslie McEntirePage 3Belief that their levels of self esteem and pride was at an all time low. Not only were these women stealing and robbing people, they were doing it with their young children. I remember listening to a girl tell of how she had been driving her Ford Explorer while drunk at a high rate of speed. She hit another oncoming car and killed the driver of that car instantly.
Her irresponsibility and unlawful actions took the innocent life of a young father with 2 kids. Breaking the law and ending up in prison, which was mainly a charge for men, is now rampant and steadily growing for women.There are so many more factors in determining why women are filling up our prisons, but for the most part, they fall into the fore mentioned categories. Speaking from experience, I can honestly say that I had problems in all three cases. Nothing would evenly fit into just one category, but instead a mixture of all three threw me into the world of being bad.
It can take a serious consequence like prison for most women to realize the mistakes they were making and change their life. In every woman I encountered at Plane State Jail, I saw a glimpse of the innocence and the evil. Understanding these women and implementing better programs for them before they get arrested is the only way to ensure the decreased population. I would never take back my experience and lessons learned along they way, but I can only speak for myself. To change, you must want to. You can no longer blame your family or your habits if you want to emerge free.