Sunday, November 20, 2016

Day 8

Emily had lots of dreams the night before. She journaled about it and thought about things she can do to earn money when she gets out but is still on probation.

She thought that she would like to apply for a grant.

Another thought was writing a book like Ronald Alexander's, "Wise Mind, Open Mind." She thought of using inmates as a target audience. Dr. Alexander is about James' age. Dr. Alexander gave a speech in Washington, D.C. during the Vietnam war. She thought that perhaps she could start a practice similar to Dr. Alexander's in Atlanta with probationers as clients. She wouldn't move there but she wanted to incorporate her writing time with working with the inmates.

She thought of working as a trustee there and finish her novel (or her memoir that is fictionalized). She thought of how her stories could be blogs or short stories.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

DAY 3

"The past should not be followed and the future not desired:
For what's past is dead and gone,
and the future is yet to come."
                  -Majjhima Nikaya III:131

Emily continued her readings and learning to meditate. She learned that she can not change others.

She took notes on "HOW TO PERFORM MINDFULNESS MEDITATION."
Step 1: Get in a comfortable position. Sitting down
or lying down with eyes slightly open.

Step 2: Focus your eyes on one spot like the
"third eye" (middle of forehead)

Step 3: Pay attention to your breathing,
when inhaling think "in," or "rising,"
or "comfort," or "surrender.
When exhaling think "out,"
or " falling away," or "letting go," or "release."

Step 4: Place your hands in a relaxing and
energizing mudra position.

Step 5: Be Aware

Step 6: Slowly come back into ordinary consciousness
-Take three long, slow, deep breaths.
-Rub the palms of your hands together
to generate heat
-Place palms over your eyes and face
-Open eyes and slowly lift your hands
away from face. Inhale deeply stretch arms
up over your head, with your hands interlocked
bend slowly to the right and then to the left.

DAY 2

CHUGUG, CHUGGUG, CHUGGUG...Emily was awakened by the opening of the cell doors.
Samantha told her that it is breakfast time. "At 5am," she thought? But she got down from her top bunk, bruising her shins as she moves down the steps. She looked at the steel above the sink that is supposed to serve as a mirror, brushed her teeth and stepped out the cell with Samantha and the rest of the pod mates. Everyone formed a line. The officer came in and checked to make sure the cell doors are closed. As soon as she stepped out the food trays were distributed. As the line depleted, it came for Emily's turn to get her tray. After which she looked around at the tables and chairs to choose a place for her to sit in. She chose a table that had no one else sitting on it. She sat down and started to eat, but as soon as the food touched her tongue her brain registered its blandness. She thought, "it's like putting cardboard in your mouth." She tried another bite, but couldn't make her stomach accept the food. Some of the pod mates noticed her difficulty and asked if they could have what she wouldn't eat. She gladly gave them the food.  Breakfast quickly concluded and they all returned to their cells. Emily quickly fell asleep as she laid down on her top bunk.

Atlanta jail was the biggest county jail in the whole state of Georgia. The county appears to be one of the richest in the city.  The guards in the tower has a button they push to open the cell doors. There are two guards to each tower, one that stays by the buttons to open the doors and the other one makes rounds. There were six pods surrounded the tower hexagonally. To each pod there are thirteen cells and two inmates to each cell. Atlanta Jail did not have steel bars to each cell. It had steel doors with bulletproof glass.

An hour passed. The door started making loud clicks again. Samantha said, "I'm to report to the medical clinic." Emily nodded sleepily and watched her walk out the door. She fell asleep again. Having no way of keeping track of time, she is easily awakened by the clicking of the door. And because she has been in there for less than 24 hours she does not know what the clicks meant--if it meant rotation, or the guards want you to go out, etc.. At one point, in her sleepiness she thought  it meant that the guards want her to come out because it kept happening. At one time she checked if it was her door but her door was closed. So when it clicked again she thought she needed to catch it to keep open so she jumped off the top step to catch the click and keep the door open. Doing made her head hit the wall. She didn't know what to make of this bump because she once again missed the door. She finally decided to give up trying to catch the clicking to get the door open and Samantha finally came back from the clinic. She was somewhat embarrassed about what happened and decided not to share this occurrence with anyone.

She slept a lot that day. She dreamed she was out and got her little girl from daycare. While she was out she kept wondering would she be in trouble for being out.

Monday, March 28, 2016

DAY 1

James and Emily left the hotel room at 8:30am to make sure to report to Atlanta Jail at 9:00am just as the judge had sentenced her to do two months ago. Before leaving the hotel room she took all of her medicines because she wasn't sure she will be able to bring them with her. That was her biggest fear. (She had been on an antidepressant since 2002. She tried weaning herself off of it twice before she got pregnant in 2006. It was a painful and horrible experience). James drove. She didn't pack anything. This is one trip that required no packing. When she called to get information she asked if she needed to bring underwear and the person on the other end responded, "we clothe you." She did bring eight books: A leather journal, leather datebook, "Wise Mind / Open Mind," "Accused," "The Glass Castle," "Soul Without Shame," "You Have Chosen To Remember," and "What's Your Book?" She was hoping they will let her have some reading material.

To get there they used the directions from the iPhone maps. Downtown Atlanta have wall to wall buildings, and houses that have been made into businesses. There were churches in every corner and there also residences. Atlanta was known for its traffic. It was a true metropolitan area. James parked the car in the designated parking place. Although she brought her purse with her, Emily knew she couldn't bring it in. The car was still full of stuff from the office. They had just emptied her offices days ago. James got the parking permit from the kiosk. It was a brisk winter's day. Emily wore black pants, shoes, top, with a flowery kimono top, and an outer winter coat.

The officers at the front desk sent Emily's sentence papers to the back. Thirty minutes later she was taken to the intake holding cells with another black woman who walked with a cane. Officer Felton was a black female intake officer. She was in her regular blue officers uniform, her hair was tied in a bun. She had a kind look on her face and she told Emily that she can bring two of her books. She also allowed her to bring her medication bag with her. James told Officer Felton that he was going to wait for Emily to get her number so he can put money on her commissary. They walked in and she and the other lady were put in a holding cell with their regular clothes.

James and Emily lived two hours from Atlanta. They only had five hours of sleep before she had to report to the jail. Emily immediately fell asleep as she sat up in the cold holding cell. A couple of hours later. She was interviewed by the nurse and she asked to use the bathroom. Around noon another lady black lady came, she was very talkative. She asked Emily what she was in there for which struck her as somewhat tactless. She said Medical Assistance fraud and returned the question. The lady's name was Deborah. Deborah responded that she was there for Failure to Appear and Probation Violation. Unlike Emily and the other lady, Deborah was arrested.

Officer Felton, gave the three ladies 3 food trays with sandwich bags. Emily tried to eat the food in the tray but it was so bland she couldn't tolerate it. She proceeded to consume the bologna and slices of bread.

Around 7pm, Emily called home to check on James and her children: Edwin and Sabrina. They were happy because they got late Christmas presents from Emily's older sister.

Another hour passed by and another black lady was put in their holding cell, her name was Wendy. She looked afraid and anxious. And Deborah, being herself asked what she was in for. "Hit and run," she said. She also asked the older lady with the cane. "Shoplifting," she said. Eventually they were led to the sallyport and given female issue. This means their jail uniforms (which is orange), white T-shirt, white panties, white sports bra, blanket, sheets, shower slippers, a roll of toilet paper, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, towel, and wash cloth. All four ladies stripped to their birthday suits and donned their jail clothes and underwear. They were instructed to put their clothes in a brown bag that has all their information written on it: name, birthday, and that day's date. Emily thought, "well at least I have slippers for when I shower unlike in 'Orange is The New Black.'" She is counting the small blessings. Once in their orange uniforms they were joined by two other inmates. One was a transfer from Henry County and another just got arrested. Everyone was talking about how they ended up there, except for me. Deborah engaged me by saying, "I know she's smart because she figured out how to defraud the state Medical Assistance." At this point I had to explain what happened (which I don't want to go into right now. I'm sure there will be other days when I can write about it). From my soliloquy, La Keisha the inmate from Henry County, said, "somebody turned you in exchange for no jail time or probation." It made so much sense. I've always thought that Tim who worked with me from 2009 to 2011 turned me in even after he promised that he never would. There is just no chance of getting out once you've been audited. After our talk, Deborah said "Time is an illusion in here."

Wendy was notified that her bond was paid and she didn't have to go into the pods or housing units.

We were given our arm bands identifying our housing units and we were escorted to the fourth floor. At this point it was almost 11pm. Deborah was taken to the South side and the rest of us were taken to the North side. Instead of being taken straight to our bunks we were led to the multipurpose room. There was an inmate already sitting there. She said she got into a fight. After just a few more minutes a male inmate worker brought us bed pads and we were led to our housing units. Three of them went into pod 400: Emily, Fantasia, and Constance. Fantasia was bonded within an hour and left the housing unit. As Emily approached the door to her bunk a big dark figure was looking out. She figured it was her bunkmate. She's never seen anyone so black before. In fact, everyone she's met including the officers were all black. She was the only Asian this whole first day. Her bunk mate introduced herself as Mandy and she said, "I've been praying to get a roommate. It's been so lonely in here. Now I have someone to talk to." Mandy, must have been almost 400 lbs. She had braided blonde extensions in her hair. She occupied the bottom bed. Emily climbed up and fell asleep quickly.