Mental illness and depression – An untitled letter from an inmate at Montgomery Women’s Facility

In the middle of a major breakdown…while attempting to quit smoking…I was trying to hear the voice of God…I wanted to hear “I love you”…Instead i hear the laughter of demons, taunting me…telling me that i am not loved…I am alone, I am forgotten…God is not real…look around…These women have been crying out to him for years…decades…Do you truly believe he’ll come to rescue you?

Mental illness and depression - An untitled letter from an inmate at Montgomery Women's Facility
Mental illness and depression – An untitled letter from an inmate at Montgomery Women’s Facility

He has yet to answer their call for help…You are ugly, unwanted, stupid, evil and poor…You are lower than any bit of scum on the earth. When the Officer yelled at me, I snapped…Instantly…I went back to hiding behind the couch…watching my dad scream at my mom and choke her, mercilessly…I tried to isolate myself to prevent this from happening…I tried to free my mind from the demons that held it hostage…I tried to rid myself of the memories of my dead best friend and her brutal murder…

I tried to lift myself out of depression caused by hearing my little sisters call for help…She’s homeless with a 7 year old and a 2 week old baby…She’s also trying to heal from the abuse from her new borns father…I don’t understand…Why do we have to pay for everything we’ve done wrong? Why do we have to pay for the pain that others have caused us? My dad doesn’t have to pay for abusing me, my siblings and my mom…my dad’s sister doesn’t have to pay for molesting me when i was 4 years old…The 2 men that raped me while i was drunk don’t have to pay…The man that raped and sodomized me doesn’t have to pay either…I do. And i continue to lose while paying big.

It doesn’t matter what i do…good or bad. I never win. I keep trying to move forward from the past…Its hard…These Officers are paid to make sure I’m “Safe and secure” but, they only come for one reason and one reason only: To abuse me, continually. I have no room for error, their rules change constantly and each Officer has their “Personal” set of rules…90% of the staff is authoritarian, so even asking them for a basic need angers them…They’ll just start barking commands. Theres nowhere to run, hide or turn…Mental health will only keep telling me I’m “Psychotic”…Im safest in my bed…The very place my soul began to die…The only thing i can do is pray the same prayer I’ve prayed, way before i thought about committing a crime: “Dear Jesus, please take my life…I don’t want to be selfish and take my own life, so please Lord, let me die…Amen”.

Letter transcribed by admin

Small Issues Tell a Bigger Story of Reverse Racism at Montgomery Women’s Facility

I never thought I’d see it, but it happens everyday here ~ reverse racism. We have roughly 70 Alabama Department Of Corrections employess and Officers and supervisors here and only 2 are white, and one is from Romania. Our Warden is black as well as our Captain and all supervisors.

Small issues tell a bigger story of reverse racism at Montgomery Women’s Facility

The black inmates as well as Officers can call us honkies and crackers and nothing is said. I stood in pill line and watched the black Officer make a white inmate walk all the way around the tables to get to her seat, yet a few minutes later, she let 2 black inmates take the short cut, the white inmate was denied and yelled at for trying to take.

This same Officer made a white inmate get to the end of line for a minute to retrieve her ID and would not let her get her spot back. When there are disagrements between black and white inmates, Officers and Supervisors always side with the black inmates.

Parole board has been granting parole to black females with violent crimes these past 3 years, but us white females with violent crimes have been denied parole and set off 5 years. No one is helping us and we are without hope at this corrupted facility ran by Alabama Department of Corrections.

Transcribed by admin from a statement by an inmate , identity withheld as she is in fear of retaliation.

Chow time, Supplies, Scamming Money and Warehouse Living. An inmates account of day to day living at Montgomery Women’s Facility

Chow Time

We have 300 inmates here and roughly 200-250 of us eat in the chow hall. They claim to give us 15 minutes to eat but they give us only 5 -7 minutes. We barely chew our food. We’ve learned just to eat as fast as we can and swallow without barely chewing the food. The food comes out of the server so hot it burns our mouths. All we get are starches. We get 1 apple a month and 1 orange a month. Breakfast, the most important meal, they give us 2 tablespoons of eggs, ¼ cup of grits or oatmeal and 1 biscuit that is the size of a golfball.

Chow time, supplies and warehouse living at Montgomery Women's Facility
Chow time, supplies and warehouse living at Montgomery Women’s Facility

We used to get desserts at lunch and dinner, but they cut the desserts down to 4 times a week. The stewardess alters the menu all the time. We are not fed according to the food pryimid. On 2nd shift the officers argue who is going to feed us. We’re supposed to eat at 04:30 but we don’t get fed till almost 5 and then we are yelled at the whole time whilst eating and are rushed to eat.

SUPPLIES – We’re supposed to get 1 bottle of shampoo, 4 bars of soap, deodorant, 1 razor, 1 tube of shower cream. The black folks get a shampoo and conditioner for their hair as well as hair grease, but the officer in charge of our supplies never orders enough. Today we ran out of the bottles of shampoo for white people and when the officer was asked, what was we who got no shampoo to do, her reply was “I guess you won’t have any shampoo”. We’re supposed to get supplies every 30 days, yet our supplies are every 45 days. This same officer was supposed to give us 3 pairs of state shorts along with 3 t-shirts, but she gave us only 1 pair of shorts and 1 t-shirt.

The other 2 female prisons got their 3 shorts and 3 t-shirts. We’re also supposed to get 2 pairs of shorts pyjamas and 2 pyjama pants, yet we get none of either. We get 6 panties 4 bras every 6 months. The panties tear up within a week and she never has our size. The panties are either too small or too big. The bras for big girls are rarely available, size 40 or bigger. We get sports bras, either too big or too small. I am out of panties altogether but cannot get any for another 4 months, so now i go without, which is against regs, yet its not my fault that i can’t get anymore.

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Officers can scan and insert false and malicious documents into our files

Here at Montgomery Women’s Facility bullies are everywhere. Us who fall victim to the bullies and report it, are told we have to have witnesses to verify the bullying done to us. I was verbally attacked by another inmate right after our PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) video. This inmate called me names, made fun of my body and mocked me for some PREA incidents i had reported. She then came to the shower i was in to threaten me bodily harm. I left the shower in tears. The officer right outside the bathroom heard everything yet did nothing.

Experience with bullies at Montgomery Women's Facility
Experience with bullies at Montgomery Women’s Facility

I reported all this to our PREA rep and she called me a liar, said i had no proof, the officer who witnessed it said she heard nothing. I left in tears feeling hopeless. The next day, the inmate who got into it with her employer, the notorious canteen lady, threw my canteen at me for retaliation. I reported this as well and nothing was done. I was told to walk with a “bodyguard” at all times, so if the bullies picked on me again, i would have a witness. What bully picks on another in front of others?

This inmate violated everything that PREA says another inmate cannot do to another inmate, yet that inmate still resides at Montgomery Women’s Facility, bullying still. Overtime she passes me, she bumps into me, trying to instigate something. I say nothing because it does me no good to report to ones who are crooked and cover up stuff.

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Animals are treated better than us

Every morning, Monday – Friday all 300 of us gets kicked out of the dorm at 7am so a few inmates can clean the front of the dorm and our bathroom. We are left outside till 08.30 and 9am. We only have 14 tables that will sit roughly 70 inmates. The rest of us have to sit on the ground. We get kicked out while its cold and even if the ground and tables are soaking wet from rain. The only time we don’t get kicked out is if its below 32°f.

Statement form an inmate highlighting the daily routine in Montgomery Women's Facility
Statement form an inmate highlighting the daily routine in Montgomery Women’s Facility

They don’t take into consideration of the wind chill. During the summer we have no shade and are forced to be in the sun for 2 hrs. We clean our own living areas yet we’re forced outside when its wet, cold, windy or when its hot and humid. The officers start yelling at us at 06:15 to get in compliance and to get out. Yet regs state compliance time is 08:00 but we are forced at 07:00. The officers snicker and think its funny that they herd us out.

Our roof leaks in over a dozen spots. We have to move our 300lbs beds when it rains, so we won’t get rained on. Once again, we live in worse conditions than animals.

On 3rd shift, which is 22:00 to 06:00 they torture us with the lights. They won’t turn the lights off till 23:30 or 00:00, then they cut them back on at 01:00 to count, then again at 03:00 and they remain on all morning. We are sleep deprived.

On our pill line, there are over 70 of us, yet the officers will call everyone up there at one time creating a cluster of people blocking aisles. Some of us will go as the pill line goes down to about 15 inmates, yet the officers will prevent us from getting our meds, saying we are late to pill line. Yet how can i be late to pill line, when pill line is still going? The night before last, a Sgt. actually wrote up an inmate for taking her medicine after she came to pill line, when the line still had 10 inmates in line. We are not to be refused our meds, yet we are at Montgomery Women’s Facility.

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Statement alleging racism and special treatment, rife at Montgomery Women’s Facility

  • I have seen numerous white women go to Sgt. Jene for bed changes, who had legitimate reasons for the move just to be told No! On these same days i have seen black females go to Sgt. Jene and be moved with absolutely no hesitation.
Statement alleging racism and special treatment, rife at Montgomery Women's Facility
Statement alleging racism and special treatment, rife at Montgomery Women’s Facility
  • When i slept in the SAP area up front Lt. Mason came and made a white girl who had already had permission to have been on the bottom bed move, and told her she had better not see her on a bottom bed again. This girl had been on this bunk through 2 bed rosters and had never been asked to move. She moved off the top to begin with because her top bed win the corner was falling in. This girl did not have a bottom bunk profile, but the very same day Lt. Mason let a black girl move from top to bottom, also in the SAP area who also did not have a bottom bunk profile. All it came down to was the color of skin.
  • Also, when i slept up front in the SAP area before Sgt. Snow became Sgt. and was just an officer, she closed both bathrooms at the same time for cleaning. No one could use the restroom and a bunch of women were waiting. A white girl couldn’t hold herself anymore and went in the big bathroom to use it. When she came out (officer Snow) at the time, Now Sgt Snow actually put her hands on the little white girl and jerked her out of the opening of the door. The white girl demanded to see a Sgt. or Lt. and was not allowed to see one. I’m not sure what happened after this, but officers should not be allowed to put their hands on any of us inmates, we’re people too who are being punished already by being here and the guards try to find any reason to punish us or degrade us more than we already are.

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Prison secrets: investigation finds prison bosses have little to fear from breaking the rules

Warden Carter Davenport (right) speaks to media members during a tour as State Senator Cam Ward (center) and Kim Thomas, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections listen at the St. Clair Correctional Facility Fri., March 16, 2012 in Springville, Ala. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale). (BERNARD TRONCALE)
Warden Carter Davenport (right) speaks to media members during a tour as State Senator Cam Ward (center) and Kim Thomas, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections listen at the St. Clair Correctional Facility Fri., March 16, 2012 in Springville, Ala. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale). (BERNARD TRONCALE)
By Casey Toner – on June 13, 2014 at 5:33 AM, updated March 12, 2016 at 1:48 PM

SPRINGVILLE, Alabama — On a routine cell transfer in 2012, a handcuffed inmate at St. Clair Correctional Facility had a few choice words that pricked the ear of Warden Carter Davenport.

Davenport, then a 24-year corrections veteran, wasn’t going to let it slide. Not in the state’s second-most-violent prison. Not from an inmate placed in segregation — a dorm reserved for the prison’s worst troublemakers.

Incensed, Davenport clenched his fist and cracked him in the head. When the inmate quieted down, Davenport removed his shackles and led him back to his cell.

In most places, it is a crime to punch a handcuffed man. But in Alabama’s correctional system, it is a merely a policy violation, which was documented in Davenport’s personnel file. There was no investigation of the case, no interview with the inmate, and no record made of his injuries. Davenport received a two-day suspension, which he served the following month.

An analysis of hundreds of personnel documents shows that the state’s wardens can flout the rules, take a slap on the wrist, return to work or transfer to other prisons. In fact, some wardens were promoted to their positions even after serving suspensions as lower-ranking officers for beating inmates or covering up beatings.

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When i reported the abuse, i became an outcast amongst societies outcasts

Montgomery Women’s Facility (MWF) has more problems than a small camp such as this should have. Last month (February 2016) we had another one bite the dust. Our S.P.R (Pre-Release) Sgt. was escorted off premises for having sex with his charges, those female inmates under the S.P.R program. He wouldn’t report their dirty urines (Urine Tests) in exchange for sex.

An inmates account of the abuse that occurs at Montgomery Women's Facility
An inmates account of the abuse that occurs at Montgomery Women’s Facility

This month, March our canteen lady who is employed by the state, picked up a rock and threatened to hit the inmate who was at the window getting her canteen store. Nothing happened of course. She gets to treat us any kind of way, calling us names, cursing us and at times refusing to fill our canteen store because she doesn’t feel like it or is angry at us. Captain said she’ll “investigate” but she is just as crooked as the rest here, who works here.

Captain barters and trades with inmates, even calls some of them her “children”, showing favouritism to some inmates and then others she lets get abused by her officers. Today our visitation building was taken over by our Healthcare, that we call Death care. Their trailer has been condemned over a year and today we inmates who were having art class, we were kicked out and then made to move all the furniture (chairs, tables, a 1000 lb. piano) over to the shift office. The visitation building also held our classes as well as Church. Why can’t D.O.C purchase another building? Where is all the money they claim to have?

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We’re fed up with being treated like cattle at a slaughterhouse

In my entire life, i can count myself fortunate in the aspect that i’ve never had to go to bed hungry, never had to live in filth with roaches and rats, never had to know the humiliating sting of purposefully degrading comments from someone who is supposed to be here for my protection. That all changed the moment i entered the Alabama Department Of Corrections, unprofessional, racist and ineffective custody. Where to start?

Statement of the conditions in Montgomery Women's Facility
Statement of the conditions in Montgomery Women’s Facility

At over 200% capacity, the existing facilities to house ADOC (Alabama Department Of Corrections) inmates are derelict, unsanitary, ineffective and quite frankly dangerous. Julia Tutwiler prison is almost a century old and built to house no more than 400 inmates. ADOC shows no concern for their inmates safety, nor that of their officers or the surrounding publics by cramming over three times the intended maximum capacity in an 80+ year old building that should be condemned.

Montgomery Women’s Facility is no better. Currently MWF (Montgomery Women’s Facility) is a level II Camp designed to hold 150 work release inmates. Double the number of inmates & you’ll have current MWF count, with less than 40 actively working & exercising their custody. At the time this letter is being written, MWF has no warden & the officers are taking full advantage of that fact. They have no one to answer to and unprofessional conduct, retaliation for previous slights and racially motivated incidents run amok.

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