When I entered Framingham State Prison for the first time at age 19, I was placed in a cold, dark holding cell with 9 other women. Most of us were in bad shape, experiencing withdrawal symptoms, bruised from domestic violence, and simply scared to death of what we would experience after entering our designated cellblocks. After almost an entire day of being crammed in that cell, I was finally moved and asked to remove my clothes in front of an intimidating, angry-looking woman and then to bend over (stark naked) and cough. I was then placed with my first cellmate. She was quiet, dysphoric, and seemed out of place (as many of us did). Later that evening, three women entered our cell and essentially “punished” my cellmate for her crime. There was no debriefing, there was no one to talk to, and no one even bothered to get rid of the pools of blood. The unit was placed on lockdown and I was locked in for the night. I was told to “get some rest” and that an inmate cleaning crew would be in early the next morning to clean up.
When I went to my first meal, it was roughly enough food for a small child but I was grateful for it because I hadn’t eaten in a few days because the ham on the sandwiches we were given in holding had a green, shiny hue to it. I stopped for some Kool-Aid on my way to sit down and reached over another woman’s tray. I learned quickly that that is a big no-no. My tray was knocked out of my hands and this woman spit in my eye before swinging her fists at me. She was quickly taken away but the situation did not end there. I was blamed by her friends for her being sent to “the hole” (solitary confinement) and was harassed at every meal following that, to the point that I began skipping meals due to fear of being beaten.
To read the full article written by Sarah Carllson, MSW Intern, Trauma Informed Oregon click HERE and see attached for an informative infographic