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Donna Ann Smith-Marshall

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Member Since: Mar, 2007

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Doing Time-Jail That Is
By Donna Ann Smith-Marshall
Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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Time On The Inside, Behind The Walls In A Maximum Security Women's Prison From An Insiders View is a palce where women are trying to stay out from daily. This is just a short story taken from Ch. Six in the book.

We were given a blue denim dress, and a blue jacket that was too small for some and two big for others. I truly believe this was done on purpose as you had the smaller women with their dresses hanging off them and us big girls struggling to keep them on. Now you know this was a setup. Some girls asked the women with the bigger dresses to exchange with them; however once you have been in a holding cell with a bunch of stinking women for nine hours to come out and only get a two minute shower and then take off your dress and exchange for someone elseís never mind, I donít think so; at least I didnít but they werenít giving those bigger dresses up anyway; however it didnít matter because if a big girl wanted it, she would take it. Once youíre out of sight of the deputies, it was fair game. My thought was if they want to see big thighs, here comes several others and mine.

They also gave us a pair of small socks, which are the kind I brought for my daughters when they were toddlers. Now my shoe size is an 11 when I want to be cute and a 12 when I want to be comfortable, so with me trying to squeeze my big foot into those socks was a sight to see. We were able to keep the shoes we had on as long as they didnít symbolize any gang affiliation or were too high. I kept mine, which was a black Mary Poppins type wedged heel shoe. With that small denim dress, bobby socks and my shoes, I looked like I was trying to resurface my childhood and it wasnít a pretty sight especially with my hair. I looked tore up. When you looked at me from head to toe, you had to be really strong not to laugh and I wasnít even that strong not to laugh at myself. Hell, I laughed and cried. I was a walking mess. 

Hereís a pair of panties and an extra bra the inmate helper said. It was told that for a minute they were trying to give out used underwear but stopped because obviously the cleaning of them didnít work well. We were also given a pair of shower shoes to wear while showering because you wouldnít be caught in the shower with shoes off and when you saw the shower you really didnít want to be caught in their at all.    

Here take this towel. Oh no, not another spotted towel. I donít know where all those yellow spots came from on those white towels. I suppose it was from someone leaving them to dry on metal before rusting and I found out thatís just what happens. You see you have a metal bunk bed and when you get out of the shower the only place to hang your towel is on the end so that it can dry. When they handed me oneówhich I was told would be changed every three days, it wasnít terribly spotted as some, but it was spotted. Mercy! Oh, how I wish I were could fly away.

Living in SBI was so hard. You lived with some of the most disgusting women that you could imagine and would steal any moment they could get, so you had to find some jail furniture quickly to store your belongings and the furniture of your only choice was a cardboard box if you were lucky to find one. This would be the place where youíd keep your personal hygiene items, panties, socks, bras, whatever you feel is extremely important to you or you could use a ditty bag. Some of you are wondering ditty bag? This is a small hand made bag to put your most valuable belongings in, like your food from canteen. If you lost track of your food, you could lose your mind. Iím talking items youíre allowed to purchase aside from the three meals they provide daily. If you didnít mind being unable to identify what you were eating as I stated earlier, then you didnít have to really worry about this. For me, I relied on snicker bars and cup of noodles for substance so I held onto that ditty bag as if my life depended on it. No matter how good you thought you were, if you didnít want your items stolen youíd better carry this bag with you or it would walk and if you had someone to look after it or your box while you went to work in the jailóyes we worked or you were on a pass, visit, or out to court, you best make sure that person is reliable or theyíll punk you out and Iím talking about stealing it, gone, history.
 Copyright © 2005-2007 Donna Ann Smith-Marshall


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Reviewed by John Leko 8/14/2007
Well written...strong memories still in lock up... released.

Reviewed by Reginald Johnson 7/23/2007
A poignant reminder of freedoms we enjoy and lessons we must never forget ... which include love, honor, and respect for others.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Price 5/31/2007
Powerful and charged writing style. Plus, the subject matter is provocative. To have the courage to write about a dreaded subject takes guts and courage. But you obviously had to have a lot of both to have survived being incarcerated. More power to you. Excellent write. Liz

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