Thursday, April 30, 2009
Sometimes I feel like I have a 1000 lb anchor tied to me while I'm trying to hold up a job, a home and 2 kids, and then holding on to the bottom of the anchor is Brian. When all is said and done we will have been together for 12 years and out of those 12 years 7 of them he's been locked up. He's a work-a-holic when he is out and he's putting in 60-70 hours per week, and then there is the time he spends with the kids and his family and friends...my time is so small. I feel like we have had a lot of good times, but far more bad times. I'm sure that this is what outsiders see.
I have been through enough, I don't know if I can make it another 12 months. There are opportunities all around me where other men are interested in me, it's a great ego boost. Yet, I still feel like I'm letting everyone down if I left him now. I made a commitment to him and my children that I would wait....but what about me? What about my happiness? I want someone who WILL be there, who I don't have to worry about the next shoe dropping. Am I wrong, do I need to keep on this roller-coaster ride?
I will say that I do see a huge change in him. I see that he's really committed himself to a lifestyle of righteousness, and I see that he's let go of a lot of the addictive habits. There are plenty of drugs in prison, and he's quit all forms of tobacco as well. He studies scripture, and he's realized his self worth I think. But I can't predict the future.
I guess the question I need to ask myself is:
1) If you don't wait will you regret it and wish that you had if he's happy in another relationship? 2) Are you willing to put up with the unknown and take the risk that he might relapse again? And if he does, can you live with the fact that you waited in vain?
Any advise from anyone out there is much appreciated.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
- $40,000 Housing for My Husband
- $7200 Health Care for his family (I am currently on AHCCCS until April 2010)
- $6000 Food Stamps (I am currently receiving at $500 per month until June)
- $1800 in six months cash assistance (which I needed while unemployed)
- $480 unemployment when I didn't have a 2nd income to rely on
- $800 one time rental subsidy from Maximus (Jobs Program)
- $500 one time utility assistance from Mesa CAN
- $300 one time utility assistance from Maximus (Jobs Program)
- $5160 in daycare expense for the year (I am not receiving any longer)
(Mutliply just the $40K to house the 40,176 inmates AZ has $1,607,040,000 PER YEAR! I understand that these are not all low level offenders but still DOC is 29% over capacity. Lets just say that 11,651 are low level inmates non-violent that's still $466,040,000 per year they could save)
What I Pay Per Year:
- $3240 round trip in fuel to visit
- $1440 in vending machine for OVER priced JUNK food
- $1200 in collect calls and that's low balling it
- $24,000 in living expenses
- $??.?? Unknown amt in counseling and family therapy after he's released. Due to the trauma, and separation of our family.
Thank You ARIZONA Tax payers. For paying to keep my husband from supporting HIS family!!!! Contact the AZ legislators and tell them to change the truth in sentencing for low level non-violent offenders to 65%....this move would save the state millions of dollars in the first year and billions with in 5 years.
His approx income prior to incarceration:
I was at home with my children before he was sent to prison (which by the way Gilbert Police threw him under the bus because he was not charged originally for the crime which he is serving time for, he was used and then thrown to the wolves)
My Income: BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL for a household of 3
PS I am NOT making excuses for his actions, he should be under some form of punishment, restitution, probation, but NOT PRISON!! What he NEEDED was REHAB!
Or, just keep laying off teachers and throwing guys in prison...pretty soon all the SCHOOLS are GOING to BE PRISONS!!
Monday, April 27, 2009
Brian is a work-a-holic, as well as a binge user he will go years without using but he will work until 10 just to close a deal. He put us first financially, but wasn't there as much as we all needed him to be. He'd get burnt out and then relapse and that was the usual pattern. My son told him many things, one was that he wanted a promise that Brian would be there from now on, and that he was jealous of the other kids in the neighborhood, school, church ect. that had their dads home. It touched Brian in a way that I felt he needed to experience.
Although, many thoughts were racing through my head...as a mother I want to protect my child, I don't want him to be sad or hurt...My dad died when I was 13, and I wouldn't want that pain wished on nobody. I wondered had I made a bad decision to try and keep our family together? Should I had left him the first time? Am I doing the right thing? Maybe I should leave now, and not look back....am I taking too big of a risk? Am I staying for the right reasons...UGH...I just couldn't pull my thoughts together as to what I had done to my son.
Then it dawned on me. I had not done anything. It was Brian who had the problem, not me. My feelings turned to anger that this man had done this to my baby, that his choices had taken him away from his child. How? How can one choice to either use or not use be so difficult? So much that one tiny piece of white substance can do such harm? I was angry at him...I had waited close to 5 months to have this visit. To hold him and kiss him and spend time with him, and now it had turned into a visit I didn't want to even be at.
It was nearing 4 o'clock and I just wanted to leave. Take the kids and not come back. I didn't even kiss him good bye. How awful is that? I wanted so badly to kiss him all this time...and I pushed him away. I left sobbing, angry, and confused, sad, and hurt. My kids asking if we were going back tomorrow, and I snapped back "I don't think so!"
He called me on my way home and I explained what I was feeling, and he told me how truly sorry he was, and that he had never felt like such an ass in his entire life (that was not my goal) I love him so much...I don't want my selfish feelings to want him, hurt our children. That is when my son told me that he was appreciative of me for trying to make it work and keep our family together, and that he knew it was hard for me to do, but that he loved his dad and would always love him. And that he was OK. So I felt much better, that my little 10 year old recognized this. He's so smart and observant.
We all agreed that we were tired, anxious, and overstimulated emotionally that we would get some good sleep Sat night and have a re-do visit on Sunday. Brian told me things that he had never expressed about his feelings toward our daughter vaiing for all his attention either negative or positive, and that he knew this was his fault. But how could he tell her no? Push her away when she gets in between our son and him or me and him, when all she wants is the love and attention that only he can't give her. I could see his point. He said that if someone told him he could come home to us today but he would have to walk bare footed on his hands and knees over broken glass to come home to us, he'd gladly do it twice, and that he'd never leave us ever again. He promised that this was for real that even all that we have been though , he has never been as happy as he is other than when he is with me and the kids. We are his reason for breathing. I believe him. I have always believed in him.
We hung up much better since the kids agreed that daddy and I could have a few minutes here and there without interruption, they promised they wouldn't fight, and that they would be happy and we'd have fun....That is just what we did! We had one of the best family visits on Sunday I think we have ever had.
"Don't take this the wrong way," she says "but do you know anyone in prison?"
"What? No. That's wierd" I replied.
"Well, you've never dated, or know someone close to you that's been in prison?" She asks again.
"Not that I know of. No."
"Well, I see prison in your future....not you! But someone that you really care about, someone that you will love very deeply will be in prison or has been in prison."
Almost a year later I unknowingly married an ex-felon. I was quite niave' back then to prison I had no idea what parole meant. I knew that he was on some sort of parole or probation and that he had been released from jail or prison, but I had no idea what the difference was at the time.
Here are just a few people that I know that are/were incarrcerated since that day in 1997 and the root cause:
My Husband root cause cocaine (possession of gun/drugs)
Travis M my mom's best friend's son root cause meth (attempted vehicular manslaughter)
Ryan T my next door neighbor growing up root cause meth (trafficing and robbery)
David H Ryan's older brother root cause abuse (2nd degree murder)
Billy N my cousin mom's brother's son root cause meth (unlawful use of means)
There are more that I know now that I have met women that are in the same situation as me via support groups, but they don't count.
I just think it's crazy now how prison, indirectly, has really been a huge part of my life.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
May the Force Be With You.
Welcome to the Darkside Baby!
PS: My driver's licence still reflects that I have a second home in Tucson....I hope.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
My fist time visiting SMU was pretty scary. The CO's were very helpful there and made it more comfortable but as I am led towards the belly of the prison by the visitation officer down that long sidewalk my heart starts to rapidly accelerate. From East to West there are grey buildings where faint voices yelling are coming from. I walk into the visitation area and there are two rooms that you can enter through a doorway that is painted blue gray the department of corrections' favorite color. There are visitation booths on both sides of the room where inmates are waiting for their visitor. I can feel their eyes on me as I are search for our booth. A few times I have been there before him and I have to watch while he comes up cuffed and leg shackled to the honeycomb metal door. The CO opens the door for him and closes it before removing his handcuffs. He slides his hands through the food tray pass through and he is released from the handcuffs. He is wearing a bright orange jumpsuit with an orange t-shirt, the top half of the jump suit is off and tucked around his waist to keep it from falling off. I am sitting in a very uncomfortable chair, while his is sitting on a round metal stool attached to the floor with bolts. The thick glass window between us glares my own reflection and I have to put my hand up to block the light so that I can see him better. There is 2 phones on either side of me and one on his side. The visitors around us are talking in elevated voices because the phones do not work very well. I pick up both phones and put them one to each ear to block out the sounds around me. I can hear his voice clearly in surround sound. We put our hands together on the glass as we talk the entire time. What seems like minutes is two hours and the visit time is over. I have to leave him behind that glass to wait to be cuffed up again to be taken in shackles to his cell. I can only imagine what it looks like in there. Pelican Bay in CA is set up very similar in structure and floor plan. I have watched MSNBC's Lock Up and have seen the Pelican Bay episode, so I have a good idea how it looks in there. The fishing lines that are thrown about to send Fritos or tobacco, notes and other items. My husband tells me that he's a good fisherman...I'm sure he is. A few times he was able to make phone calls on a cordless phone that is passed around until the battery is dead. I can hear the other inmates there calling out to each other through the ventilation system. The profanity and the callousness of the other inmates bother my husband. He reads the Bible aloud and the pod quiets down. As he is taken 3 times per week to shower, he must be cuffed and shackled as he walks by other inmates yell profanity at him since he is still undetermined protective custody. There is a stigma in prison for the PC cases. Although, Brian was involuntary it doesn't matter. He is considered the lowest of the low in prison by the hard core prison politics. He takes a shower alone, one of the only times that he can be alone. Sometimes he has to wait an hour for a CO to come and get him from the shower. I'm sure this was one of the things that he could look forward to doing, just a simple shower and shave. He was moved from one cell to another on his shower days preventing him from a shower for 9 days straight. But it was better that he get moved since he was having to force every cellmate DOC was trying to house him with out of his cell to keep the politics off his back. Once he was put in a cell with someone that was PC things were much easier on him. He endured 6 months of SMU and he told me that had he been to SMU from the beginning he'd never step foot in a prison again. It was an experience that he or I will never forget.
If you would like to see a small glimpse of what we have been through and what prison is truly like watch this movie.
Monday, April 13, 2009
I haven't been to visit Brian in what seems to be a month now. And I can tell that I am loosing focus on us. As much as I want to put this world behind me I tend to shut him out. I guess that's par for the course. I know that we will endure this until the end, I just hope that the end is near.
One thing is for 100% certain, I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN! I will not deal with prison ever again, or will I allow him to take me down this path once more. He ever leaves ONE night, or he relapses ONE time. I'M DONE! Mark my words.
I have too many good things to offer a man here is my mom's list but maybe she is partial:
I am a GREAT mother, I take good care of my home, I am pretty, I take good care of myself, I am smart, I have a good job, I am responsible, I don't over indulge, I am a GREAT cook, I am handy and can do just about anything around the house, I'm not a goody-goody but I have high morals and standards, and I am loyal and forgiving to a fault.
So, I guess I do believe these things are true as well, and I know that Brian sees what a good thing he has...but eve when you got it good addiction can be stronger than any good thing you have. I have to pray that he really sees that this is it for him, he has no other chances at life with me or his kids if he falls off the wagon. It's totally up to him....and I can't say yet that I fully trust him with this. I'm not afraid, because I know that I can do all this on my own and I know that I can move on if I have to. But I just want the trust re-built. Unfortunately, you can't build it while someone is in prison.
I have a strong feeling that I will not be dealing with prison for very much longer. Cross your fingers for me and say a little prayer. The poor AZ economy might just be good for us this year!!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Please Leave Your Comments....I want to know what you think????
Get-tough policies that lock up offenders for longer sentences are propelling a projected increase of nearly 200,000 in the nation's prison population in the next five years, according a private study released Wednesday.
The increase - projected by the Pew Charitable Trusts study to be three times faster than overall population growth in the U.S. - is expected to cost states more than $27 billion.
"As a country, we have a problem," said Susan Urahn, managing director of policy initiatives for the Pew Charitable Trusts, which funded the study by its Public Safety Performance Project.
The study is the first of its kind to project prison populations in every state through 2011, based on state projections, current criminal justice policies and demographic trends.
Urahn said she hopes states use the study to prepare for the future - either by building more prisons or by adopting policies to slow the growth through alternative forms of punishment.
The projections, she said, are not inevitable. They can be altered by state policies as well as economic and cultural changes.
"What we have seen is there are a growing number of states really focused, not on being tough on crime or soft on crime, but on being smart about crime," Urahn said. "Every state faces unique circumstance and challenges."
There are more than 1.5 million inmates in the nation's state and federal prisons, a number that is projected to grow to more than 1.7 million by the end of 2011, a 13 percent increase. The nation's population, by comparison, is projected to grow by 4.5 percent in that time.
States are projected to spend up to $27.5 billion on the new inmates, including $12.5 billion in construction costs, according to the study.
Men far outnumber women in prison - nearly 14 to 1. But in the next five years, the number of women inmates is projected to increase by 16 percent compared with a 12 percent increase for men.
Florida is projected to add the most prisoners, about 16,000, followed by California, Texas, Arizona and Ohio.
New York, Connecticut and Delaware are the only states with no projected growth in the number of inmates. All three are projected to have stable inmate populations.
Florida's prison population has been growing since the 1980s, when many inmates had to be released early because of crowding problems, said William Bales, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University.
Since then, the state has eased crowding by building more prisons and changing the way it sentences offenders, Bales said. The state eliminated parole and other forms of early release, but only 20 percent of those eligible for prison are sent there, he said. Instead, many lesser offenders are sentenced to home confinement and required to wear electronic monitoring devices.
"But if you go to prison, you will go for a long time," Bales said.
In Connecticut, the state reversed years of crowding problems in part by investing in programs for inmates who are about to re-enter society. The state also increased the number of probation officers to monitor those who have been released.
"Truth in sentencing, three strikes and you're out - it looks great on paper, but try to make it work," said Connecticut Rep. Michael Lawlor, a Democrat and co-chairman of the state legislature's Judiciary Committee.
Lawlor, a former prosecutor, said Connecticut lawmakers focused on ways to reduce recidivism rather than campaign pledges to get tough on criminals. As a result, he said, crime rates have dropped along with incarceration rates.
"There's a pretty long list of people who deserve to be locked up forever, but it's not the majority of people in prison," Lawlor said. "If you can get people into a room instead of a campaign debate it's really easy to come to consensus.
The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 that I introduced in the Senate on March 26, 2009 will create a blue-ribbon commission to look at every aspect of our criminal justice system with an eye toward reshaping the process from top to bottom. I believe that it is time to bring together the best minds in America to confer, report, and make concrete recommendations about how we can reform the process.
Why We Urgently Need this Legislation:
With 5% of the world's population, our country now houses 25% of the world's reported prisoners.
Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980.
Four times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health hospitals.
Approximately 1 million gang members reside in the U.S., many of them foreign-based; and Mexican cartels operate in 230+ communities across the country.
Post-incarceration re-entry programs are haphazard and often nonexistent, undermining public safety and making it extremely difficult for ex-offenders to become full, contributing members of society.
America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness. Our failure to address this problem has caused the nation's prisons to burst their seams with massive overcrowding, even as our neighborhoods have become more dangerous. We are wasting billions of dollars and diminishing millions of lives. We need to fix the system. Doing so will require a major nationwide recalculation of who goes to prison and for how long and of how we address the long-term consequences of incarceration.
For More info here is a Fact Sheet on the Bill:
When Calling and writing AZ Government Leaders tell them you support Senator Jim Webb's Criminal Commissions ACT of 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
This was a meeting on 3/17 after the 3/6 budget proposal draft was created by the DOC.
The agenda for both the house and senate in regards to department of corrections budget cuts and the video footage of this meeting. (You can just click on Department of Corrections to skip over the Judiciary)
The first guy that's talking is Martin Lorenzo, he is the budget advisory chairperson for DOC.
Charles Ryan, the DOC director is the next to speak in regards to cutting the inmate/CO ratios.
Last to speak is Dr. Mike Dolny he just gives more statistics on house arrest.
They have yet to, at this point, even discuss the truth-in-sentencing.....and by the sounds of it, they are NOT going to look at releasing "bad guys back on the streets, just because there is a budget crisis right now"
There is a heated disscussion between one of the representatives and one of the senators about other "options" to reduce the budget, they don't go into much detail but one can assume they are talking about releasing inmates.
PS I did find out, however, I could still be misunderstanding, what ever is put in the budget doesn't have to be passed into a bill, they will just strike the current bill and revise it based on the need to uphold the budget.
Unrelated, the HB that takes tobacco from inmates looks like it passed...
Saturday, April 4, 2009
I hate visitaton, it's like cruel torture. The phone calls are nice, but they only last so long, and cost so much. Writing, I can't even pick up a pen and think of anything to say...my mind is blank.
What if this whole truth-in-sentencing thing doesn't change. So, we've got a year left. I met a man that goees to my church that spent time in Alcatraz and Leavenworth Prison in KS he's 80 yrs old. Said he could do one year standing on his head. He spent 12 years in prison. Puts our situation a bit in perspective.
I just hate prison, and I am burnt out....I love my husband and I will wait for hm, but I don't like it.
God Please let him come home September 1st, 2009.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Please send an e-mail BCC to the above AZ State Representatives:
Subject: ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS CUTS: SUPPORT
March 6, 2009 the Department of Corrections submitted a budget proposal with many priorities to reduce their one billion dollar Budget. In particular priority #10C is to reduce the mandatory time served for inmates in AZ, otherwise known as Truth-In-Sentencing. I completely support this move by the Arizona Department of Corrections and strongly urge you, as a representative of the tax paying citizens of AZ, to implement this plan in what ever means necessary. There is too much spending in corrections and not enough on education and other important agencies. It's time that the mandatory minimum time served of 85% be reduced and other monitoring methods and programs utilized for those qualified inmates in the proposal from the DOC. If in fact, this part of the budget reduction happens there will only be approximately 6500 non-dangerous low custody inmates eligible for parole. Ten prisons could be shut down and possibly leased out to CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) generating a revenue, as well as creating jobs for Correction Officers that will be laid off. Correction officers could transition to Parole Officers and utilize space in the prisons rather than outside office locations. This is a win/win situation, none of the other budget cuts the DOC is proposing would need to be cut (if AZ is asking DOC to cut 8.5% of their budget) including programs for inmates, staff benfits, and operations expenses.
Thank You For Supporting My Request.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
You know, I am going to play the devil's advocate.
First of all, out of 10 priorities, this one is number 10. Number 11 is really just an extention to #10C.
Second, by unloading 10K plus inmates either into county jails or on parole would eliminate 10 plus prisons.
Third, the county jails will have to house more inmates 600 plus from DOC and that isn't going to fly with the counties too well.
Fourth, eliminating 10 prison facilities means laying off close to 1200 employees. Although, one suggestion is to lease out the DOC prisons to private prison companies (creating an income) and house out of state inmates possibly opening up new jobs for those employees that will loose their job with DOC.
Fifth, AZ will either need to increase the parole officers case loads or create new jobs, because the parole officers are already over loaded. Again, possibly more jobs for the laid of DOC workers.
Sixth, there will need to be a revision of the current law, something that is very complex, because of other language that is used in ARS codes determining inmate eligiability. Would this only be for non-violent, medium, minimum inmates not convicted of certain crimes? They will really need to hammer and smooth this out to prevent some inmates that should qualify falling through the cracks and not getting released which will cause unrest with inmates and family members angry that one inmate gets this program while another with the same crime does not especially based on the fact that the only difference is they are house in a closed custody yard or level 5 yard. I guess this would have to be an internal DOC policy based on internal scoring and behavior....
Some other things to consider I heard, I haven't verified this yet, but DOC was only asked to reduce their current budget of 1 billion 8.5% so in other words $85 million dollars. If DOC reduces the budget by each priority in order, then they would reach that reduction prior to priority number 10C the modification in truth-in-sentencing.
Just some food for thought so that we can look at this in a realistic approach.