Week #5 at Alderson Federal Prison Camp
On October 8, 2015 exactly two years ago to the date, I was woken abruptly to Bobby & Teejay standing at the foot of our bed in a full-blown panic. “The Feds just pulled into the ASI parking lot about 60 deep in Uhauls. It’s really crazy up there boss… we need to get up there”…
I froze. I heard Sean answer his cell phone and say, “Okay Maria, breathe, calm down and relax. Pray.” Maria proceeded to inform us that 50 federal agents were swarming through our home as well. The dogs were out of control and barking frantically. The Feds were rude as usual and tore our home apart, but could not find anything. They did however find a $900 TJ Maxx receipt! For some reason that upset them! haha! They snatched about 4-5 broken Mac laptops and took them with them. They were terrible. Maria suffers from PTSD and has since done much work in private therapy on herself. The 18 hours we all spent that devastating day and night at ASI set the stage for what was the most traumatic experience of my entire life (along with many others). That event caused a terrible emotional hurricane. It ruined many lives. It killed many patients. It took addicts “safe place” from them. But for the Sugarmann Family; it slowly and devastatingly destroyed a dream.
I sit here now, in Alderson Women’s Prison Camp, in shock at what I am learning about our federal government. I am learning about prison terms and sentences for “First time offenders of Non-violent crimes”. The exorbitant amount of white collar crimes that have been punished with extremely long, long sentences. People who have never been in trouble once getting 12, 15 year sentences. People who are 100% innocent. Their lives have been destroyed over Federal Mandatory Guidelines. It is a nightmare. I had no idea. Addicts who have never been given the opportunity to go to rehab and learn about the disease of addiction. They never learned how to get clean let alone stay clean!! 80% of the population in here are drug offenders and the other 20% are white collar criminals. When you meet the warden, the first thing he asks is, “Are you a thief or a junkie?”.. I said “well allegedly I am both!” haha
This is a “Camp”, unfortunately it has nothing to offer any inmates with regards to classes or programming. All classes are full, waitlisted or just not offered. It is definitely a step up from the county jail! Jobs pay $5.25 MONTH!! All paychecks go towards restitution. Everything is purchased through commissary. NOTHING is allowed to be brought in.
Some how, being here, experiencing this, is a gift from God. I miss my family terribly and I ask God to watch over them and guide them daily. This is God’s plan and I have accepted it. The women in here have surrendered to prison life. They have surrendered to the fact they will be here until they have served their sentence.
For the past several days I have been put in the position to carry the message of Narcotics Anonymous. I am dumbfounded as to how many women have NEVER been to a meeting. God am I blessed to have been shown the program 34 years ago.
There is a woman named Jennifer. She is from Kentucky. She is 26 years old and pregnant. She was given 6 years in prison for methamphetamine. Her boyfriend got 26 years in Prison. They have 3 children and one on the way. Neither of them have ever been to rehab. She has shown up at the meeting the last two weeks. I have been so happy to see her. She walked with me home last night after the meeting. Jennifer will be leaving here and going to the program for pregnant women. She will be able to stay with her baby for one year and then they will take the baby home. She will then finish her time without the baby. Narcotics Anonymous can save her life and give her the chance to be a totally different person!
Jessica, my Bunkie, still has not gone to a meeting with me. It is so sad to watch her struggle. She has lost her 4 children and her husband just got out of prison. She told me that he is going to meetings and is trying to work a program. Now I need to get her to commit to go with me! She is serving a 6 year sentence over 54.1 ounces of heroin. I just KNOW that if she recovers things will get better. Her life will change.
I met Kara from Tampa, Fl today. Beautiful young lady. She is 33 years old and has been in prison for 9 years. She has one more year. She was given a 10 year sentence for driving the get away car of a robbery. She received a gun charge. It was her first offense. her co-defendant got 32 years. She had no idea that they were doing a robbery. She was a pre-school teacher at the time.
And finally, Brandy. I feel like I have known her forever. She is a good person with a great head on her shoulders. Brandy was given 15 years in prison on her first offense. She got 3 years taken off so she has 12 years to do. She already has done 8 years. She believes she will be able to leave in 2 years. This is her 3rd time in prison. She has three children. She is a very hard worker and her spirit is alive. I find myself in awe of her stamina and power. She does not count her time. She makes her time count. She does not complain at all. She will be part of my life from now on. She helps me to be grateful.
I wish God would show me how to do this. I need him to answer me. Show me what is next.
This is very difficult. This prison needs a documentary. We need to do something. There is so much to tell. So much needs done. So much is just plain wrong in here. I believe prison reform might be next ! Stay Tuned!
Love you all!!!!!
Thank you to everyone who has sent me letters and cards. I appreciate them more than you will ever know. Please keep them coming. Also, thank you to everyone who has given me some money for my commissary. It has helped so much!!!