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Vanderford, Anna

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Anna M. Vanderford Old Address [ID] MBCC C1-A-215 29501 Kickapoo Rd. McLoud, OK 74851 New Address 145673 1010 W. 6th. Ave. Shakopee, MN 55379 Short It's often said that prisoners get "short and shitty". I've never understood the term. How could I understand it; having been sentenced to life in prison. Until this morning... I'm 50 years old, I've served 30 years and this broad in front of me, starts saying "there will be no cutting/bucking the line": Well, I don't advocate cutting, but my significant other is a couple years older than I am, with arthritis. I rushed to the line to save her a spot. The broad in back of me, starts talking to the broad directly in front of me, and says she has 3200 days. (That's another thing I find irritating. Give me your time in years. Women will talk about their kids being 23 months old, just say it in years.) This broad has quickly turned into a b*tch; as she says she is worried about getting home, she is separated from her family. Good Lord, we are all separated from our families. My mom passed away a few years into my sentence and was the last living relative I had. So my advice to her is to shut up before I punch her in the face. After all this time, I guess, I am short. I have 2 years and I will go before the parole board to be considered for release. I am walking a tight rope, I must be perfect to remain in contention for release. I don't even know where I'm going when released. I came into prison at 19 years old and may leave in time to collect Social Security. The gall and audacity of inmates, ½ my age, to talk about the injustices of waiting in a line and being separated from family. I feel like a kid waiting to get to Disney, the closer we get the longer it seems. I've never wanted anything so bad in my life. Disney, a driver's license, to have a boyfriend, and currently- to get out of prison. Not much of a bucket list, but I had a pretty short life in the free world, before I ended up in prison. How did my life come to this? Let me run down the brutally short version. Oh, I thought I was in love. I got pregnant. I thought I could do it all, and so he probably felt neglected. He was going to leave me, abandon me; I killed him. I was convicted of premeditated murder. In retrospect, that's laughable, it wasn't premeditated very well. I stood there like an idiot until the police arrested me. I was numb throughout my trial and for a few years of prison. When I did wake up, it was all about escape. My first few escapes were short lived but at least I was out of prison. That's part of the reason I would end up serving all this time. My last escapes were using drugs of all sorts. Now I am an old lady (by prison standards), 50 years old putting up with B.S. and nonsense from the prison staff and inmates. I have a state issue Bunkie that is "special", to say the least. She's 40 years old and the term "ignorance is bliss", comes to mind, when I think of her. She's super religious. She's so heavenly bound; she's almost of no earthly good. All she does is work the kitchen and do Bible studies. One day, there were little V marks on the toilet, where she hadn't wiped her ass sufficiently and she'd left shit. I told her that I thought cleanliness was supposed to be close to godliness. Of course, she said she's sorry, and she is a sorry waste of space. It's like living with a 2 year old except that she's 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide in an 8x12 ft space. An example of our Bunkie conversation - There was a news snippet on TV about a high school kid that took a $5.00 bet that he couldn't drink a bottle of vodka. He finished the bottle of vodka and died of alcohol poisoning. My Bunkie said, "Why would they serve alcohol with poison in it?" I explained alcohol poisoning and even how your stomach can't be pumped, if the alcohol has reached your bloodstream. My bunkie's only reply was that she would've asked for more money. I've had tons of formerly homeless bunkies. The ones with the gnarly toe nails, matted hair, missing teeth and they hoard trash. Most all of them have been prostitutes and have no sense of modesty. You don't want to see them nude but they prance around in the hopes you'll be aroused. It sounds crazy, but you can tell they like you funny, because they start bringing you food from the kitchen and doing things for you without your solicitation, like washing and ironing your clothes. Frankly, all you want from them is for them to stay clean and the hell away from you. In retrospect, how can I be upset at anyone but myself. I placed myself in this circle of hell. The mentally ill are sprinkled throughout the prison system but it truly feels like I'm in an insane asylum. The General Population's most recent topic of conversation is a woman that hung herself here. We'll call her Bree. Bree was the Barbie type, outside of prison: good home, decent looking and generally looking for what all women want (love and prince charming). Bree had "fallen in love", gotten pregnant and presumably was having a rocky marriage. Amidst an argument, Bree got into a shoving match and her husband fell from the condo window to his death. Truthfully, whether Bree was innocent or guilty, I felt she had a good chance of getting out of prison. Her parents got her on a talk show and positive attention was refocused on her case. I don't know how she got to prison to begin with. I mean, there was reasonable doubt - how was she to know the window would "break". What many people don't know or see in the female prisons, is the loneliness. The need women have for human contact, to belong, and for approval: especially after the trauma of committing a crime and a trial. Many women, while they are not truly lesbians, seek out relationships to fill a void. Pat is a butch, dyke type (as am I), except she is a predator. I've served 10 years of time with Pat. Pat only talks to women that shop the full amount in canteen. Pat grew up on the streets, her dad was a pimp that she idolized. Pat was authentic in that, she was originally gay on the streets and is in prison for murdering her girlfriend. I guess she didn't know what to do with the body and rode around with her girlfriend's body in her trunk, until she was busted for a common traffic stop and then the stench alerted the cops. Pat always has more than one girlfriend and has had them have sex parties; calling them her "Charlie's Angels". Pat lives the "creme da la crème", life in prison. Her gift of gab has gotten her staff girlfriends and every kind of contraband one could wish for: cell phones, alcohol, drugs, elicit photos - all of which would create even more of a financial windfall. I often wondered what kind of administrator would find Pat attractive, but I think it ultimately comes down to how she boosts their ego, feeds them information and I suppose there's a little danger or the attitude that they'll never get caught. Pat and I aren't friends or enemies. I serve no purpose in her world nor vice versa. But I can't help but notice that she has the charisma of David Koresh and wonder how she can attract and keep a harem. When Bree arrived in prison, she must've had the smell of good finances. It seems Pat treats the princess types like whores and the whores like princesses. Whatever the game, it worked. Bree was in love with Pat. Bree told her parents that Pat was wonderful. I don't know if Bree had a drug problem outside of prison. Bree acquired a steady meth problem in prison. Bree was starting to look pretty rough, losing weight and picking at her face. Pat had blackened Bree's eyes and Bree took all her gifis back and sent Pat to SHU (Security Housing Unit - 24 hour lock down). I'm sure the prison knew they were amidst a problem with the dramatic, high-publicity, tumultuous relationship. Truly, I don't know what the administrators could've done, there's quite a bit of manipulation, Bree telling her parents different things to benefit or harm Pat. Pat decided to do some manipulation herself and broke up with Bree, presumably to get back together with one of her ex girlfriends. Well, Bree went to her cell and I believe was going to stage a suicide attempt. But as fate would have it Bree ended up killing herself, hanging herself with her curling iron cord. Bree has a son and that's probably the worst casualty of this whole ordeal. Bree's parents are on the talk shows again, discussing the conspiracy. Bree probably wasn't suicidal, she just wanted attention and the suicide was a plea for attention that went awry. Bree will end up a Lifetime movie and the facts will never be believed by those in the free world that felt they knew her best. What mother wants to believe their beloved daughter would fall in love with a dyke prison pimp and commit suicide over trying to get her attention. What a waste of a life. I'm not sitting in judgment. I was an attractive, young woman once. I had loving parents that passed away and I found myself utterly alone in prison. I've made my mistakes and took more than Prison 101 to be alright. I had a young, bright, attractive girlfriend that used to stroke my ego and everything else she came close to. She was crafty and creating fake paperwork (college diplomas, lay-ins etc.) at our job site and let me take the fall. I was heartbroken, but I became older and wiser. I used drugs, slapped women around and realized that it didn't change stupid women, they were just stupid and beat up. I gradually became the man that I would want in my life. My priorities have changed. I encourage education, take care of basic financial needs and enjoy the stolen moments my lover and I can spend together. PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) was a real weird weapon at this facility for awhile. If you called PREA, the prison had to lock up the presumed aggressor for an investigation. So all these presumed victims called PREA, because they were mad at their women, they wanted to make their lovers jealous, they owed someone for dope. The persons that called PREA were supposed to be confidential, but there are no secrets in prison. I hate thieves and liars and I pity the attractive 1st time offenders. There are plenty of young women that flirt with the guards. If they aren't preyed upon, they are wielding their sexual prowess to ruin lives. We have a high percentage of guards that have impregnated, married or just plain gotten busted with the inmates. A couple guys are serving hard time (30 years for sex with a handful of women). I feel bad for the former guards, even the dykes aren't having to do that. I had a false PREA called on me and served a month in SHU for it. The woman that called PREA on me was a state assigned roommate that was trying to make her lover jealous. She told the guards that she felt uncomfortable living with me, like I was always undressing her with my eyes or trying to brush up against her. I got out of SHU and talk about a test of will: If ever I wanted to shank someone it was her. Eventually karma got her, she was released from prison and it was on the news that her boyfriend stabbed her. There was one woman that stabbed her own vagina with a pen, in an attempt to create PREA evidence against a lesbian that no longer wanted her. Truth can be stranger than fiction! I have a special light in my life. A teenage girl that is my friend and I write. I've been writing her since she was a child. She was sexually abused and having been there myself, I offered to write her and be her human diary. I told her mom that some kids won't talk to a counselor or even their parents. Her mom agreed to monitor and allow correspondence. My teenage friend has asked if prison is like "Orange is the New Black" TV show. Well, I read the book. I give kudos to the author (because she has drawn attention to the fact that many times women are given unnecessarily long sentences). However, the author spent a year in prison and her time seemed pretty mild. We don't get cable TV, so I've never seen the show. I told my teenage friend that I suppose it's like the military or high school; you have your nice and mean guards and your favorite times things to do, but generally it sucks. I don't have kids and I'm passed my child bearing years. I'm not always sure what to say to my young friend but I pray she never dawns the doors or any jail or prison. The women that come in with short sentences may never be exposed to the world of real prison. I'd like to think this ugly world of prison is enough to break them, make them change their ways, but it is the short-termers that are the recidivists. Still I imagine it changes their lives forever. The women that serve long sentences, I can almost guarantee, if they survive their sentences - they won't be back, especially if they survive that stint of being short.

Author: Vanderford, Anna

Author Location: No information

Date: June 13, 2018

Genre: Essay

Extent: 3 pages

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