FORMER INMATE REVIEWS
"THE WOMEN OF BLOCK 12"
My name is Romaine and I'm training at St. Bartholomew's for the COMMUNITY OF HOPE as a lay chaplain. I mentioned to one of the members that I've always had a deep longing to get involved with "Prison Ministry" because that is where I turned my life around. Yesterday before class, he gave me your book to read and I put it in my bag to read sometime when I had time.
Needless to say, it was burning a hole in my backpack when I got home and I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down to read the preface. That was all she wrote! It took me back 23 years ago to when I was incarcerated in Coldwater Women's Facility in Coldwater, Michigan. I read every woman's story and kept nodding my head, remembering the women I had shared time with and the struggles we went through, learning how to live, how to adjust to a "racial" culture, how to give up your total identity until you feel that you have nothing left to give.....
And the strip searches..... I will remember those until the day I die, TAKE ALL OF YOUR CLOTHING OFF, BE PATTED DOWN OVER YOUR BODY -- AND THEN TOLD TO BEND DOWN, TOUCH YOUR KNEES, AND DEEP COUGH.....
I only had a few visits during those 5 years but that was fine with me because I felt so degraded every time I had to "submit to the search" before I was allowed to return to my housing unit.
It was as if a well opened inside of me and I kept saying this is what I need to do. I'm not some "fire and brimstone" kind of person. This isn't something I want to do because I have a "whim" for it. This is something I want to do with all of my being because I know I would have never become the person I am today if a volunteer wouldn't have stepped in to ask me to join a Bible Study group-- or a chaplain at the facility wouldn't have taken the time to help me-- or a teacher wouldn't have taken the time to teach me that I was still a human being--or the psychologist who helped me find out who I was and where I was going....
I'm sorry if I sound like I'm on a soapbox but your book moved me in ways that I haven't felt in years. The thought of those lost souls housed in over-crowded gymnasiums where no one was looking for them but a few good people like the ones I met who helped me along the way. Thank you for telling your story and the stories of all of the women of Block 12.Romaine
Thank you, Romaine!
* * * * *
For more about "The Women of Block 12" visit"
* * * * *