By Deaira Pitts
I’ve been incarcerated for about six years, doing time in a Texas prison. I’ve seen so much. I’ve witnessed inmates getting the sh** beat out of them for trying to get help for various reasons, to deaths being covered up because inmates get refused proper medical attention and water.
It’s now Sept. 2023, I now reside in the Lane Murray unit. During our system-wide lockdown and comprehensive search (contraband lockdown), several inmates, including myself, were denied access to the shower more than two to three days in a row. I still have yet to understand what our showers have to do with a lockdown, And as women, I feel we shouldn’t be denied showers. We have our menstrual cycle, a natural discharge (to say the least), and there are elderly inmates here who wear diapers. That is like having a baby wear a pamper all day and changing the diaper without giving the baby a bath. That is inhumane.
For the past year, brutal beatings (men beating women) getting covered up, falsely accused cases, and harassment caused people to lose their parole/freedom. Additionally, unreasonable living habits cause inmates to live in fear. Every day it’s as if women have to live in this illusion in order to protect themselves instead of fighting for their rights. Living in this state of fear dulls our state of enlightenment and detracts us from what really needs to be accomplished. Anyone who does speak up is considered irate or a mad woman.
No one wants to voice or draw attention to medical malpractice or the fact that we don’t receive enough feminine products to properly care for ourselves. The ones that can afford to make store (commissary) purchases refuse to pay $20 for tampons as the price for a plastic applicator. This can make even the most confident woman self-conscious. You can’t expect a woman (or man) to evolve in a system that emotionally and physically beats them down. The system has penetrated us with fear due to harassment and retaliation, forcing us to keep the secret within the walls while we suffer during a time when we should be rehabilitating. Humiliation won’t ignite true growth.
Do we need pressure? Yes, of course! We need the exact amount of pressure that motivates us but doesn’t paralyze us.