Journey of Faith

Preparing to go Upstate

As the months in 2019, quickly ticked by I wanted to prepare myself for what was ahead when I arrived at SCI Muncy. Pennsylvania only has 2 female prisons. SCI Muncy and SCI Cambridge Springs. All females must first go to SCI Muncy for classification. A few of the ladies in county with me had been upstate previously and were willing to sit myself, Kim and Pat down to have a mini “lesson” of what to expect. I feel that being prepared and having some information going into a scary situation helps. My friend Brandi was one of those that shared what our first couple of months would be like, and it went exactly as she described. On, August 31, 2019, we were awakened by the officer that day telling us we were packing out to leave. In jail/prison it is customary to leave your stuff to your friends that are left behind. (Unless you are going to a center where you may possibly need some of your things). I gave my leftover commissary to my friends Brandi and Angie. I also left my Nike slides to Brandi. She didn’t have anything, and I knew she really needed them even when she left. I was allowed to bring my Bible, a pen, tablet and some photos. I believe that was it. The clothing we wore to court the day we were brought into jail are the same clothes we were given to wear for our trip to Muncy. We were stripped searched, then got dressed, and given a snack pack to eat. (Cereal, milk, graham crackers). We also received our meds. Last, you are handcuffed and shackled. Handcuffs on your wrists and feet, then a chain goes around your waist through a loop and locked with a pad lock. Off to the car you go. They put us in a regular SUV type car. (It was frustrating because they stopped to get Starbucks on the way for themselves which we all though was high inappropriate since they were carrying inmates). It takes about 2-2.5 hours to get to Muncy from our jail. Once you arrive, the vehicle itself has to go through a check, the county officers hand us off to the state through signing paperwork, and they wish us luck and leave. We then are seated inside the processing area to await instructions. You are basically asked a bunch of questions, get a state ID photo taken that is to be kept with you at all times, you pee in a cup, get strip searched and then issued your “blues”. You have to wear these ugly slip-on sneakers until you to get your state shoes. You have to walk from the processing building down to medical which isn’t terribly far, but when you’re out of shape and haven’t exercised, plus have asthma-it was tough. Meanwhile, a group was waiting in the chow line and started yelling “fresh meat” at us. Just like you see on tv. I kid you not! The 3 of us wanted to die right there. We were walking with a guard, and she yelled at them to shut it up. We were then processed through medical, given a lunch bag, then instructed to walk back up towards the processing building to another building to get our shoes and coat. You’re given a heavy winter coat that’s like burgundy corduroy. We called them Muncy Minks. You get a choice of 2 different shoes, either work boots or brown shoes that we called sweet potatoes. They were the color of sweet potatoes, and even kind of oddly shaped like them too. I tried the boots, and they rubbed my ankles raw, so I had to switch to the sweet potatoes. They weren’t too bad honestly. Once you get to order commissary, you are allowed to order sneakers from a selection on the list. They range from $50-$70 (Nike, New Balance, Sketchers, Reebok, Under Armor). Once we received all of our clothing, shoes, and were seen by medical, we were then sent to our housing unit. All new commits go to S unit, and you have to stay in medlocks. Basically, you are quarantined for about 5 days (pre covid) to make sure you didn’t have anything contagious. Once you’re TB test and everything cleared, they then moved you into the same unit but now you got to move around more. You officially would receive a roommate. Having a good roommate was half the battle in there. If you had someone who was good, and you got along then things were generally pretty decent. I thank the Lord that 98% of the time I loved my roommates and we got along. Until the devil himself showed up….