Journey of Faith

Here I go again on my own!

Like the song goes, “Here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known”. That’s how it started to feel after a while. I no sooner go settled into another room, with another roommate, when my phone was shut off. I knew what that meant! It meant that I was getting ready to be transferred, AGAIN! Up until this point, I had been trying to see if I could remain at SCI Muncy. It’s only 2 hours from home, and they kept telling us they were going to take us back to Phoenix that spring/summer. When the transfer came, we knew that wasn’t going to happen. The other thing was by this time it was February of 2022 and that meant that I’d start my parole process by that August. If they did plan to return folks to Phoenix, I could’ve been on the fence about returning there and messing up that process in any way. they never did open it again, and no one returned there. We heard all sorts of things about what it was being used for. Most of the opportunities in prison (at least in Pa), are for the men. There are more facilities for them, more programs, more, more, more. It’s said around the female facilities “the men stick together”, and that’s how they end up with stuff. Well, the last thing most of us want to do was create a fuss and end up being accused of “rioting”. I personally think that there needs to be someone or a committee that makes sure that certain policies, programs, etc. should be consistent across the DOC regardless of male or female. (Ugh, that’s another soapbox). The whole process of being transferred was exactly the same. It sucks every time. Then comes getting situated again, getting your mail straightened out, worrying if any books that were sent will show up. The positive thing was that we all knew that to expect now, returning to SCI Cambridge Springs. The bad part was staff and some of the other inmates that didn’t realize we went to Phoenix; thought we came back as parole violators. We all spent about a month repeating the same story about how we were in Phoenix, and it was shut down. We had to go back into a 14-day quarantine again when we arrived. I was super lucky, because I ended up with my friend Jodie. They ended up moving us after this to C unit. So again, I returned where I started. I liked being back on C unit. I liked the location of it, I liked the staff assigned to work on it, and I liked the other inmates living there as well. We actually all seemed to get along for the most part. When someone came along that caused an issue, it’s like the one officer told me, “Just be patient because they’ll end up doing something to get themselves moved soon.” He was right. Living on an open unit is a privilege. If you can’t play nice, then they are going to move you. It’s your choice whether or not that move is via the “rhu” (restricted housing unit aka the hole). They may also just decide to move you during the next round of mass moves. The one time when I ended up on the block that are only behind doors (not an open unit), the officer’s kept asking me “why I was there”. Even the one counselor pulled up my file and asked me the same thing. Luckily, it was a temporary situation until I moved to Phoenix. I figure the Lord always had a plan and it wasn’t up to me where I lived. It was his. The Lord definitely took care of me while I was incarcerated. No one can tell me otherwise. I was always where he needed me and who he needed me to be roommates with. I got along with everyone. The average age for the most part seemed to be 25-40. I got along with all of them. The young girls respected me. The ones my own age became my friends. Some will say you can’t have “friends in jail”. I find that statement to be incorrect. You just need to be selective on who you call a friend because some people will smile in your face and then stab you in the back. if someone did try to harass me for whatever reason, a lot of times the younger girls would tell the person off saying, “leave Miss Jodie alone, she doesn’t bother anyone!” This was a true statement. I didn’t bother anyone. I stayed in my room 98% of the time and if someone needed me or wanted something they called me to come out. A day would not go by that someone wasn’t looking for me or asking for me because I possessed some bit of knowledge, they wanted to pick my brain on. I was the crochet lady, I was the recipe person, I had knowledge about technology, I was very prepared for the parole process that folks wanted me to help them get ready for. One day, my one roommate came in and said that a few young ladies were looking for me. She said it was something about that I knew a lot about genres of music and who sang certain songs. She told me that she had to laugh at first because she asked them again if they had the right person. She said, are you sure you are looking for Jodie? The girl said yes, I want Miss Jodie. She’s an older lady with gray hair (it was then), and sometimes walks with a cane. My roommate was so confused when she came to get me. She said, I just learned something new about you! lol. I just got along with everyone. They also knew too that if you did cross me that I wasn’t afraid to speak up and let you know about it. This was how my nickname “Spicy Annie” was born. I think we all have our limits on how much crap we will put up with. In prison, it’s very important to let people know right away that you’re not going to be a door mat. Most of the arguments that I started while I was there either over girlfriends and someone messing with their girl, or just the lack of respect for another person. My advice to anyone who is put into this situation is not to get a girlfriend while in jail. It’s going to get you in trouble and added time. Also, just be respectful to your roommates, your space, your housing unit, areas you use and respectful to staff and others in general. Stay in your own lane. Find a person you can truly rely on and call a friend and use them to vent to when you’re frustrated. The wonderful thing is, that the Lord is always my friend. He is always ready, willing and able to listen, and he doesn’t repeat my secrets. I could NEVER have done any of this without his unconditional love and forgiveness.