My Testimony


When I found out that I was found guilty and remanded into custody immediately my only choice was to ask God for his protection. I was handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom downstairs to what was called central booking. When you get there you’re put into a holding cell with several other people (females only in my case). There’s 2 long wooden benches, the typical jail toilet/sink combo you see on tv and nothing else. There appeared to be blood on the floor and the toilet hadn’t been cleaned maybe ever. There was no TP or maybe a few slivers. The staff was actually pretty decent to us. I was in holding with only one other female. We struck up a conversation and I knew God had us together there for a reason. Remember in the Wizard of Oz how Scarecrow helped Dorothy? Well Katelyn became my scarecrow. We were in holding from 4 pm until approximately 11pm. They make one trip to county jail with all inmates male and female. You’re in a van with a divider between. You can’t see each other but you can talk. While waiting we were offered a pbj uncrustable and small iced tea. They even offered us blankets but upon receipt they looked more like oversized shammys you clean a car with and felt like sand paper. I still accepted it and used it as a pillow. After trying to get comfortable from sitting for several hours, you actually feel relieved when you’re transported to the actual jail. I continually prayed,”Heavenly Father you are my rock my shield and protector. Please continue to watch over my and keep me safe”. When we finally arrived We’re all separated by gender, so scarecrow and I stayed together and were put into another holding area for processing. We were given our bed rolls, towels, wash clothes, toiletries and snack packs. I almost had a heart attack because I noticed all the toiletries said MAXIMUM SECURITY. I look at my new friend for an explanation and after chuckling she said that’s the brand! You’ll probably be going with me to minimum security in B dorm. Phew!!! We’re exhausted by this point and an officer appears to ask if we received our ice cream. I’m thinking ice cream? I almost perked up a bit. So did my friend. Here we were sleep deprived and they were looking for eye scans from us. I wouldn’t see ice cream by the way until I went upstate. So after the waiting and false hope of a yummy treat we’re finally taken to our dorm. I was actually grateful to see a bed. No irony but it was next to my friend I had made. I half heartedly made my bed trying to not wake already sleeping inmates. I lay down and look up and started to cry. There on the bunk above me was a cross. I knew right then God was already there waiting to protect me. The Bible tells us 365 times DO NOT BE AFRAID. I knew God had a purpose for all of this. I just needed to wait for his timing to find it out. I hope that my story will be an inspiration to those who need it. I hope it also gives you a different perspective on things in your own life. This is my journey of faith

Good Morning Jodie

After getting a few winks of sleep, I hear a voice at the bottom of my bed. “Jodie, hi my name is xxxx and I’m a friend of your sister Pam”. I remember the feeling immediately that I really was going to be ok. She wanted to introduce herself and to check on me. When you come into B dorm you’re in classification. This is to access your needs, see how you adapt and mainly to wait until your TB test and other medical tests come back. If your a frequent flyer they tend to move you pretty quickly to general housing. I stayed there about 2 weeks. That morning everyone starts getting up and checking out who rolled in during the night. We get breakfast and meds, showers anytime except for certain times of the day due to other things going on. There’s day room time where everyone can get to know each other. There’s a tv and normally it’s turned to the news. Well my mug shows up on the tv during breakfast. Thanks local news network. You almost got my butt kicked. Except my scarecrow stepped in to explain there wasn’t anything to worry about and that what was being told wasn’t exactly what occurred. Remember we spent hours getting to know each other. Instead most of the ladies took it upon themselves to make sure I knew how to “jail”. First was making my bed. Like Miss Chambers says “if it ain’t tight it ain’t right”. You’re given 2 flat sheets that were once white once upon a time. You use one as your fitted sheet. You lay it out and then they get tied underneath the mattress. If you can you also tie it in the middle underneath the mattress. This holds it in place. Then your other sheet goes on top and that gets tied under the mattress by your feet. Your blanket you can tuck all the way around or tie that too by your feet. When your done it should resemble a military bunk. Next I received tips on how they barter and trade. This is extremely important for several reasons. There’s no money in jail so anything you have or any skill you possess becomes a bartering tool. Your skill will be your hustle. If you can braid hair, thread eyebrows, draw, etc. you have a hustle. Lending and borrowing isn’t technically allowed in jail but it’s a survival tool that’s unfortunately necessary. Lending or borrowing from the wrong person could get you seriously hurt or in the hole. Know who you can barter with and be willing to say eff it if it doesn’t pan out. It’s not worth the argument. Move on and don’t trade with them again. It’s that simple. Most people are good about it because it’s that important. You want to be a trusted trader. One lady Jackie taught me the “prices” of trades so I wouldn’t get ripped off. In county people even trade tray food but upstate that’s not as much of a thing. People don’t want to pay for what’s free. In county resources are more scarce so it’s more desired. After spending about 2 weeks in classification and learning not only from staff what I needed to know and how to keep myself from breaking rules I was transferred to G dorm. there’s one thing about jail I can never quite describe is the smell. As I approached the doors to be let in to the gymnasium turned inmate housing known as G dorm the smell came then the noise. It’s a smell that’s like a barn mixed with sweat and dirty socks. Yet not pungent enough to make you gag. The noise buffered between a very loud hum of people talking all at once to an occasional shout from an officer or inmate. There’s a total of 98 beds or 49 bunks that line the entire back of the gym. The front is separated by tables for eating our meals and day room activities. The bathroom is divided into one side of 10 showers (no curtains only half walls) and the other side with 10 toilets also no doors only a half wall on each side. There’s 3 large trough like sinks with several faucets. This is where you not only wash your hands and brush your teeth but obtain hot water for coffee or cold for a drink. While all this sounds degrading, it’s reminiscent of high school showers. You go in do what you need to do and get out! I was placed in the back of the gym, I’m placed in a corner in bunk 28. For 6 months I was known as 28 or 228022. My inmate #. It was quite awhile until I actually heard my name and I almost cried. I remember it was an officer that worked mornings. She was one of my favorite staff members. Katelyn was put in the front. We didn’t speak a lot after our transfer because she knew others and I too acquired my own group of friends. She found out soon after she was pregnant and slept most of the day. I came to find out many frequent flyers sleep all day. I couldn’t do that. The first night in G dorm it was bedtime and the shift changed to 3rd shift. A staff member came by, stopped at my bunk and said, “Heah I know your friend Dawn. She asked me to check on you”. Ha’. Lord you are amazing. Each place I went he was already there, I really had a great group of people in my little corner of g dorm. I actually had some great laughs but I also had some tears. During this time I was struggling with whether or not to file an appeal. I’d never been in trouble before and wasn’t excited about going upstate either. I had been threatened by the DA if I applied for an appeal and lost he’d ask for more time. My family was leaving the decision to me but supportive either way. A friend found a lawyer in Philadelphia who had experience in appeals and assured Steve that so much was wrong with my case they didn’t see how I could lose. The decision wasn’t made lightly because just my transcripts alone cost us $5000. I prayed about it and decided to move forward. I wasn’t going to go upstate while my appeal was in the works. I even at one point changed my mind because I realized how much I’d not only be putting the families through all of this again but also my own family. I was told it was too late the paperwork was filed. My lawyer filed a motion to have me bonded out until a decision was made for the appeal. That meant I could be home for about 2 years. That was important considering my sentence was 2.5-5 years. The hearing for that decision wasn’t until the beginning of the next year. I figured I might as well get comfortable. It was going to be awhile. I started doing Bible studies on my own and after awhile some of the girls would ask if they could join me. That’s when God revealed his next verse to me. Genesis 50:20 says You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. I knew then what God’s purpose was for me while I was there.

The next 6 months

This all started in August of 2017. I won’t have a court hearing until February 2018 regarding my possible release while awaiting my appeal. I was a model inmate that never caused problems. This earned me the chance to become a detail worker. I was offered the job to work in the regular and law libraries. I no longer wore orange, but was given a hunter green outfit instead to indicate I was a trusted inmate. I liked working in the library. It got me out of the dorm and I got to know other ladies from other dorms. The county jail I was in was also an INS holding facility. The ladies awaiting possible deportation would come once or twice a week to work on paperwork for their asylum status. I also then got to know some of the ladies in medium and maximum security holding. One lady in particular came one day and asked if I could help her with some legal research she needed to do. I was not a lawyer nor was I giving anyone legal advice. I was helping navigate the computer programs and where to look. Also making sure everything was being done according to the rules. This lady told me that she was there on murder charges. My heart fell to my feet. I didn’t know if I should be afraid for myself or what. Well let me tell you something. Miss Barb and I became friends. She would only come on days I worked. She even told the staff I was the only person who knew what was what in there. Her and I would pray every time before we’d start and close in prayer when we were finished. I think we spent as much time praising the Lord as we did research. She knew I was awaiting my court date too. When we were finished and needed to go back to our dorms we’d need an escort because the jail is men and women. To be safe the ladies required a staff escort from max to G dorm or areas beyond there, one day a staff member asks me,”is Pam your sister”? I responded yes, how did you know that? He said told me how he knew. It became very clear that God made sure his angels were everywhere. Over these couple of months I spent my time going to Bible studies, church, working in the library or just spending time with people that grew to be friends. During this time I saw at least 5 ladies give their lives to the Lord. that I had witnessed to. Miss Barb and I spent days combing through her legal work. She by the way ended up having her conviction thrown out. Glory to God!!! The end of February 2018 I went to court and was granted release on bail until the decision for my appeal. Thank you Lord for your mercy. I left that evening excited but also aware I still had a burden hanging over me. I knew the possibility of finding work with this in the balance was an uphill climb. I decided to start my own consulting business where I put my transferable skills to work. I landed 3 customers and was able to stay busy and pay the bills. I got involved in the depression support group at church and attended pretty regularly. I knew God still had a purpose for me but I was still waiting for his timing. I stayed focused and completed my court requirements, paid my fines, and just focused on my family, work and the Lord. Not always in that order. I started this website during that time because I knew God had a purpose for me to witness to others. This was a way for me to do that. I continued my education to learn new things for my business and to enhance my skills. I was also fighting with feelings of regret, depression and anger at myself, the system and for allowing what happened to get to the point that it did. I made a mistake. I should’ve never purchased the alcohol two months prior to the accident. I should’ve never allowed them to stay that day in June 2015, and believe they were going to football camp. Never in a million years would I have thought they’d lie to us and their parents that they had football or work but instead waited until we left for work to then drink alcohol we purchased on a trip two days before. Unopened and sealed on the counter still with our vacation souvenirs. I don’t want to go into details beyond this. My posts aren’t to rehash the legalities and open wounds. My intent is to tell you how I didn’t fall from Grace but I fell into Grace. God allows things sometimes to bring us closer to him. He didn’t cause this to happen. He did however use it to put me back on the path he set for me long ago.