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Living While Incarcerated

by Brandi Payne about a year ago in incarceration
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Considered An Animal

Up until ten years ago, I knew all about incarceration because it had been apart of my life since I was twenty-one and I will be fifty in less than two weeks. I lived a life on the streets mixed with prostitution and crack cocaine. Everyone out there has a story of their own but I can only tell you of my own experiences.

The first time I went to jail, I was twenty-one and it was because I got into a car with an undercover cop who propositioned me, and I did not have a chance to accept or decline before I was being pulled out of the car and thrown into handcuffs. The officers in that town were not gentle with females and then they found a small piece of crack cocaine in my cigarette pack and tried to get me to snitch on someone to make it disappear, but I took the charge instead.

So, I was sent to the county jail where I received three hots and a cot. I did not know too many people there and stayed pretty much to myself. Then, because I had no one to put money on my account for commissary, I found out how to hustle for commissary in jail. I had two things going for me which were drawing pictures and writing sexually explicit letters.

Some of the girls would catch me drawing pictures and then they would pay me to draw ones for them. I drew pictured calendars for the ones who would be there for a while and then I wrote letters for girls to send to their men on the outside. I had a hustle and worked it to my advantage. I was what they called a short-timer because my sentences were never that long.

Then, I found it humiliating at first to take showers out in the open with other women because I had low self-esteem about my body size and shape. Back then, I found out that I was also attracted to women, but besides that, I always compared their bodies to mine.

The nights in jail were not without drama and sexual activity going on. We all slept in a dorm which was this big room where we could see each other and at night you could see girls moving around and visiting other girls in their beds. It was not anything to anyone to hear girls having sex while the ones around them slept. I guess it was a natural thing to do.

I have been to many different jails over the course of my life and the food that was served to us had its ups and downs. Some jails would feed you tasty food while others served green bologna and meat surprise because you could not tell what it was. I am a big girl and need food to maintain, so I usually got the trays that other girls who seemed anorexic did not want. I ate surprisingly well but exercised as well to keep from putting on too much weight.

During the day, most girls would sleep while others sat quietly at tables writing letters or talking in small groups. I sat and drew pictures, wrote letters for my hustle, or went out in the yard for rec time where everyone pretty much walked around the area for exercise. Most of the girls gained weight and left jail healthy while I left with only a few extra pounds.

It has been a long ten years of not being arrested for stupid things that I should have known better, but life goes on and it does have a greener side. I still empathize with those who are still left behind in jail and out in the streets, but one day they will wake up and say “No more”.


About the author

Brandi Payne

I'm a forty-eight-year-old woman who became a published author back in 2016. I write fiction and nonfiction in many different genre. I love to write and tell stories to the world and hope that everyone enjoys them.

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