Life In Prison

Missing Lake Powell

Favorite Place on Earth … Lake Powell

The last 2 weeks have been challenging for me. Chad and the kids went to Lake Powell with some incredible friends of ours and although I am extremely grateful they went, I really missed being with them and being able to communicate with them.

powell2Lake Powell is one of my favorite places on earth and haven’t enjoyed it with my family in many years.  Things were going well until an inmate got a hold of a printed copy of my blog.

Many of the women here know that I write a blog and have come to me with hopes of sharing their stories with the outside world.

Within 24 hours of reading the printed copies she had spread the rumor that I am an undercover agent with the DEA. I noticed people looking at me funny and acting awkward towards me but it wasn’t until Orianna came to me that I knew what was going on.

I have dealt with my  share of rumors in life but haven’t been in a situation where my safety was at risk. It didn’t help that Chad was out of service, he is usually my voice of reason but Orianna told me to ignore the buzz and see if anyone would have the courage to address it with me. I thought about talking to an officer but decided that would have made things exponentially worse because I would be put in segregation in protective custody and be back in general population within a few weeks and labeled as a snitch.

Orianna is well respected here and she let people know I wasn’t to be touched. I prayed a lot and carried my Book of Mormon with me.  A few days ago one of the women I tutor in the GED program  brought it up. She hasn’t had much opportunity in this life and chances are  I would never met her in the outside world. She said, ” Portia, you are one of the nicest people I know, you are kind to me and help me read when most people get frustrated with me.  I don’t care what you were involved in out there, but I can promise you no one will bother you in here.”   It was touching to have her reach out to me.  Everything has seemed pass without incident, but it was a little nerve racking.  It’s good to have friends in all the right places:)

Chad and the kids got home the end of last week and yesterday he had to go before Judge Shelby to be sentenced. I was a wreck  all day!  Yesterday morning I was called to medical, I took my trusted Book of Mormon to read:)   A sweet young girl about 19 years old was  sitting next to me and said, ” Mosiah is my favorite.” I looked at her and asked if she was Mormon.

She told me that she was raised Mormon but had gone inactive years ago. She is here for transporting an illegal.  I asked her how her roommates were treating her and was upset to find out she is dealing with some of the usual problems people face here.

Her roommates make her leave the room often so that they can be intimate. I asked if she had shoes or deodorant and she said no so I ran back to my unit and got her some. I told her that I wanted to help her and she thanked me and said she wanted to come to church service this Sunday, very cool experience.  She is such a sweet innocent thing and I’m so glad that I ran into her.

As the hours wore on yesterday and I knew that Chad was alone in the courtroom, listening to the prosecutor tell her story (and it is a story he’s never talked to them) I became sick to my stomach.  He decided to go alone because every time we’ve been to the Federal Courthouse it’s been a cold, dark experience really void of light.  We saw a man carried out of the courthouse dead that the marshalls had shot multiple times in the chest and it was so traumatic to have our friends and family in the courtroom when I was sentenced. I finally couldn’t take it any longer when Courtney came up and asked if I was okay.

I started to cry and she wrapped her arms around me and told me she loved me and would pray for me. I called our kids and Chad several times throughout the day without success.  When he finally picked up the phone it was early evening and he informed me that he was sentenced to home confinement and probation but won’t have to serve any time in prison. I was so overcome with emotion that I couldn’t hold back the tears! I kept praying, “Father please protect our children. Have mercy on our family, Chad is too good of a person to ever go to prison.” I couldn’t imagine the whole time I am in prison having to worry about sending him to prison when I am done. How would that affect our children?  What good could come from that? I was grateful for the news but have felt exhausted from the stress.

On a more positive note something really cool happened today.  When I got back from work a new girl was brought into our unit.  I was tired so I went to my room and didn’t have a chance to meet her.  After count,  another girl came to me and said, “Portia, the new girl’s name is B and she knows  you from your blog.”  I couldn’t help but wonder what my comrades had told her already and I went over to talk to her.   I learned that she is from Georgia and has 8 children and that her husband brought her here today. The poor woman left a 2 month old baby behind with her oldest daughter and she teared up as she told me her situation that is so similar to mine.  She said, “I went into shock when the judge said 44 months. I thought, he must not know that I have 8 children that need me.”  She told me of the all too familiar pain that she went through and that when she found out she was coming to FOCI Dublin she Googled it and found my story online. She told me that she read it from start to finish and she felt so much peace and comfort.  “I couldn’t believe that it was you when I walked in the unit.”   She told me that she saw my name on my shirt and that she recognized me. I felt such a wonderful spirit as I talked with her and she noticed it too and said that each time she read my blog she felt that spirit.

What an amazing Father in Heaven we have! He is mindful of every needful thing and truly cares about the details of our lives. She told me how amazing her family is and I told her we have that in common:) I haven’t written on my bog for a couple weeks now and wasn’t sure if I should continue but when I talked with B I knew for sure I need to keep writing. She told me it was a blessing to her and her family to read our story. Thank you all for following along and sharing this journey with us.

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