Mother Interview 3

Antioch College


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00:00:29 - Introduction

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Segment Synopsis: The interviewee shares that she is 32 years old, white, born in Michigan and raised in Tennessee, and she was visiting Ohio upon her incarceration. Her son is 12 years old and was 9 when she was incarcerated, her daughter was 3 months old. She has been incarcerated for 4 years.

Subjects: Dayton Correctional Institute; Incarceration; Motherhood; Women's Prison

00:01:38 - Background

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Segment Synopsis: The interviewee shares a little bit about what she does inside the prison. She shares that she writes poetry and that she is a part of Dayton Correctional Institute's dog program where they train service dogs. She helps train the dogs, but does not have one of her own right now. The interviewee shares that she likes to stay busy and attend as many groups as possible.

Keywords: DCI Dog Program; Poetry

Subjects: DCI; Incarceration; Motherhood

00:03:56 - Mother-Child Relationships

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Partial Transcript: "Can you describe your relationship that you have with your children, and what it's like for you and them ... since you've been incarcerated?"

Segment Synopsis: The interviewee recalls that when she was in county awaiting to go to prison her son had turned nine. She shares that sometimes he wants to talk, and other times he doesn't. She shares that he is a very busy kid. The interviewee shares that she and her son have a very close relationship. She shares that she apologized to him once but that he finds it very awkward and will change the subject. The interviewee shares that she has not seen her daughter, who was a baby at the time, since her incarceration. She has seen pictures and they have spoken on the phone. The interviewee shares that her son is in Tennessee with her in-laws, not his biological in-laws, and they will be adopting him. Her daughter is in Ohio with her daughters father's aunt, who has guardianship of her. Her daughter's father is currently working on getting custody. The interviewee talks to her daughter's father a couple of times per week and they email a lot. The interviewee does not have a JPay, so she send email through a kiosk in the prison. A JPay is a tablet like device distributed within prisons that allows restricted access to certain email addresses, games and music. Incarcerated individuals must purchase a JPay, as they are not provided by the prison. To send emails, both through JPay or through a kiosk, you have to use stamps, which also cost money. It is one stamp per email, and $4.50 for 20 stamps. Incarcerated individuals only have to pay for outgoing emails.

Keywords: Email; JPay; Prison Kiosk

Subjects: Incarceration; Motherhood

00:05:55 - Keeping In Touch and Talking about Incarceration with Children

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Partial Transcript: "How old is your daughter now?"
"Have you seen him [her son] since you were here?"

Segment Synopsis: The interview shares that her daughter is three years old, and that she is still learning how to talk on the phone. Her son and her daughter both have birthdays that are less then a week apart from each other and they are almost exactly ten years apart. The interviewee shares that her son has visited her three times since she has been at Dayton Correctional Institution. The interview shares that at first her son really didn't understand why she was where she was, but that she and her ex-in-law have always been honest at explaining to him. She shares that now he understands why, but when it's brought up he changes the subject. She shares that he wants to be emotional about it, but he wants her there with him. The interviewee shares that this is her first time being incarcerated. She shares that she was arrested once before, but was not sent to prison.

Subjects: DCI; Dayton Correctional Institution; Incarceration; time

00:08:47 - Not Feeling Like a Mom

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Partial Transcript: "How has being incarcerated changed your perspective, or your experience of being a mom?"

Segment Synopsis: The interviewee shares that her incarceration makes her feel like she's "not a mom at all, really," and that it makes her feel that she's made one of the biggest mistake a person can make, that is getting in trouble and losses your child. She shares that it just kind of takes your motherhood away. The interviewee also states that she made the decisions to get where she's at. The interviewee shares that while her son is in a safe place, she worries about her daughter. She also shares that her daughter was so young upon her incarceration that she doesn't know who she is. The interviewee shares that she desires for her daughter to be in the same place as her son. Her son has only met her daughter once, she shares. The interviewee shares that letters, emails, phone calls are not "it," in reference to motherhood. The interviewee shares that being a mother is being there to talk to in person, a shoulder to put you head on, someone to comfort you, someone to tickle and laugh with you. The interviewee shares that her son and her used to listen to music and dance together, and that he know plays acoustic country guitar. She shares that she is proud of him. She elaborates on what it means to be a mother, that being a mother entails packing lunch and their backpack, and being their for the first tooth, first steps and birthdays. The interviewee shares that as long as she is incarcerated, she is no longer a mother.

00:11:12 - Confusing Sentence Structure

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Partial Transcript: "Do you know when you're going to get out?"

Segment Synopsis: The interviewee shares that she has a 14 year sentence, but that she has just learned one of her sentences runs concurrently and one runs consecutively. This means she would only have to do 11 years, but none of her time is technically "mandatory," she is unsure whether or not she can file for a judicial. She shares that to file a judicial, she has to do at least five and half years of her sentence. She shares that she has already been down for three years. She is waiting on a journal entry of hers that is serving as evidence in the court that will be determined by a judge whether or not she qualifies for early release at all. The interviewee shares that her son asks her frequently when she is getting out. She plans to go to Tennessee when she gets out. She shares that her daughter's father wants her to move with him when she gets out. She shares that he is working to save money at the moment, and that he really needs to be focused on getting their daughter.

00:12:35 - Barriers and Not Feeling Like a Mom

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Segment Synopsis: The interviewee shares that she feels like everyone is out there doing her job. She says that being a mother is not so much a job, but a privilege. She says that people out there doing her job feels like a barrier. She shares that she is very numb to the emotion of it and that she does not want to cope with the emotion of it. She shares that she has found her self trying to staying on things like thorazine, haldol or other drugs that make her feel sedated to where she doesn't feel emotion. She says she does this because she does not want to feel what it's like to not be a mom any more. She shares that she has not cried in a very long time.

Subjects: Incarceration; Motherhood

00:14:36 - Inadequate Support Services in the Prison

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Partial Transcript: "I'm wondering if you feel like there's adequate resources her for you, as in mental health, or having people to talk to about this pain that your experience, and this barrier that your experiencing and your view of yourself... your identity and supporting you in your identity as a mother?"

Segment Synopsis: The interviewee says she doesn't feel like there's adequate support "in any way, shape or form for anybody in this institution that needs support as a mom or to be a mom." She shares the the prison does not help with communication, they do not help with talking to you, or counseling you while your incarcerated. She shares that there's not support. The interviewee shares that she would love counseling.

00:17:59 - More Counseling and Groups at DCI

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Partial Transcript: "[How could] the system, the place, the people, DCI... better support you as a mother?"

Segment Synopsis: The interviewee shares that there should be counseling services focused on motherhood, and that there should also be groups that act as outreach similar to NA and AA. The interviewer shares with the interviewee that there is a mom-mentoring program run by other moms at the prison that she might be able to join. The interviewee shares that the kiosk machine in the prison has video-visitation. She does not really use this though, because her daughters caretaker is not very tech savvy, and there's a toddler running around with the tablet all the time. The interviewee shares that her son is often to busy to keep in touch via technology.

00:22:49 - Final Thoughts, Stories, Advice

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Segment Synopsis: The interviewee shares that kids are very smart, she did not have to tell her son that she was incarcerated because of drugs for him to know. She shares that her son has stated many time that he "hates drugs," and that he wishes they didn't exist. She shares that his sentiment is sweet to her. She shares that she would like her daughter to know that she loves her and she cannot wait to meet her and get to know her. She shares that if she does get to file her judicial, her daughter will only be five and her son only 14. She shares that she would rather that then 7 and 16. She shares that she would like to get custody of her daughter and take her to Tennessee, but that she also would never want to take her daughter away from the people she loves and that love her. The interviewee shares that recently her son's father recently got out of prison after 8 years and only saw each other once. They recently found out that he got arrested again and is facing 30 years. She shares that she want her son to know that that's not going to be her. She shares that she wants her family to know that she can't wait to be free and she's working on "me" as much as she can while she's inside. She shares that she is doing the best she can to be a better mom and a better person with the resources she has. She shares that she is on a waiting list to be a part of a recovery program that will last 6 weeks to a year. She is working on "me."

Subjects: Incarceration; Motherhood