This week’s show is a practical and real look at women in prison. Denise Krochta’s guest is a woman who has served time in both the local jail system and in the prison system. Her story is not uncommon. She is Tammy Gagnon, author of No Longer Silent. Is prison like it is on TV? Tammy tells all, baring her soul and sharing how she ended up doing time…time and time again.
Denise starts off the episode with a few statistics: “There were only 5,600 women in prison at the beginning of 1970. [By 1980 there were still fewer than 12,500 women in State and Federal prisons. But over the course of the next two decades that number rose to the current total of 167,000 women.] Including those on probation and parole, almost 1 million women are currently under the control of the criminal justice system in the United States.” Is someone you know part of that statistic? Tammy Gagnon was.
“As my drug use and alcohol use excelled, what landed me in prison was actually alcohol related,” says Tammy, who was incarcerated for 10 years for habitually drinking and driving.
Fleeing a childhood of incest and horrors, Tammy ended up on the streets, taking drugs to numb the pain and forget her troubled life. Suffering further abuse and multiple rapes, Tammy’s nightmare was far from over. And when the drugs and alcohol finally wore off, she was left with more pain and more questions than when she fled: “Why didn’t I tell? Why me? Why can’t I cry? What’s wrong with me?!”
Tammy discusses the helpfulness of halfway houses in reintegrating prisoners to society and her experience with halfway house mandated AA meetings. She then delves into what being in prison was really like: “It was just very scary.” Tammy tells, in detail, what it’s like to walk into a prison–the booking, the testing, and being led to your cell. She also compares her prison experience to her experiences in county jails.
Is one of your friends or family members headed down this path? Or you yourself? Learn from Tammy Gagnon’s experience and get out now!