Audra, 53

Audra, 53

Audra, 53

Meet Audra…

My mistakes and crimes do not define me, my hurt no longer controls me.

Audra, 53
Incarcerated: 13 years
Housed: Central California Women’s Facility, Chowchilla

In my childhood dreams, I wanted to be a police officer so bad, in order to help people. Then with his dirty touch my dreams become nightmares. These things were seen but not seen, heard but not heard. As a young girl my soul was broken. My dreams and trust were consumed by fear, so my voice was no more. Anger and hate replaced my innocence. My granny tried, she cried, and prayed to my uncles to protect me, but the damage was done. I trusted no one, so I ran straight to her arms. I was seeking a mother figure or friend, but found my lover instead. Too young to understand, I was used, fooled by the pretty red painted dirty hands. I ran into many dead ends, then drugs came in. It was pure hell as a young girl. The money grind became my life, I was a hustler by nature, so fast, it kept me blinded.

For my lifestyle, my children paid the price, life in prison, twice. In here, the lion’s den, I began my destructive cycle, running, gaming and manipulating, only to pretend we were family and friends, just to fit in. As a young, broken, lost and damaged mother, how was I to provide from behind bars? It was just so hard, so now that is granny’s job. My soul had long ago died, 25 to life could break the broken. I thought I was too far gone to be helped, my hustle was grand, it could buy my freedom, but it couldn’t fix the pain. When death seemed like the win, I succumbed to seventy five Tylenol codines, chasing my end, to the peace I wanted more than anything. I heard the chaplain say, “Seek and ye shall find, He is the way, the truth and the light.”  So I gave God a try, and I put up a great fight. I lost, He won and a relationship began. I was blinded but now I see, lost but now I’m found, broken but now I’m healed. Once there was no hope, but today I am full of hope. My life is now enriched because of his grace and mercy. His love within me is never ending. My mistakes and crimes do not define me, my hurt no longer controls me. Though I was judged by man, I was saved by grace. The world sees me as nothing, but I know I’m a bride of Christ, heir to the most high.

Ahesha, 40

Meet Ahesha…

 I had to learn to love myself to become the mother I am today. It is a real cold feeling sitting in this 4’ x 5’ room with all my thoughts.

Ahesha, 40
Incarcerated: 6 months
Housed: Gloria McDonald Women’s Facility, Cranston, Rhode Island

I’m not defined by my crime. I’m a beautiful mother of 10. I have learned I can prosper in the worst conditions. I had to learn to love myself to become the mother I am today. It is a real cold feeling sitting in this 4’ x 5’ room with all my thoughts. Time has helped me process my bad feelings and the pain I’ve been putting my mother and kids through. Now I have graduated from all the bad things I have done. I’m trying to work on my bachelors degree. I know when I am released in 18 months that I’ve put my loved ones through a lot of pain. When I was standing in front of the judge and he gave me 18 months and said,  I am sorry it had to go this way but it’s for the best, it made me feel alone, like nobody cared, it made my little heart hurt. I was afraid of what I might go through when I started my sentence. I really didn’t know how I was going to feel without my mother, who is really sick with only one leg. And without my children, who are being taken care of by friends and family. My kids are 25, 24, 20, 18, 14, 13, 11, 9, 7 and 5 and I know they wonder why I’m not there to take care of them, like only I know how. When I look at my childrens pictures, they are my motivation to stay strong, to stay happy and to stay stress free without crying. I won’t say to my mother how I should have done this and done that. I’m reminded daily of the bad things I did to get this sentence. Yet, I am motivated by all the good things I’m going to do with my bachelors degree and be there for my kids. I want my kids to be so happy and proud of me. I really want them to know that I have achieved my goals and they can achieve theirs. I’ll be a free woman ready to do the right thing. I will never forget there is hope, faith and purpose! I have the power to change and I am determined to keep bad people away from me. I have learned a lot of new things because knowledge is my liberation. 

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