Jessica Kent shares her experience
Unfortunately, Jessica Kent’s life got on the wrong track at a very early age. She became addicted to drugs, later traded drugs herself and was imprisoned for one year – at the age of 17. After serving her sentence, Jessica broke parole by acquiring drugs and even a gun.
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When that was discovered, she had to go back to prison, where she was held for several years this time. She was released in 2014. The former prison inmate is now 31 years old, married, has two children and even a college degree. She started several social media accounts and a YouTube channel on which she reports on her difficult time. Here are ten interesting aspects of her life in prison: myths, questions, and experiences.
1. How does the first day in prison feel?
“It’s really exhausting. In general, one is taken to jail by bus. The drive usually takes a long time because the prisons are somewhere in the pampas. There are no snacks and the bus doesn’t stop if you need to go to the bathroom. When you arrive in prison, you have to take off all your clothes. You are completely naked and showered with delousing shampoo that you can smell three days later. You have to crouch and cough to make sure you don’t smuggle anything into jail. This is really horrible, traumatizing and humiliating. Then you sit there naked while you are photographed or noted which tattoos you are wearing. The question arises of who should be notified in the event of death, and one must disclose one’s medical history. After the psychiatrist asks you how you are feeling today, you think, ‘I beg your pardon ?!’ After all, after this traumatic event, you look like half a corpse. At the end you will be assigned a place to sleep. “
2. What do inmates do all day long?
“Well, you have to work. You can’t just stay in bed and relax. Everyone has to go to their work. Exceptions are only made in the case of disabilities or if you are physically unable to do so. For example, many elderly inmates cannot stand in the laundry for twelve hours a day. After dinner you return to your block and do whatever you want. Prepare a meal, write a letter, hang out with people. Things like that. “
3. Are inmates handcuffed to bed during medical treatment?
“That’s a really good question. Yes, you are tied to the bed one hundred percent. For example, I had my first child in prison. That was the most traumatic experience of my life. And as soon as my daughter was born, my legs were tied to the bed again. Holding my healthy newborn baby while I was chained burned into my memory forever. That’s why I completely changed my life. After I was released from prison, I worked for a year to get custody back. “
4. What kind of meat is served?
“In the last prison I was held in, there was something called ‘meat floss’. I feel sick just thinking about it. That was not a nickname for the inmates, but the official name. Imagine a strange ball of meat of unknown origin that was hard and smelled bad. Sometimes I found fibers or something in it. In addition, cold beans were served straight from the can, as well as corn bread. At least that’s what it was said. On those days I was starving. “
5. Do guards and inmates have a relationship?
“In short: yes. Those who sit in prison for a long time get lonely. You stay human and long for closeness. And that definitely happens to correctional officers. I saw it, and so did most of the inmates. It starts very small, with a look or a smile when you walk past someone and touch them. Nevertheless, it is forbidden and anyone who is caught goes to court – regardless of whether you are a prison guard or a prison officer. “
6. How do you sleep in prison?
“Well, there are two types of accommodation. Either you spend the night in a dormitory with 50 bunk beds or in a narrow room that you share with one or two cellmates. Having to stay in the dormitory was very tough. Presumably my post-traumatic stress disorder developed there. I was always nervous and stayed awake until most of the others fell asleep. Only then could I relax and fall asleep. “
7. Do you really need money in prison or is it just used to buy luxury items?
“You need money. It’s not just for special amenities. It is also needed for basic products such as hair shampoo, hair care or razors. If you want hygiene products or toothpaste that is not an adhesive, you have to get money. Namely, the paste that comes out is terrible. You also have to pay for stamps, paper and envelopes. This also includes extra food, because you don’t get much when you buy food and you usually go hungry. “
8. Is there a hierarchy among the inmates? Who has the greatest respect?
“First of all I have to say: I didn’t make it up, it’s just the way it is. So who is at the top, who has the greatest respect? These are the lifelong, the murderers. In second place after the murderers are the drug dealers. They too enjoy a lot of respect. Then come thieves and robbers. At the bottom are the child molesters. People who abuse minors or women. “
9. Is it allowed to have an abortion in prison?
“In my personal experience: no. That wasn’t an option for me. I didn’t intend to have an abortion, but that’s the way it is. Women in prison cannot make such decisions, especially not in the southern states. People just don’t care what you want. It was three months before I got prenatal vitamins. Being pregnant in prison is an absolute nightmare. “
10. How much attention is paid to hygiene?
“The worst thing about the prison was that the correctional officers paid little attention to the inmates’ basic hygiene and health needs. This also applied to menstruation when women bleed heavily. Then it sometimes took hours to get clean clothes. But not always: If the stain wasn’t big enough, there weren’t any new clothes. “
A hard fate! Fortunately, Jessica was able to change her life for the better after this hell and now leads a happy life with her family. If you are interested in this topic and similar stories, you will find further interesting galleries and articles under this paragraph:
Thumbnail: © Instagram / jesken12