[Pnews] Voices from Solitary: “I Am Somebody’s Daughter”

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Feb 26 11:21:22 EST 2015

*Voices from Solitary: “I Am Somebody’s Daughter”*

February 24, 2015

The following account is by Nicole Natschke, who is currently held in 
the segregation unit at Illinois’s Logan Correctional Facility, about 
three hours south of Chicago. Logan was repurposed from a men’s prison 
to imprison women from the shuttered Dwight and Lincoln Correctional 
Centers. The prison, which has a rated capacity of 1,106, currently 
holds 1,950 people. A December 2014 report by the John Howard 
Association described the dismal conditions at the “overcrowded [and] 
underresourced” prison.

Natschke was originally scheduled to be released in December 2014 after 
14 months in prison, but her segregation sentence extended her time in 
prison. Shortly after her arrival in segregation, a woman in the 
adjoining cell committed suicide. Her account, titled “Solitary 
Confinement Is Torture,” shows that even a few weeks or months in 
solitary confinement can have dire consequences on people’s physical and 
mental well-being. Nicole Natschke turned twenty-one while behind bars, 
and will celebrate her twenty-second birthday in solitary this year. She 
can receive letters at the following address: Nicole Natschke, R88949, 
Logan Correctional Center, PO Box 1000, Lincoln, IL 62656.—Victoria Law


My name is Nicole Natschke. I am currently housed in segregation at 
Logan Correctional Facility in Illinois. Here at this fine institution, 
we are locked down 24 hours a day. We shower every four days maybe. If 
we act up, they sometimes refuse to shower you, although that’s against 
regulations. I’ve gone 12 days without a shower. Now that we have a new 
warden, the rules have changed. Before she started working here, for 
example, you would not be segregated for an unauthorized movement. Now, 
you must do two months in this miserable place. You would think 
segregation is supposed to be for violent offenders? No, now everyone 
comes to segregation. My cellmate, Gina, was feeling homicidal and asked 
for a mental health evaluation. Instead, they threw her in segregation 
and said she refused housing. When you refuse housing, they give you 
three months segregation. Gina has been in segregation for nine days and 
still has no sheets or blankets because they lost some of her property. 
She sleeps on the cold, plastic mattress. I share one of my blankets. 
All these non-violent “offenses” and people are doing a very long time 
in segregation. Gina has also never, not once, gotten into trouble in 
the four years she’s been incarcerated! You want to know what violent 
offenses carry? They carry the least amount of time in segregation. If 
you get into a fight, you’ll do 15 days in seg. If you assault someone, 
you’ll do 30 days. Everything non-violent carries more than 30 days in seg!

You can’t even ask for mental help because they’ll throw you in 
segregation. I am in here because I had a seizure and was handcuffed and 
thrown into a wall by a lieutenant. I was not supposed to be handcuffed 
because I just had a seizure. I flipped out, panicked and spit on him. 
I’ve been in segregation six months. I should’ve went home December 3, 
2014, but they are keeping me here until August 3, 2015. I have to be in 
segregation the whole time. The past six months have been hell. I’ve 
seen my friend commit suicide next door to me. While the police were 
waiting for her body to be transferred, they made jokes about how now 
there’s more bed space. My friend—RIP Shortybang—shouldn’t have even 
been in segregation. The police ignored her cries for help. They still 
ignore people when people say they are suicidal or homicidal. They don’t 
see us as someone’s daughter, mother, or sister…They see us as a number, 
as bed space, as criminals. I’ve talked to many women in this prison and 
I haven’t met one yet who hasn’t been abused, raped, etc., in their 
life. I’ve heard the worst stories. I don’t know about other women, but 
when I’m in segregation, alone, locked in this six foot by ten foot cell 
for 24 hours per day, I start thinking about my life. I have a very 
messed-up past. Mainly when I was younger, but that wasn’t that long ago.

I will turn twenty-two in seg on April 6th. Long periods of solitary 
confinement are not healthy, especially for women like me who have 
severe PTSD and depression. I’ve attempted suicide so many times I lost 
count! Now what makes anyone think it’s okay to put me alone in a cell 
for over a year? You might think I’m being treated by a psychiatrist? 
Yes, but she refuses to put me on the correct medications. I see the 
psychiatrist through a TV once every two months, maybe, and she refuses 
to look at my records and see that I need certain medications. So, if 
I’m having severe issues just trying to survive day by day, I know 
others are as well. That’s why so many people are yelling constantly 
that they’re suicidal. This is a very depressing place.

Another serious issue, medical…I have been begging to see the doctor for 
six months since I got in segregation. I wrote grievances about health 
care in segregation. I hope and pray that things will change back here. 
Even something as simple as how officers treat us would change a lot. 
I’ll do whatever I can from the inside and hope people listen to what I 
have to say. Just because I made one mistake in life doesn’t mean I 
deserve this suffering. I am somebody’s daughter. I have a great family. 
I should be home. I want to stop this from happening to others.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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