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