I am humbled by my experience today. There are things that happen in life that can lead us to make choices we wouldn't have normally made, and then the world can judge us. While working in the prison, it has not been my intent to find out about any one person's particular crimes. I don't want to know; I don't want to judge. They've been judged already. But a couple times today, there was reference to deep pain, and I was moved.
Once you start searching, it's hard to stop. It's like eating three or four pieces of chocolate when you meant to have one or two. What's one more search... Another woman, who wanted a picture of a waterfall, had convinced a man to kill her husband, who had been raping and beating her for years. She was convicted for forty years.
I don't know what to think of these articles. Keep in mind that I am only reporting what I read on newspaper sites, not what the women themselves said. The reporters seem to be grievously lacking in their skills as journalists... I can't figure out how you can report a woman being sentenced for murder while also presenting what seem to be extenuating and unconsidered circumstances, and not point out some huge, if unfixable error in the legal system.
"I thought it would be like on t.v. with bars and cells and angry people who would try to shiv me if I turned my back on them."
She laughed too, and said it was actually nice. Since my talk with the Volunteer Coordinator at lunch had included a discussion about the prison's main goal of rehabilitation and education, of teaching women that they have worth and don't need to become the label "felon" when they leave, I could see her point. In some ways, I think lots of people could use training on how to be good members of the community. We all could use education, rehabilitation, and reminders that we are worth something and can be forgiven.
Later, they thanked me for including them in the project, and said, "Please let us know if you need anything else!"
I have a long list of places to visit after today's shoot. The most unusual one is Victoria's Secret.
All the images are now on my website. Check often as I add the landscapes.