Darlous Presley

It's all about endless lines for drug war prisoners

Dear November Coalition,

Here are two letters from my friend, Darlous Presley, who is presently incarcerated for violation of parole for a small-possession conviction in Tennessee. She has no idea when she will be released. The government pays her nothing for her skill as a forklift driver. She's even forced to buy their stamps and is not allowed photos of her children or a Bible.

I hope others will see the discrimination, unfairness and injustice she is experiencing. At this date (Dec 14, 2001), she is still incarcerated and has no idea when she will be released. Officials also refused articles from the Razor Wire that I sent to her.

Dear Lynn:

Thought I'd write you a few lines to let everyone know I'm still kicking up here in Mad County. It's hard, but I'm doing it. I never dreamed that I'd be here this long. The worst part is that it's all 'dead time!' I've been waiting to go to Rehab for almost 2 months and the last girl who left here to go to the same place waited for 4 1/2 months. If this time counted while we were here, it would be different, but it doesn't.

I can truly understand why you're so passionate about the Razor Wire because this system is truly screwed up. They are sending me to a place called Jack-n-Jeans. I haven't heard much good about it, but if I can handle this place, I can handle anything. It's all a 'mind thing' anyway.

I miss everyone so much. I guess we'll just have to see what happens. This place can sure make you take a good look at your life and the things you take for granted.
I've been chosen to start a forklift driving school starting this Monday! I also found out that it isn't going to count on my time! The other Trustees (men) get 2 for 1 on their time.

I haven't been writing to many people because I've been using my envelopes and stamps to write my family. I send a couple of stamped envelopes to my children every week so they can write me back. These people won't let anyone send me stamps or envelopes. I have to buy them here. The only thing we can get are letters and cards. We can't even have pictures of our kids!

Love, Darlous

(2nd letter)

Sorry it took so long to write you back. These people do what they please with the mail around here. Hell, they do what they please with our lives as well. It's just so hard to believe that I'm still here.

October went by pretty quick because we got to get out of here seven hours a day for three weeks. We took two weeks of forklift driving school and one week for computer training. I am now a certified forklift driver. On the day of our graduation, they let our families visit, and I got to spend a couple of hours with my kids. I miss them so much it hurts. I feel like I'm missing out on so much of their lives.

In August I was number 18 on the list for Rehab. At the end of October I was number 3, according to my sister. They told her that it would be any day. I was dumb enough to get my hopes up! I've been writing letters to the court, and family-members are making calls for me to the judge, the DA, the sheriff and my P.O. trying to get me back in court. I found out this month (Nov 2001) that it's not going to happen! All of this goes right back to my P.O. She's determined to make me pay, and she's getting away with it.

Now, all I can do is more dead time waiting for them to come and get me and take me to a place not much better than this. The place I'm going to won't let me have a Bible; I can only write my immediate family, and I can only call my immediate family once a week for six minutes. But I will be able to see my kids once a month. That's the only thing that keeps me going. They say a lot of people don't make it through there because someone's always up in your face screaming. But, if I walk out, I have to come back here for 11 months and 29 days.

Yes, they let us have Bibles here. That's the only thing that's made my time bearable! I am also very fortunate to have family. They always stand behind me! I've done pretty well in here, considering the circumstances. I get depressed sometimes, but I fight it off. I've always been a strong person, and I can't let them take that away from me.
I've seen a lot of people come and go since I've been here ­­ people who have done 'way worse' than me. It's just so hard for me to understand how someone with attempted murder charges can get a bond and people who have violated probation cannot! I pray so hard for understanding and patience.

I'm really dreading the Holidays but it's like the good book says, "And this too shall come to pass."

Darlous Presley