I am so amazingly concerned about what has happened here. During the worst winter storm in nearly 40 years Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF) in Wilsonville, OR chooses to turn off the heat instead of paying the higher fuel rates. Endangering the health and safety of 1500 inmates. ONE OF WHICH IS MY DAUGHTER.
I understand all too well this is not a resort. It is a a prison. But…Tiffany was not sentenced to death. This decision that CCCF made was so amazingly irresponsible. I feel helpless. There is nothing I can do to help her.
Cold spell means cold showers at women’s prison
by Steve Mayes, The Oregonian
Saturday December 20, 2008, 2:18 PM
Inmates at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility learned Saturday morning that they weren’t immune from the crummy weather.
The prison is one of 180 large NW Natural customers who were given a choice: shift to the back-up fuel systems or pay higher rates during the current cold spell.
The prison, some universities and big manufacturing firms among others have “interruptible service contracts,” said NW Natural spokesman Cory Beck. Those customers pay lower rates because they agree to shift to an alternate fuel sources or pay higher rates under certain conditions, such as long periods of cold weather, Beck said.
The company notified customers a few days ago that it was imposing the requirement. It will be in effect until at least Monday, Beck said.
Until then, almost 1,500 Coffee Creek inmates won’t get hot showers or more than one hot meal a day, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jennifer Black. The Wilsonville prison started using it’s propane-fueled back-up system Saturday morning.
It was a nice quiet Thanksgiving. Keelen went to Boise with his Dad, Step-mom and brother to visit his other Grandparents. Cal and I decided to keep it VERY VERY low key and went out for dinner. On Black Friday we went to America’s Largest Christmas Bazaar at the Portland Expo Center. We have been going since 1993 and this is one of our few Christmas traditions. Actually, it’s the Barbara Stories Rum Cake booth that starts calling to me in July!! This is the best rum cake in the world and they give away free samples!!
I decided to go visit Tiffany at the prison on Saturday. It was a nice visit, just her and I chatting and playing cards. Although it’s always nice to take Keelen to visit his mom, he totally monopolizes her time and there are just some conversations you can’t have with a 5 year old around.
Tiffany started to tell me about the recent drug bust in one of the units. They found drugs, needles, cigarettes and all kinds of contraband. Before every visit, I go through metal detectors and at times get “wanded”and patted down. I don’t understand how that stuff gets in there. Seriously…how do you smuggle in a pack of cigarettes? And why would you risk it? I started questioning (interrogating) Tiffany about the drug use. She has never failed a drug test in prison. Thank God for that. If she does….I swear she better hope they don’t let her out. I’ve already told her I am soooo done with this drug crap!
Then out of the blue she asked me “Do you know how I started taking Meth?” I was a bit shocked at the matter of fact way she asked the question.
Honestly…it had never occurred to me to ask her. I am not a “shades of grey” person. There’s black and white, right and wrong, good and bad….taking drugs is bad. End of conversation.
I could tell she was intent on telling this story and I could feel that “judgmental defensive mother” rising to the surface. What could possibly be a good excuse for taking Meth?
I quietly sat and watched her eyes as I listened to her tell her story. It was very short and to the point.
“I was a 19 year old single mom, working nights and trying to stay awake during the day as well. Keelen was a 1 year old. One night at work I was complaining about being so tired. A co-worker said “Here take this. It will keep you awake”. He handed me a pill. I didn’t know what it was, but I was desperate and I took it. That’s how it all started and it only got worse from there.”
That’s it? One little pill? No big drug dealing “gang banger”. No messed up “meth head”? One little pill? The decision made at that moment in time changed her life forever.
It is sad she felt so overwhelmed and alone. I was on the road working and wasn’t there to help her. I would be going to Iraq soon. Again, I wouldn’t be there to help her. Would she have even let me help her. I don’t know. She is very independent and stubborn. Hmmmm I wonder where she gets that?
I was very impressed with her ability to verbalize this moment. She wasn’t giving me an excuse or trying to justify anything. She was just stating a fact about a moment in time that altered her life dramatically. I just hugged her and thanked her for trusting me enough to tell me.
On the inside my heart was breaking and my “critical self” was savagely beating me up. I should have done this, I should have done that……the list of “woulda, shoulda, coulda” is endless.
One thing is certain, my little girl has grown into quite the amazing woman.
We went to the prison today to visit his mom. Who wouldn’t want to drive 100 plus miles round trip on a beautiful sunshiny Sunday in November to sit in a visiting room with a bunch of criminals! Don’t get me wrong, I always (well….almost always) enjoy seeing Tiffany. And I know Keelen loves to see her and she loves to see him. But that drive really gets old. It’s a 5 hour ordeal from the time we leave until we get back. I hope she appreciates this. Paybacks are hell!!!
Anyway, we were in the waiting area waiting for our turn to go through the metal detectors and be escorted into the visiting area, when out of the blue Keelen asked me “Grandma, where do the kids go when both their mom and dad gets arrested and no one wants them?” He totally caught me off guard. I tried to explain about foster parents while at the same time hoping they would hurry up and call our name.
It’s sad that a five year old even has to think about that kind of stuff!!!
The photo above is Tiffany and Keelen at the Prison on a visit.