My name is Latonia Bellamy I am 31 years old. I am currently serving a Life Sentence. I have been incarcerated for 12 years. While incarcerated here at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility I have maintained a phenomenal institutional record. I have completed several vocational, therapeutic, educational, social service and religious programs. I obtained an Assossiates Degree from Raritan Valley Community College and i am now enrolled in my final class to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers University.
My accomplishments depicts my character and by far do not surmount to the lengths that I will go through to assure that I deliver a healthy baby. Surprisingly I am 3 months pregnant and I conceived while incarcerated here at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility. Although Edna Mahan breeds a ”pervasive culture of rape”. I WAS NOT RAPED nor was i forced to do anything that I did not want to do. Despite it not being permitted I fell in love and had consensual sex with a woman who is trans. Consensual sex is a prohibited act in Edna Mahan.
I did what is natural to every human being formed a natural and genuine bond that let to an extensive amount of support, understanding and love . Yet forbidden love in a correctional institution is illegal. Freedom and trauma was the basis of several conversations what incarcerated individual do not yearn for a second chance at life when your teens, twenties and thirties are withering away behind four walls, a steel door and barb wire gates. Your very soul feel as if you are suffocating inside and the very air you breathe causes internal convulsions. Imagine having some one understand the true capacity of internal feelings that are hard to describe but a simple look or gesture brings forth understanding.
Prison retraumatizes and revictimize survivors of sexual abuse on a daily basis and individuals who have not gone through abuse do not understand the internal and everlasting effects that trauma have on the mental,physical and the emotional being. my first account of sexual abuse was at the age of 6 and it did not end there whereas Demi’s first account of sexual abuse was at the age of 8 and that also did not end there. At that very moment an understanding of unaddressed trauma was the formation to the very ground of understanding who we as individuals truly are.
I never intended for any of this to happen but it did ”We found love in a hopeless place” Rhianna’s song lyrics was on repeat in my head for weeks on end. I was engulfed with an emotion that my trauma stifled and barricaded for decades. There was light at the end of the tunnel that was no longer darkened, my days weeks and months in prison began to fly bye, LOVE was the reason. Somehow and some way LOVE is utterly forbidden. Yet it was conquered, grasped and explored. Surprisingly a pregnancy came about, an innocent human being is forming and will arrive shortly. Pregnant in prison is a blessing of mockery.
Now mockery is prevailing here at Edna Mahan wherein Correctional staff has humored themselves with promoting Baby songs and rhymes over their P.A. system(walkie talkie) for their own selfish entertainment. Correctional and staff Gossip groups has formed wherein I was questioned ”What took you so long to come forward, you’re 5 months” a medical staff member stated to me. I also sat and listened to another medical staff converse with a mental health doctor stating ”How long do you think it will take for this pregnancy news to spread?” Again i stood right next to a correctional staff wherein she stated ”We all(correctional staff) was just talking about this(pregnancy), this morning. Several staff made references to having a million dollar baby. How unprofessional yet I will not fault these Correctional staff for their unprofessional verbal conduct but can only hope in the near future it will seize because it is exacerbating my pregnancy anxiety. Along with the mere fact that if staff members would have put in a small amount of effort with doing their jobs efficiently the conceiving of a baby would have never taken place here at Edna Mahan.
While I do accept accountability for my actions of falling in love. I find myself being in a place of fault which is unfair to me because several blind eyes were turned. Our love was known and not hidden, yet forbidden. A child is going to be born. What is going to be done to assure that a mother can spend an adequate amount of time with her baby before separation?