Here is a sample of memories written and shared by inmates at York C.I. who were participating as volunteers in our hospice program at the facility. The women who have written here were volunteering to assure that their sister inmates dying in prison had the care and support they needed. Each “I remember…” is from a collection of entries each woman wrote in a poetry workshop I facilitated. They each then chose one from their collection and we strung the entries together to make the group poem you see below.
Rereading them today, I’m reminded of our shared humanity and the universality of our experiences, prison bars or distant shores or disparate lives without standing! POB
I REMEMBER GROUP POEM
By York C.I. Hospice Volunteers
*I remember my Mom making the best fudge.
*I remember I couldn’t help laughing.
*I remember when I put a gardener snake in a cookie tin and went around the block to sell cookies.
*I remember the first time I got behind the wheel … He promised to never take me driving again!
*I remember thinking I could die on this job and
I didn’t care because I loved the job so much.
*I remember when $1.50 could get you 2 packs
of cigarettes, a can of Pepsi and a pack of gum …
all with a note from Mom.
*I remember my mother’s hugs and kisses.
*I remember the day I finally understood the meaning of love.
*I remember the soft breeze wisped by my cheeks . . .
*Note: The York Correctional Institution is a high-security facility. It serves as the state's only institution for female offenders. It serves all superior courts in Connecticut and manages all pretrial and sentenced female offenders, whatever their security level.
The programming units at the facility have an extensive array of positive interventions for the population, including the 80-bed intensive, inpatient drug treatment unit, the Marilyn Baker House. A Hospice program trains inmate volunteers to provide end of life care to fellow offenders.