After dozing off for the first time, the midnight count starts. Guards with heavy boots stomp by, wielding flashlights and shining them into your eyes to count bodies. Imagine dozing off again, then waking frantically at one a.m. to the loudest buzz that it makes your ears ring as everyone yells fire. Over one hundred groggy, sleepy women stumble down the stairs, side by side.

Every night, the fire alarm goes off due to a wiring problem. What happens when this place truly catches on fire? This place would go up in minutes, because this building is old and badly in need of repairs.

We all march out to the street in the freezing rain. and stand there shivering, waiting for the guard to clear the building and turn the alarm off. We then march side by side back upstairs to bed.

Two-thirty a.m.: Again the guards return to shine their flashlights in your eyes as they stomp their boots.

Three a.m.: I try to doze off again, but at four a.m. the same drill is repeated as the guards stomp their boots and shine their flashlights.

Forget sleeping, it is too hard to get comfortable. My pain level is at ten. The bed is hard. The pillow is even harder. Sleep deprivation is setting in...

Five a.m.: Work starts and I am wearing the same dull blue denim uniform and a pair of the most uncomfortable steel-toe boots I have ever worn. Working in the kitchen consists of bussing dirty traysa, wiping tables and emptying out the garbage cans dozen times after each meal. I am aching!

After 300 inmates stuff their faces and scavenge for even more food (as the servings are never enough), it is time to check in with a most unpleasant office, so she can give me some petty ass job to make my life even more miserable. By then, it's time for lunch, then dinner.

I am starting to hate food and it makes me ill to see how much is wasted. There is no recycling at all, as everything ends up as more fill for the dump. The federal government does not care about recycling nor about the taxpayers who pay their salaries here.

Profanity is the lingua francua here. Everyone spends their time talking about everryone else. Snitching and stealing are common practices that I cannot relate to.

The bathrooms are a vile ashtray of nastiness, as three or four prisoners in a stall suck cigarettes down to the butt, then snitch on one another afterward.

Toilet paper runs out at least once a day and if their is any, it sits on the back of the toilet (sometimes on the floor), with a quarter of it soaked with condensation. Every time the toilet flushes, the water in the shower becomes scalding hot. There's no room to dodge the spray, so I find myself screaming in pain. Standing in the shower would normally clear your head for a moment, but not in this institution.

You are required to take classes. Today's class was about writing up a will in case you die in prison, which is a high probability! Maybe some of the other classes will not be so depressing. I would like to live to see my family again.

Today, even the highlight of my day, mail call, left me crying tears of injustice --- no mail. Usually, I get mail, but today my name was not called. When I get mail my spirit soars, so please everyone, keep writing!

Flicker, flicker, it is ten p.m., the flourescent light blink and it is bedtime. Maybe I can get some quality sleep before midnight starts the day again.

No such luck, as an orchestra of snoring begins. One after another, the prisoners snore, some synchronized and some out of tune in a melody of annoyance that I can fall asleep to --- Not!

Please write to MMJ POW Stephanie Landa @
Prisoner Stephanie Landa
Prisoner # 09247-800
5675 8TH ST
DUBLIN, CA 94568