Monday, April 14, 2008


I reported to Sea-Tac Federal Detention Center on Thursday, April 3rd. My husband and I flew to Seattle the day before. We were able to have a restful night and a beautiful, warm, sunny morning visiting a park and small lake. I just sat there and enjoyed being outside. That indeed was a gift.

The most difficult part of jail is getting in. Processing took a long time and getting to my unit late was tiring and somewhat frightening. I've been in a week already and my time is finally settling into a routine. It is a confusing system to get used to. My unit consists of 60 cells with about 110 women.

The cells surround a large dayroom. TV's, a walking track and exercise equipment are available. But it is a jail. We have counts and shut-downs. Our lives are controlled. We are told when to eat and sleep. There are few options. We can't go outside. My slit of a window faces another building so I can't see but a tiny patch of the sky. Some women stay here three years. I don't know how they tolerate not going outside.

In spite of this restrictive environment, the women here have forged a community of people who help each other, work, have fun and welcome new inmates. I marvel at their ability to focus on the now. Few of them dwell on the past or the future. They don't know for sure where they will end up or how long they will stay.

I have only three weeks left. It's been an interesting journey. Will I be changed when I get out? You bet. Pax Tecum

This post was received with a letter from my mom today. I promised to update her blog and help spread the word. My dad spoke with her since the letter was written and said that the other inmates are calling her "Grandma". There is a certain irony that she had to go to prison to be called that.
Tara Anderson


communicatrix said...

Go, Joan, go! You're my hero! Even if--especially because Tara has to write or call you back to tell you.

carol said...

Mine too.... You are an inspiration. carol

Diane Lopez said...

I'm sending another letter soon - and it's good for everyone to know how important those letters can be to someone in jail! Joan is a gift wherever she goes, and I know from experience that she is shining a healing light on the women who are open to her presence: and many will be. Jail is a lonely but transforming place. Good things come from being there, too! Tom, we are thinking about you and praying for this time to be gentle on you, too! Love, Jailbird Diane, and Pat

carol said...

Hi Joan,
I don't know if these are being passed on or if Tara is bringing them to you.. either way,now or when you get home...this is from a friend who wanted to pass this message on to you...
"Joan, Anthony de Mellow said, “How grateful you would be to anyone who did for you what you have done for God!” I’d like to offer my gratefulness to you for what you have done and are doing for God and for God’s people. Thank you! I am in awe of your courage. Mary An"

Anxious to talk with you when you get carol

bluewyo said...

Hi Joan! The pot n pans patriots send their thoughts and prayers to you! We heard from Kathy N. that you will be home for Mother's Day which is inspriation for our next anti-war event. A picnic rally at Matthew Campfield park from 10 to 2pm on May 10.
We all think of you often and look forward to your safe and speedy return home. You are the bravest person we have met.
Kim, Sharon, Mary Ann B. and all the gals who call themselves pots n pans patriots!

dyerbrookME said...

I'm impressed with your commitment. Look forward to your writings.