Women Serving Time: ‘There Are So Many Things I Took For Granted’

DETROIT (WWJ)Orange Is The New Black. It’s a number one Netflix series about women in prison. Some say it glorifies something that is actually a nightmare.  In this four-part series we speak with three separate women who served time … and they say there is nothing glamorous about doing time.

Pam served time in prison for armed robbery: “I walked up to a woman, in a parking lot of a Meijer’s, she put her purse on the floorboard of her car and I walked up behind her and startled her and I grabbed the purse and I ran,” said Pam.

What made her want to steal from someone else?

“I had no criminal history prior to that, no juvenile record, anything like that. I was actually in a very controlling relationship  – I was a stay at home mom , of two boys, and I had depleted my funds for that week, so I thought, ‘how hard could it be? I can steal a purse and get a little bit of cash.”

Although Pam says she never used it against her victim , she was carrying a multi-tool instrument which contained a two-inch knife. She said she regretted her actions within minutes of robbing the woman – she said she ended up throwing the purse from her car window but it was too late.

She’s embarrassed to talk about — “When I tell this story in prison, the girls thought it was funny, to me it’s not funny. I scared the woman to death. She also had two grandchildren in the car – she was putting her grandchildren in the car – she was putting her groceries away, and I scared the woman.”

Pam served five years for the crime. Those five years were transformational – “I actually had a traumatic experience while I was in there … I got beat-up. Really, really bad. Really bad. A lock and a sock, you know, one of those combination locks. That’s one of the common weapons in prison.”

Pam is still suffering from issues related to that incident. But without that experience of victimization, she may not have come to see things the way she does now.

“There are so many things that I took for granted and that will never happen again,” she says.

Coming up in Part 3 of the series on Wednesday. The story of Cassie, her boyfriend, a drug deal and time in prison.

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