Women, Drugs, and Incarceration
Publication Year: 2013
This book, the third in a trilogy about Chicago women by noted author Jody Raphael, is the story of Tammy's metamorphosis. Raphael's narrative, based on extensive interviews with Tammy and family members, shows the detrimental effects of incarceration on an already abused woman and illuminates Tammy's efforts to release herself from the literal and figurative prisons of abuse, addiction, crime, fear, and hopelessness.
Raphael uses the transit of Tammy's life--from childhood trauma to adult rehabilitation--to investigate the linkages between childhood sexual assault and domestic violence with women's drug addiction and then with crime. She uses Tammy's own words to demonstrate how childhood sexual assault and violence can make women poor and how dysfunctional coping strategies keep them poor. Tammy's story is a reminder that violence against women and girls economically impoverishes them by trapping them in addictions leading to crime and other self-destructive activities.
Published by: Northeastern University Press
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Tammara (Tammy) Johnson stands before fifty men in an in-patientdrug treatment program in south suburban Chicago.1 An ex-addict witha nineteen-year heroin habit and a felony record, Tammy is the pro-gram’s job development trainer. The African American, with her styl-ized helmet of Black hair, stands poised with a proud carriage and an...
1 | Betrayal
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April 4, 1997. Tammy was pleased with her progress. After many tries,she had been off heroin now for about twelve months. It had been anineteen-year habit. Her college classes were going well; she was onlya year away from graduation. Making up for all that lost time felt good.The only problem was her husband, Maurice. And “problem” was...
2 | Trial
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Maurice showed the officers the safe in the closet. Vonnie, Tammy’sniece, was screaming, so the police officers dispatched the two youthsto the hallway. Clamping Tammy’s hands behind her back in cuffs,they led her past the children to the police car, despite Tammy’s cries,“Don’t do this in front of my son!” Soon thereafter, Maurice and the...
3 | County Jail
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It was now the middle of the night, and Tammy sat in a small cage into process her?” “I don’t feel like it,” “I don’t feel likesmelling her,” “I just don’t feel like this crap tonight.”As she waited in the bull pen, Tammy continued to cry. Three hourspassed before she was taken out for fingerprinting and photographing....
4 | Prison
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The postage-stamp size of the two-person cell to which Tammy wasassigned in the maximum security unit made the county cells seemcould touch the ceiling of the cell, and if she leaned a little bit, she couldSituated just eight inches away from the bottom bunk was the worstpart, the toilet—just a steel hole. No matter what you had to do, you...
5 | Numbing
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While Tammy was in prison, Terrence tried to conceal his difficultiesfrom his mother. The twelve-year-old was dealing with Tammy’s in-carceration in an abnormal way, but one that enabled him to cope withI’d say, “I’m leaving.” I’d leave. I’d just blow up.64 Tammy’s collect calls, her lifeline to her son, caused continual strife....
6 | Minimum Security
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Tammy’s transfer to a minimum security facility for women six monthsafter her arrival at prison should have made life more bearable, but itdidn’t. For one thing, in her new setting she found the other incar-And, ironically, her things kept coming up missing, when the womenthreatened Tammy with bodily harm because her girlfriend kept star-...
7 | Terrence Alone
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Aunt Pat had finally had it: “I couldn’t go another day.” Her householdwas in an uproar, and her marriage was in tatters (and would not sur-vive). There were other issues, one involving a former girlfriend of herhusband, but the conflict with Terrence certainly didn’t help matters. When Tammy was arrested, Edward, Terrence’s father, had fallen off...
8 | The Basement
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Finally, Tammy was home for good—with an ankle bracelet for threeadditional months. With the monitor she could only go to and fromwork and only a certain distance from the house. Once the bracelet wasTammy needed two trains and two buses to get to Republic Windows,her place of employment, and she began her commute at five in the...
9 | Forgetting
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Few of these important insights, however, came to Tammy while shelanguished in the basement. Recovery from addiction is not a one-timeoccurrence, but rather a process during which long-buried events arebrought to the surface and considered. Tammy knows now that heroinprevents this kind of thinking altogether; it stops the user from learn-...
10 | Out of the Basement
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During her time in the basement—about two years—Tammy started toIn an early entry in her diary from that time, Tammy writes how tempt-ing it would be, now in her inner-city apartment surrounded by drugMoving the computer upstairs out of the basement was the first step.It’s like I didn’t exist. Like I died before and came back to...
Epilogue: Back to County
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On a rainy November day, Tammy revisits the Cook County jail tier inwhich she was incarcerated five years ago. She sees that the cinderblocksneed painting, the linoleum is scuffed and torn, and the lack of venti-lation makes the overheated air heavy and fetid. The tier could be easilyand cheaply redecorated, Tammy realizes, but its dilapidated condition...
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Tammy’s wonderful son, Terrence, and gracious sisters, Patricia andTerri, who so readily agreed to speak candidly with me, sometimes atWomen’s Justice Services, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, who suggestedTammy to me, arranged our first meeting, and also made it possibleZaitzow, who gave an early draft of the manuscript a close reading and...
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Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and Law