In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

five| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | BANDALEVELS With Blackout, Zero, and C Level past and upward of six months at Alpha Omega House spent, women who make it to B Level are in the home stretch. Still takingpartintheroutineestablishedatZeroandIOP startedatCLevel,residents at “B,” as the women call it, are “senior girls.” “Senior girls” may be called upon to escort “Blackout girls” and “Zero girls” out of the house for appointments, but more importantly, they are role models who teach their informal sisterhood and its oppositional culture. With advancement to B, women are given more pocket change, seventy-­ five dollars monthly, drawn from their accounts of public-­ aid funds. They are also allowed to leave the house, usually in pairs or groups, for several weekend “day passes” to attend Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the community and sometimes even to shop at local stores. After about three months at B Level (sometimes longer), women advance to the final phase of stay called A Level. Sometimes their move to A Level is just as much a surprise as when they started IOP during C Level. They will only know ahead of being called to the basement offices to discuss release requirements if they happen to get a glimpse of “the board” in the monitors’ office. A Level is another three-­ month phase,butwomenroutinelycompleteitinlessthanoneandareoftenreleasedina matter of weeks. The ticket out of A Level—graduation—is established housing. While at A Level, women are permitted a number of unescorted “home passes,” and their allowance during money week is upped to one hundred dollars per month, so they can make arrangements for their final release to the community. Having had a taste of freedom out of the house at C Level, women who make it to B and A Levels are gearing up for life on the outside. They hope to find work 186 a halfway house for women and a safe place to live. Three main themes mark women’s experience at the final two levels: work, stigmatized labels, and housing. Every phase of stay and the critical last months at B and A Levels are designed, according to Alpha Omega House documents, to support the central aim of “smooth and purposeful reentry” for every woman resident, yet the ante is upped for women as they near release. Many continue to feel held back by the slow pace of treatment, and they are frustrated by the idleness and passivity they feel every day. Their lack of meaningful work opportunities, new challenges in moving forward from their status as criminal woman, and their hopes for settling into community life add new pressures for them to manage as they wait for release. As their freedoms increase with each passing phase of stay, so do the women’s frustrations, which they demonstrate by some of the most damaging types of resistance displayed at Alpha Omega House. Work Grace skips out of the building at seven-­thirty in the morning, dressed in brightly colored medical scrubs dotted with flowers and white sneakers, and waits for the busuptheblock.Eighthourslatershereturnsfor asearch of her purse and person and then announces her return. “I’m ho-­ ome,” she sings, smiling as she waltzes the hallway to the living room, takes a peek in, and retires to her bedroom until dinner. Today Grace returns to the living room and recounts her day at work loudly, as Mimi, Rosa, Clair, and others sit motionless before the loud television. Grace is involved in a work internship organized by Alpha Omega House and a local businessman in cooperation with community agencies. The internship, which is entirely unpaid, trains her to become a domestic maid. She “tidies up, vacuums carpet, makes beds.” She has been engaged in the internship for most of the last year. She says of her achievement: “Dey say I done wit train [training]. I ain’t got go train no mo. I gah new jo [job]. Dey bring me in roo [room] ’n den say I work ah nuth pla star tomorr [another place starting tomorrow] . . . Dey lie [like] me. Dey train you on stu [stuff]. Maids. How ta clea [clean], may [make] bed, tide up. As she tells it, Grace completed her training at a nursing home and is being shifted to a hotel on the same bus route as the nursing home for more training. She enjoys the work, which, she says, makes her feel productive. She “ha fun, mee peop [meet people], work hard.” Henrietta is also doing unpaid domestic labor in the form...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.