Veronica on Dirty John , and Terra — were the only ones willfully participative in the original podcast. That was all before she fatefully logged on to a dating site in the fall of , setting off the horrific chain reaction to follow. Debra currently lives in Henderson , Nevada, where her store is based, and spends her free time with her kids and grandkids.
In those final months of , John harassed and menaced Jacquelyn, jeopardizing her schooling and career. Just before the occasion of John attacking Terra, Jacquelyn had warned her sister that their nemesis was in town and lurking. Jacquelyn, while interviewed for the podcast, was less willing to be visibly part of the Bravo series hence the name change , but appears to be the principal owner of a design and consulting firm these days and — if her capabilities as presented on Dirty John are indicative — is probably faring reasonably well despite the ordeal. Shane who, while not a part of Dirty John , appears to now have a family of his own and is still in touch with Arlane remained living with Cindi.
He was only 11 at the time, and as Goffard outlines in his Times series, went through the requisite bouts of anger and unruly behavior. Stay away from the house. Accidents do happen. At the time her mother started dating John, Terra was working at a kennel and spending most of her days with her boyfriend, Jimmy. But she was also affected by her parents splitting up and, perhaps presciently, would often have nightmares about being abducted. Terra was 25 when she fought John off on the roof of that parking garage and killed him.
Anderson, her mother, was in the courtroom. To her, everything felt like it was happening in slow motion. All she wanted to do was run towards her daughter, but Anderson was trapped in a row of seats. She wondered frantically if she should jump over them. Outside, the long Michigan winter had blanketed the day in white. It was beautiful, Anderson remembers. It felt surreal. On May 21, , Ra gave birth to Zakai, a healthy baby boy, in St. The well-meaning staff at St.
But it was a quiet ceremony. After the birth, Ra had two-and-half days in the hospital to recover before she was sent back to prison. She held Zakai the whole time. I stayed up for three days. Because I wanted to spend every moment with him, knowing that I would have to leave him.
Guards drove Ra back to prison. After that, a prison official called Muhammad to come pick up Zakai and bring him home. Back at prison, Ra became depressed. Her breasts were swollen and leaking milk. The corrections department in Michigan, as in most states, does not have pumping equipment available for prisoners. Ra saw her leaking milk as a physical manifestation of her aching heart.
Her mind was reeling. But depression in prison is a tricky thing. Ra worried that if she was too distraught, openly sobbing, say, or hyperventilating from grief, she could be sent to solitary confinement. So she worked on bottling her feelings. She lived in a ward of the prison reserved for pregnant and postpartum women, and watched other women come back from a day or two in the hospital without their baby, their faces swollen from crying. No woman plans on that. She watched another cellmate come back from having a C-section, her stomach still healing from the stitches and no baby to show for it.
Like all returning mothers, she was expected to rejoin the daily routines of the prison, as though nothing was wrong. No time to grieve. Relative to many of the other women who give birth in prison, Ra was lucky: Zakai went home to a father and a big, supportive family.
Ra could call home every day, and hear how Zakai was doing.
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But in other cases, incarcerated women who give birth in the US prison system are forced to hand over their infants to the foster system, and, according to US federal law , a parent whose child has spent 15 out of the most recent 22 months in foster care can lose their parental rights permanently. According a report assembled by the US Law Library of Congress, 97 other countries and regions have rules on the books preventing immediate separation.
For example, Argentinian law allows any incarcerated mother to keep her children with her in prison until they are four years old, and requires prisons to provide special child-care facilities though the report notes only one prison actually had those accommodations as of In Spain, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Venezuela, children can live with their mothers in prison until they are three.
In South Korea, mothers can apply for permission from their prison warden to raise their infant in prison until the child is 18 months old. In Denmark, prisoners who were in a relationship before their conviction can live together in prison, resulting in some mothers and fathers raising their child in prison together.
Right now, 11 states have prison nurseries , where women can enroll in a program allowing them to raise their babies while they serve their terms. To qualify, the women must have been incarcerated for nonviolent crimes and in most cases have sentences of two years or less. They live in a separate wing of the prison where bar-less cells are outfitted with cribs and changing tables, according to the Washington Post.
Murals line the walls, and other inmates serve as daycare workers while the mothers take GED classes or get counseling for drug or alcohol abuse. But among the 90 women who have gone through the Illinois program over the last 11 years, only two or about 2. Once Ra had been away for a few months, Muhammad started to notice changes in Zala.
She got quieter, more serious. Less goofy. After a while, little Zala started to take her shoes and socks off for the body search before the guard even asked. That was only permitted for children under two, according to prison rules , and Zala was three now. Ra comes from a family of braiders. One time she put Zakai into her shirt anyway. Sometimes Zakai would scream when Ra tried to hold him. After one visit, Ra called her mother and broke down.
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After exactly 15 minutes, a disembodied voice broke through the call. This time, Anderson put her phone down on her dining room table. The next day, Muhammad brought Zala to play in a small park in downtown Detroit. She climbed around a fountain while Muhammad lifted Zakai out of his stroller, held him in the crook of his arm, and fed him a bottle. Zakai, four months old, was all baby rolls and bright eyes, with a full head of hair. He looked around, curious, and seemed content, never making a sound.
An older couple stopped to and smiled at the baby. It was Ra. She asked to speak to Zala. Zala held the phone in front of her and made silly faces.
Women-in-Prison Short Stories: No! Mommy, No!
Muhammad sends Ra money for the commissary, which she can use to buy food and toiletries. The food, he says, is horrible.
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