Being incarcerated on Christmas is a sad event. I look around and see all the women of Gulf Pod smiling, trying to support the next woman. We are all thinking about our children, grandchildren and families. We are all hurting so deep inside from making bad choices while on the outside. Our families, spouses and friends are doing time with us.
There is a lot of unity among us today and it’s beautiful, but when we lock in our cells, we cry in silence. That gut-wrenching cry pleading that everyone will forgive us and we can forgive ourselves.
All of the staff here and prison ministries are with us through this rough time. They all know that it is a hard time of year for us and they are very understanding and filled with compassion. Each and every one of them does their very best to make it an OK day.
There is an officer that I would personally like to thank. She made our holiday by far one of the best while being incarcerated. She brought games in and got the entire pod to take part. We sang to music she burned for us from a list we made. She brought treats in and made herself available to each and every one of us. She was there to talk with us, comfort us, and turn what could have been a negative day into a positive one.
She is a no nonsense kind of officer. Consistent and does her job. But first and foremost she is human and never judges us for anything. She went out of her way to keep Gulf Pod in the Christmas spirit and gave her all as an officer and a person who completely understands and is there for us.
So, I would like to thank officer Renée Stracuzzi for making this Christmas a special and memorable time. She is a woman of integrity with a heart as big as the sky.
I am speaking for all the women of G-pod. We aren’t allowed to give staff gifts so this is our way to thank her and everyone on the staff and the volunteers at the Berkshire County House of Correction. It was a Merry Christmas for Gulf Pod in 2012.
JACQUELINE A. ANDREWS