A Letter from a former fellow inmate
Written by S. Wallis
When I was in R&A (receiving and assessment) I heard a couple of the women in Perryville talking about “Jessica” and how sweet she was and how she had her whole life going for her. How sad it was to see such a beautiful intelligent girl in here. I didn’t get the chance to talk to her in R&A but I found out who she was because when it was time for the CO’s (correctional officers) to call out for mail, her name would be called 10+ times. I now had a face to go with the name. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her in R&A because I was busy trying to just take a shower and just hang outside. When you are locked up 23 hours a day with 2 other women all you want to do is not talk to anyone and hang outside and get some fresh air.
When it was my time to move to 24 yard, I saw that the now familiar face was also going to 24 yard. For a couple of days I got up and would eat breakfast by myself. Then one day I was Jessica “Sicca" sitting at a table and I decided to sit at the same table. Thank God I did.
Even though I knew who she was, I asked her name and why she was here. We found out that we were both from the town of Gilbert and were around the same age. Later that same day, we had lunch and dinner together. We were pretty much inseparable from that day on.
Jessica Robinson was sentenced to 7 years for D.U.I manslaughter but she does not ever dwell on that. “Everything in life happens for a reason, Siobhan,” she would tell me, and “nothing is forever.”
She is one of the most peaceful women I met in prison. She said this experience has taught her to appreciate life and live it to the fullest – no matter what the situation may be, for it could always be worse.
Jessica and I would have “coffee dates” in her room. I would sit on the toilet (use it as a seat) and she would be on her bed or moving around her cell and we would drink our coffee and just talk about whatever. I had to sit on the toilet because I was not supposed to be in her room. . (When you are in your cell, you have to display your badge in the window) I stayed sitting on the toilet and one of the cops came by and asked Jessica where her roommate was, Jessica not thinking, said “she’s at work”. So the cop looked in the room and didn’t see me. I don’t really know the exact words that were said next, but I know what Jessica said, she said, “She is at work, on the toilet”! It was so funny! Another funny thing is there is a song called “the Dougy”. Well you can have your own dance or do your own thing to that song and let me tell you, hers is very unique! It’s very hard to explain but it’s the best “Dougy” I’ve ever seen! It kind of looks like a robot tap dancer! OMG, I miss her so much
The day I left 24 yard to go home was bittersweet for me. I was happy to be free but sad that I would be leaving “Sicca”! D.O.C. told me I was going home, in the middle of the night, so since it was a surprise to me, I didn’t get to say goodbye to anyone. When you are getting released from prison, D.O.C. “pops” open the door earlier for you than they do everyone else, so again, no chance to say goodbye.
While I was eating breakfast the morning of Dec. 21, 2010, all I could think of was that I had to say goodbye to my friend “Sicca”. So, I quickly ate my breakfast and hurried back to the 24 yard. When the officers saw that I had come back, they questioned why? I told them that I had forgotten my medication.
Jessica’s door still had not been popped open so I procrastinated for about 5 minutes, until finally when her door was popped. I opened it, woke her up and told her I was leaving. She started crying. I will never forget the look on her face. She said she thought she wouldn’t cry, but there she was looking really beautiful while she did what she thought she would not do. We hugged and squeezed each other and promised each other we would keep in touch. And we have.
Well, because I had gone back to the yard, the guards were looking for me because I was supposed to be on 28 yard waiting for the guards to escort me to complex for released, so to make a long story short the sergeant and his C.O. handcuffed me and I stayed that way until I got to complex. I knew I was not supposed to go back to the 24 yard but I had to say goodbye to the woman that made my time go by so fast and easy. I miss Jessica and my conversations with her terribly. She is a very wise woman. I believe the term is, she has an old soul.
I’ve been out for almost two months and when I have my morning, afternoon and night time coffee, I think about Jessica. I think how strong and peaceful she is. I think of how her story will touch so many people. If only 1 in 100 people get the message to not drink and drive, it is still one person. As long as that seed is planted, Jessica feels fulfilled.
Jessica Robinson “Sicca” is a true inspiration to me. She taught me to live life to the fullest. And because of her, I now can. “Sicca” has 5 more years to do and I know that means women will come in and out of her life. She will bond with some and not choose to with others. I have had only 3 women in my life that I would call my “true Friends” and, “Sicca” is definitely one of them. I hope throughout the years her and I will continue to bond and share our experiences, strength and hope. In 11 more months I will be able to visit her, until then it is through pen and paper we will communicate.
I love you Jessica “Sicca” Robinson, and your will get through these years with your family, friends and my support.
Nothing is forever, so you just hang in there…