Life Jolt - prison slang for a life sentence - examines the lives of women navigating Canada’s correctional system. The team gained unprecedented access to the Grand Valley Institution prison, the federal pen for women in Ontario, for a full year. They followed women going into prison for the first time, spoke with lifers who have been there for years, and parolees as they left. Hosted by Rosemary Green, a former inmate herself, Life Jolt focuses on individual women’s stories and the realities of prison life, and explores a wide range of issues including parenting behind bars, segregation, the over-representation of Indigenous women, addiction, trauma and the many obstacles of reintegration. More episodes are available at: smarturl.it/lifejolt
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Around the world. More than eighty women have accused Peter Nygaard of crimes ranging from rape to sex trafficking is far exceeds Jeffrey obscene. He far exceeds Bell, cost, exceeds anything that I think our world has seen so far. A pattern of story: behaviour spanning Half a century night our denies at all, but now he faces criminal charges. This were a poor man. He would have been in jail decades ago. He has hit in plain sight. Evil by design available. Now, once he BC, listen or wherever you get your podcast, This is a CBC Podcast Life Jolt prison am for a life sentence, examines the lie, some women, navigating Canada's Correctional System Post rose, very green served five years in the United States, but God Nine years ago, and has since turned her life around she
formerly illiterate and is now a university student. Frontline support worker and local prison reform Advocate life jolt focuses on individual women stories to explore the realities of prison life and a wide, range of issues, including parenting behind bars, segregation, the overpriced Presentation of indigenous women addiction try and the many obstacles of reintegration. Now here's the first episode the before times the following episode contains: difficult subject matter and references sexual assault. Please take care I remember the day I went to jail I remember getting off that plane in Miami and as soon as I stepped up to that immigration ass, I knew I was in trouble. I was arrested and the immigration officer he lay
at me through the airport after putting the cold- and costs on me- I remember my hands being put behind my back and being led through that airport and, if Anyone knows about Miami Airport. It is busy and I remember there was a little girl walking with her mom and she grabbed onto our mothers hand,. And the shame that wash through me was, or shame than any credit could ever throw my way My name is Rosemary Green and this is life jolt. It's a park. Asked about the experience of women in the correctional system. Women. Like me, life jolt, is prison. Slang for a life sentence. But in a way every jail sentence is a life sentence. It doesn't really.
And when you get out, I know I've spent five years. A? U S, prison for drug trafficking. It haunts me still, but I'm to tell you that I'm so much more than my crime. We all are in this episode we're going to focus on the first stage of a woman's journey through the criminal justice system. Let's call it the before four times before you've had your day in court before you're, convicted or in the period between your arrest and your sentence. When you really don't know, what's going to happen, if you'll be sent to prison or for how long. The weight can be excruciating. If you're lucky you get bail and at least you can wait at home if you're not so lucky, you have to wait in jail on remand like I did
Diana did there's no alleged about it. I came home drunk and I thought my husband friend was cheating because she was there- and we had an argument week before like couldn't understand why she was there lab, I don't mind they take off. My husband went up the street to a friend's house and she took off. I don't know where she went at first. Diane is one roughly two thousand women and canadian presents you want. Actual detail. I got her, His guitar and I started storming up the street so I went in there and I smashed the guitar over him she's. Describing the assault that landed her in jail. Mary. Twenty six years have never. How are you and then the guitar went to Peco. So I was hitting them with my fist and then, as
pushed out of the house. I saw a pot of boiling water and, through it I came back to my house, My husband is a target share like twenty two I never even fired again before Diana grabbed his rifle and when looking for her friend and I in prison, Nothing can change, change, nothing My producers, John and Danielle first met Diana Quinty detention Center in Napanee, Ontario she's, waiting sentencing on two counts of assault with a weapon and one count of using a firearm while committing a crime. Daniel turn. This was her fist.
Jail since her arrest thanks to the alcohol and drugs. The arrest is a bit here. Is he to Diana now, but it slowly comes back to her. And I knew I was tell them everything them as turn them all of it. They kept saying I remember this too. They kept saying you have the right to remain silent. Do you understand I'm so lounges going on and on and on and then I was going to be in hurry. I don't know like I gotta have never been in trouble. I never been with the police. Have never like you. That'll gay did wrong. Go home, it's hard to come to terms with that feeling. One minute you're free citizen and the next Minute, you're on your way to jail. No, it wasn't like that. I think the next day next day went home. I went the court, I think it was next day I went cordon. The lawyer was talking to me:
Gotta go to jail, Botswana, heavy hours, more sober and everything to write. So and then I freaked out like wow. That's why they I put my answers: I'd watch my at the Miami Airport we'll be steered in my mind forever? They brought me into a small room and they started to ask me and are so many immigration officers around me. And they were just all staring at me all eyes on me. I remember them going through my stuff, I use to always wear a necklace across necklace. I was never big on. Faith, but I always wore this cross necklace and, as I sat there in this detention, part of an airport, it was so cold and you could hear the vent blowing
and I remember them saying what did you do? Where are you coming from and I just remembered trying to lie Even though I knew I was caught, but the deal breaker was when they asked me to take off the cross around my neck. I had never taken this cross off. I felt like it was a lack of protection, even though I didn't believe in God. So they took off the cross and handed it to the immigration officer, and then there was another immigration officer who was going through my wallet and he pulled out a pitcher of my for children and he said, are these your kids And I remember telling the officer yeah, those are my children. I was angry at that time, because he was touching, my children even though, is just a pitcher. And he said, if you don't tell us the truth, you will
never see them again, although that seem so far fetched like never that's kind of crazy in that moment of darkness and despair. I believed it, and that was my breaking point, and I said I will tell you everything you want to know just put back. My children put them back
However, in order for the work he took him soon, I signed up for right who, after that incident a pardon me died. I let my feelings. My weakness the things that made me weak, such as my children, almost like they they disappeared. Although I had conversations with my children while I was in prison, I had to allow my fight to ignite that fight or flight instinct. That is within all of us. I had to fight
now I had to allow my survival instincts to kick in, and that would mean letting go of the things that made me weak and as much as it pains me to say that moment, under those circumstances. My children made me weak. I'm forty six years all I've never been in trouble with LA it's. My first time and hopefully, my last day is learning about remand. It's a certain kind of agony, the courts having decided if you belong in prison, yet but they're pretty sure tat. You know belong in society. I've been here. I think I think I'm a six months now. I've been transferred a few times. I've gone to Ottawa Carlton
I've gone to Serbia. I went to value for a night and I think that's it. It's hard enough to be in jail for the first time, but the constant transfers make it even worse and nearly impossible to stay connected with family and friends, I don't know what to expect for jail this is all I know right now and make it I transferred to another jail. It's like the first day, scared then I get transfer back in a snake not that I'm home, but it's familiar and I'm not afraid Then I get transferred out again.
I didn't get moved around as much as Diana did early on, but I'll never forget going through in take for the first time, I remember being led into the detention centre and I'm taking my finger prints. Taking my mug shot and making me strip Remember the grouping onto the clothes that I was wearing and not wanting to let go of them because that's the last thing I had left you took my cross. You took my pictures of my children. This was it. This is all I have left. My clothing that I had on and they told me I had to put it in a box and that I was going to be shipped back to my family because they can't hold it because I'm not an american citizen and they basically said Strip and, like every part of me, every part of my humanity was stripped away in that moment because that's when they begin to say bend over
cough spread your cheeks, and they gave me this jumpsuit bright, orange jumpsuit and blue shoes. These blue sneakers, no shoelaces and then then they're, given a bedroll and inside this bedroll, there's a half toothbrush about three inches long and toothpaste and a roll on deodorant and your walked into the detention center. With these big huge doors. They made these doors slam. So you can know that you are locked up and you're going to stay in. Here. Is this big open area with two tiers the rooms where women would stand at the time. I didn't know what it was so I walked in. I stood there with their bare. Rule and then all of a sudden everybody started coming out of the room staring at this new girl that had just walked in an officer came in there, like eight o four six: seven: zero, zero, four percent two room number and then they tell you
room to go into and you walk through the door and then you lay on your bed and all I felt was emptiness. Then comes the strange reality of this new world are living in. The group have in dormer. Are amazing you end up, you know, come very close, like when you're in a cell, the toilets rate air in your bed right here, And you got to go, we gotta go I'm with you. Diana I've been. There are few things tougher than using the commode in front of your bumpy, I regard this, this door. Has like Octagon table kind of thing. Four chairs got two bunk beds, just in the back
the doors just die, a toilet sink. And it's over housed here, like it's big time, a lot of people like we have people sleeping on the floor on mattress like underneath tables and stuff yeah. Sometimes we, despite the close quarters Diana, says it's hard to get to know the other image. A lot of them come and go. Is A reman center lot of them get out on bail out of them already done their time, and having is just a bunch of good people, did something wrong make mistakes So during my time on RE man, the thing that stood out to me, the most was feeling like. I was walking through a fog kantian front. You can't see behind you to the left or the right up or down and you're walking through this dark time.
Because during remand you don't What's your sentence is gonna, be you don't know? If you're told your guide, irons were ten years to life which I was given I didn't know where my life's stood at that time. It was in the hands of somebody else. I was completely out of control and during that time, a fog it can be sold trying in so difficult. But everybody finds their own way of coping Diana is finding her strength in her face. I've been trying to get back traced in here, to the the line, and he said, there's never been a baptism done here before, but I said well between you and I, if we put some some, maybe we I to be the first one, but just to have that I guess or something and just bless me,
be cool, sad and depressed. You know: okay I am also still one to tell jokes and time of someone else's spirit and bad in the showers cry as efficiency carry home again Not knowing heard but
I just live each day, one day at a time, one day at a time, it's good advice. Because she's right, not knowing is tough, especially in the beginning on your first arrested You have no idea what your future holds or how you're going to survive. It a occupy myself in here with the Bible, write letters rickets. They made me back, my twenty five year old, Hugh fold up the paper like an accordion. Draw dry and I'd have to draw the body part two but I can't see the head and put it back in the envelope and. Male back to her and then show
another piece and back and forth, and I have her in her daughters come as much as they can. Even when they do visit it's hard to connect He was gonna glass in them. You don't have a phone- is just like this little grey, at the bottom and even talking like this, you have to act, Ben rate down and talk into it and put your ear up to it. So whenever, we're talking, we get to see the other person's face or anything. And then we must stop our heads. Through the window and then we'd have to put back our heads down. They'll have to put their, and sometimes you just have to laugh. Why is it that Mickey mouse doesn't have very many friends? because this white rat and his best friend to do. Oh god, that's a total jail so that is funny I got
People on remand make up a huge part of the canadian prison system, roughly sixty percent in two thousand eighteen, that's a hundred and forty thousand people incarcerated without a conviction fight those huge numbers. Green man is supposed to be a last resort. Unless you're a public safety risk or a flight risk bail is the court's first option. Diana was granted bail at first, but it didn't last. She couldn't stay at our house because they for her husband Harry was living, the courts had given Diana standard order to not communicate with her victims and Harry was one of her victims. So friend agreed to put her up But that was an unstable situation that eventually fell apart. So Diana was century man not because she had suddenly become a safety or a flight risk, and not because she had committed another crime or even miss behaved.
She was sent to jail because she had nowhere else to go. When you're staring at a prison sentence with nothing but tat, to worry and wonder it can lead to a lot of self reflection about the choices we make and why I lost control, of who I was at a very young, at a young age I was, Shelly molested, I'm not looking for a justification for why I chose and did the things that I did, but the reality of it where's that that that have happened to me and I turn me into an angry
person. It is said that people who are sexually molested either completely abstain from sex or they indulging in my drug of choice became men. I slept around I hated. My life hid my exist hence not led me into making very destructive decisions. And up getting into relationships where I was abused and at one point I was actually raped by one of my partners. He broke into my home and he raped me. I had Anger at this point that I was determined that I was either gonna get killed by my own destruction or Maybe if I slept with enough men, I would end up with AIDS one day, so I end up having children. My first set of children was twins and then I went had a son and then I had my youngest daughter.
With a married man, Miss married Man- and I happen to know some people who were drug dealers and key, introduce me to crack cocaine. I was never a person that indulged in drugs at a young age. I tried marijuana and never worked for me, so I was never gonna touch drugs, but my drug of choice. As I said, earlier was meant, but then it transferred into money and I loved money. So, although I was seen p bull taken these drugs and literally decaying their bodies, just away and watching them taking these drugs, and it didn't matter at that point because all I wanted was the money that was my fix and then an opportunity arise where I was able to travel to the United States and get some drugs and traffic it over to the border and then at the border. I would meet up with somebody and they would transfer the drugs or Canada, and then I did that was so easy
one thing about being in the street when you ve been in long enough, people get to know you well at this point, my name, without their so well that it came in contact with the colombian cartel and they asked me if I would be willing to traffic liquid cocaine from Panama to Canada,. I was offered a certain amount of money to bring back if eyebrow back these drugs. I wasn't aware of how much it was going to be all I was told that they were coming. Shampoo. Bottles? I was shown the casing. It would be an dogs could not detected, and I met up with a sum of dealers They said you just go there. You're gonna stay at a hotel and then you'll come back. If you. Know anybody else, the more people you bring the more money you'll make. So, of course I got an acquaintance of mine to join in on it with me, so I went to Panama and on my way, back with all those drugs I knew my time was up.
Told the court that I'm wrong for her there's too much from you should be taken out of the court. There's too much he was on. Small man giant we'll cut, but I do wish to say that I'm wrongfully imprisoned by now own cover, season, seven dead, wrong, asked me to kill. People he said, may be next available, CBC, listen and wherever you get your casts. Progressive motorcycle presents road wisdom from the motor right, confident in the direction of your dream. It's. The bad then turn around.
Progressive motorcycle also presents basic policy, starting at seventy nine dollars a year. Progress a hanger several days were born to ride rescheduled each company of illegal and will bring in four basic labour policy is not available in all states. I know my story sounds crazy, which it is, of course that is definitely crazy. But not all stories are like mine. There is stories of women that are in prison that are reliable. Like Diana. My dad died in two thousand. But my mom died in two thousand thirteen on the operating table, and then after she died, I started drinking and Diana used to be a heavy drinker, but then she got sober for seventeen years. Then, with the passing of her parents, booze became her coping mechanism. Then her husband Harry had a heart attack. He was the breadwinner, and now he couldn't work,
got very tight. Well, our feels like we're piling up. I wasn't, he wasn't working, from my it wasn't a lot of money. Five thousand a month is in law, but we learnt from acts like fifteen hundred a month. So the reason why Diana was not working was she had severe neck pain. Diana had been working. She actually was a crossing garden, her city, the low newspaper actually featured a pitcher of her holding her crossing guard, sign, bundled up like a snow man, but it got so bad. This neck pain that she couldn't even hold up her crossing. Sign any more encircling paralyzed and I can even pick up coffee. I can even like get out of bed and staffing that's just and tear I guess it was pinching my nerve in my spinal cord and stuff they put in a one.
Fused it together and I have a plate and screws in it right now, and Diana has degenerative disc disease. That was the diagnosis. Her doctor prescribed her as pain medication, but none of it was helping. She had surgery, and this only made Diana more frustrated because nothing was working, the nice I started drunken men, you couple it always actually zero. First time I can move like you know, awake without pain and then she turned to a list of drugs yeah. I just found any kind of anything on the street for pain, relief and morphine pills and coding and stuff like that. The alcohol helped with the pain african drugs help with being then someone offered her crystal meth. So in pain and they're, like
China is not just a few times how once or twice a week for a good free for months straight. I just wanna paying on Diana was drunk and high on the day she found Harry and her friend Alison at home alone. She still can't believe she reach for that gun, I didn't even my god. I don't even know exactly what how I did it. Or how it even worked, because trying to put it in the little magazine with bullets when going they weren't you right bullets and that's why they wouldn't even stay in the little trigger thing. The clip, I just had them in my pocket, I have no doubt it was wrapped up in coal.
The door. I heard her little dog markings on issues. Die, and I had followed Alison to a room at a motel. Looking back she's, really If that Alison's boyfriend was there to kick her out, another she's, clean and sober Diana said? She didn't actually think that Harry cheated on her. This is stupid. Believe anything was happening, we always had a great relationship. My best friend I still haven't, talked just glad nobody got well, you hurt, and I know I did wrong. I got to be punished for it and I get that
I'm totally ashamed. My producers, John and Daniele, met up with Diana husband Harry at its importance. My colleague Daniel, the first time that she's ever been in trouble for anything before Diana she's never been charged with anything she's actually been a crossing guard for twelve years for the city. He went down there after her processing stuff and did stuff with the kids draw on the cement with them down the park. A lot and stuff like that. I mean she was always good with the kids Harry so confirm that Diana neck problems, tat are in constant pain, her, while It was their tear reading making her into a quadrat plate that she could hardly even move. So we went and got it checked out and that her bone and her back was it. You ready, this system seems to us,
or under the rug, really they class or because she does the odd straight drugs as a drug person, so they won't help her at all they just pushing away which makes her just Don't get more, I was not aware of all the heavy structures into our. Could have been so stupid. And then a Monday in March, everything changed wherever a party of the house. There was a girl, a partner a medication that I have to use the bathroom. I have to use it now or I'll actually wet myself, so I holler in the bathroom finished in there. Yet she said. Yes, I started walking towards the bathroom she walked about my walked about just as My wife came around the corner and she said what are you doing? I said I'm going for a fee. She said no you're, not you're. Just a note that garage, you know, I wasn't I was just a big misunderstood what it was. I admit, Well, sir. I shall endeavour to what, for sure but still my daughters.
I draw drive my kids up this year, like cancer programme against me, talkin. To ignore, because on the victims worse still a husband and wife when women my time to make up very truly horizon I can't really talk about too much into However, I went back and I wait for her. That's not my weight. That attacked me she's at all. Diana knows, she's looking at a sentence of at least two years in prison and maybe a lot more.
It means she'll serve her time in a federal pen, Grand Valley institution in Kitchener Ontario it to here. Agri Diana wrote a letter to the judge, in a case to express for remorse I am writing this letter to relinquish my thoughts and feelings to the court crown and, Most of all the victims. I would like to Italy apologise for my unacceptable and disconcerted behaviour. I fully admit my guilt wrong doing and wish that they, both I understand that I absolutely acknowledge how I made them feel vulnerable with physical and emotional pain, man. On the nineteenth day of March two thousand and eighteen was. Undeniably out of character, which was filled with depression in despair. Fear and anxiety
good agony, you see, I was under the influence of drugs and alcohol on that said day, not It gives me an excuse, but it does justify why I behave the way I did. I you The truth to the officers then- and I am We tell him it now. I take full Responsibility for my traces in actions are that horrible day. I know I did a crime. Therefore it is inevitable that I too some time just please not five to seven years of type in a and to the victims. I wholeheartedly wish them the very best, and I am truly sorry for what I had done right now. Diane as focusing on trying to imagine a better future
I only have my high school diploma, but maybe I can do some schooling or something to get a trade or something from what I am finally home and counting up the day. I just want to start out down, so I get hold Diana has accepted her fate, but she still has hope hope that comes from what she learned about herself. While in custody, I've been in here so I can sober and you know, drug free, so. For almost six months and I'm cold with life, Are they give me, as desirable in town offers a little bit of really frightened gettin a five three five Rob I can do things in life without drugs and alcohol I can manage, may be.
I can do that in jail. I can definitely do that out there, because I don't think I could ever do jail without my family without being by them, am a little stronger than I thought I was. I'm, not going to trial monthly guilty to everything, I get it lying about it. Whatever the judge says after that, the crown that's fine to seven years. My is hoping for three and I still say that's a lot by day
next time, unlike jolt, Diana finds out how long her sentence will be and will discover what is waiting for her and another first timer in prison, very horror, movie s. You know everyone's kind of its kind. There's no one else out there. If you will Pekin, although knows I'm looking for I was just dead, quiet welcome to Grand Valley. Life justice produced by John Shipment and Daniel Car, it was It is a mixed by Grand Mcdonald are coordinating Producer is glory on retail Jeff Turner is our senior producer an hour. If nor Ronnie is our executive producer Diana is a musician and its power. She shall lean on at Grand Valley. Here she
playing amazing grace on a harmonica she borrowed in the prison, I'm rosemary green thanks for listening
This has been the first episode of life. George. You can listen to ever so to welcome too Grand Valley right now on the sea BC. Listen and everywhere you get your podcast for more CBC. Podcast go to sea BC, dossier, Slash podcast,
Transcript generated on 2021-05-26.