Dochas Centre: How Christmas Day is spent inside Ireland’s women’s prison – rsvplive.ie from December 24, 2018

Dochas Centre: How Christmas Day is spent inside Ireland’s women’s prison

Dóchas Centre: How Christmas Day is spent inside Ireland’s women’s prison

RSVP’s Marguerite Kiely visits Mary O’Connor, governor of theDochas Centre in Dublin

Source: www.rsvplive.ie/news/irish-news/dchas-centre-how-christmas-day-13766478

WE keep our word – Thank You Mrs Governor Mary O’Connor

Beautiful photo. Three beautiful women. Mother and two daughters. All smiling.
All seemingly happy. Or rather – happy with the moment.
No one who would look, would probably guess, that the photo was taken in prison.
In Dochas Centre in Dublin, Ireland.

Three women holding together.
Martha in the middle of the photo.
In a black t-shirt with big Irish Red Cross logo on her chest.

On October 23,2018, Martha received a International Red Cross Volunteer certificate.
After the celebration one of reporters walked towards Martha and her family, and asked if she could take a photo. She walked only to them.
She cleared it with Mrs Governor Mary O’Connor.
She took a photo of three women, who were hugging each other all the time.

Mrs Governor said, that Martha will get the photo and she will be allowed to pass it to the family, if it will not be published on the Internet.

In last letter, Martha’s family received this special photo.
It doesn’t matter if we agree with the prohibition or not, or if we think that this prohibition is sensible or not:
WE KEEP OUR WORD
We thank Mrs Governor Mary O’Connor

In the same letter Martha attached a small heart-shaped candy:
“YOU’RE MINE”

“It went without tears … We did not wish for a Merry Christmas, because it’s a bit out of place …” – Annual dinner in prison for “lifers” – Marta is still discriminated against

On Wednesday, December 12, at the Dochas Center prison, an annual meeting was held for women serving life sentences (“lifers”).
For each woman imprisoned in such cases, it was an opportunity to meet the three closest people. A common dinner, a longer conversation, a nice time.
Until three hours of sight. From 13 to 16.

At several tables there was a nice and cordial atmosphere.
The friends of Krysia, Mariusz and Rafał came to meet with Marta this year.
Friends who live in Ireland.
Everyone, including Marta, are well dressed.
Unfortunately, nobody from the family came from Poland.
That was agreed with Marta.

What was different from last year?
Better food.
And Mrs. Governor Mary O’Connor exceptionally kind.
(The same Mrs. Governor, who broke the 4 Sunday prisoners 3 days earlier without spending a pass on the Altenatives to the Violence Project Christmas Dinner)
Mrs. Governor was very nice.
She sat down at each table for a moment and talked to everyone for a moment.

Marta thanked Mrs. Governor Mary O’Connor for the very good preparation of a special dinner and for the fact that she could have been at this special dinner.

And what has not changed?
… Discrimination of Marta …
Everyone could give presents to their loved ones …
Everyone … just not Marta …
Friends did not expect anything from Marta.
But this situation is unpleasant for Marta herself.
She likes to share with others, she likes to give gifts to others …
Only after a symbolic little thing for friends …
Unfortunately…

The meeting was very briefly commented by one of the participants, one of Marta’s friends – Mariusz (in Polish language):

Alternatives to Violence Project Chritmas Dinner without women of Dochas Centre – Why?

Some events are exceptionally difficult to understand for us.
We don’t understand the unexpected lack of information from Mrs Governor to the Prison Service, regarding passes for four women from Dochas Centre.
Was this a change of decision or an oversight?
We probably should ask Mrs Governor Mary O’Connor herself.
Why?
Can you really deal with people like that?
Maybe we don’t understand something?

Do you understand? Explain:

Why Mrs Governor Mary O’Connor didn’t issue a disposition in the matter of appointed Christmas Dinner for four women of Dochas Centre?

Why do you think this happened? Select and vote (you can chose one option or enter your own, short)
1 vote · 1 answer
VoteResults

Was there any word of apology or explanation on the part of Mrs Governor on Monday, December 10?
What for?
Nothing.
Like if nothing happened on Sunday.
Can one feel good about this?

Such situations are exceptionally unpleasant for others in the first moment.
We are very glad, that Martha is already able to cope with that.

Martha remains human and she acts like a human, even if everyone around forgets that they are humans.
Neither Martha, nor her family expect anything good of Ireland.
They don’t expect because they don’t want to be disappointed, but sometimes goodness comes…
Because there is something good in everyone…
We patiently wait until Martha’s goodness will break Irish persistence…

This was supposed to be extraordinary Sunday – Did Mrs Governor of Dochas Centre prison forget?

This was supposed to be extraordinary Sunday. December 9, 2018.
Four inmates of Dochas Centre prison were preparing for a special dinner.
They were supposed to be honored and awarded for leading the courses and classes learning how to prevent violence.
They were supposed to walk with their school teachers through the gate. Through a tiny roundabout. To the Mountjoy Prison. For a  combined Christmas dinner. AVP (Alternatives to Violence Project) Christmas Dinner. Christmas dinner for facilitators. Combined with facilitator from the men’s prison. During the dinner, diplomas were supposed to be given.
This was special commendation.
The inmates could also invite someone of family or acquaintances.
A friend of Martha’s sister came to Martha.
A mum of other inmate, specially arrived via train from very far away.
Martha was very excited about this day.
She was specially preparing herself. Of the excitement she didn’t eat anything for the whole day.
Formally, she was to receive a pass.
A pass which guaranteed a walk throuhg a few meters of freedom. Because that’s the length that separates the gate of the women’s prison from men’s prison.
Few meters of sky without bars and meshes. Few steps on freedom… in a straight line…
Seems like not so much…

Everyone’s ready, everyone’s waiting… and…
…(we will not use an ugly word here)…

Irish Prison Service couldn’t let out, or rather pass for a moment, four women from Dochas Centre.
It couldn’t because…
…because Mrs Governor of Dochas Centre prison, Mrs Mary O’Connor… didn’t send an e-mail… to Irish Prison Service… with disposition…

We won’t even describe the feelings of four inmates…
The teachers were very angry and disappointed. They tried to do something about it, but they couldn’t do anything…

…Only thing left for Martha and other inmates was to ask for a visit of people who came…
…not without problems… they managed to get… 20 minutes of visit…
…Martha apologized to the sister’s friend for an hour of delay and for all the mess…

We’re stopping another timer – Martha “accidentally” receives her e-cigarette

On Friday, June 25, 2018, near the end of the meeting, Mrs Governor Mary O’Connor asked Martha, what she needs.
Martha said, that she still didn’t receive the things, she is allowed to have.
Those things are in the prison reception since long ago.
Mrs Governor was very surprised.
After the meeting Mrs Governor went to the reception with Martha.
The officer on duty opened the locker and… Martha’s e-cigarette fell out of it.
The same, about which we wrote on April 6. The same, which the proson officers couldn’t find.
Now it fell out of the locker by itself.
There was no more excuse to not give it to Martha.

On April 6, we wrote on the subject:

“On March 8th, her friend brought her an e-cigarette. Bought especially for Martha. So she can quit smoking.
It still, until now, can not be found at prison reception.
Martha’s friend, who brought the e-cigarette to prison, already wanted to come to the prison, to encourage the officers to more perservering search.
Maybe they are overworked, or they have so many things, that it is difficult to find just one of them.”

As for the rest of things, the officer on duty said, that she is very busy right now, and that she will pass the remaining things to Martha later.
Mrs Governor comes personally with Martha, but the duty officer is busy (?!)
Martha is patiently waiting again.

We thank very much to Mrs Governor Mary O’Connor for her personal interest in things, that should be given to Martha earlier.

Martha waited for the e-cigarette for 99 days.

After receiving it, Martha turned it on, and… it appeared that it doesn’t work.
Recently Martha bought less things for her in prison store.
Despite so small resources she was able to save some money.
She asked the officer to buy her an e-cigarette, for about 50 euro.
Then there will be no problem with passing it to Martha.
No one will also pick on, if the officer will choose an e-cigarette with some charging tip…

There was so much waiting…

Annual meeting with Martha – Martha wants to pass the high school exam next year

On Friday, June 15, 2018, Was an annual meeting with MArtha.
Once a year there is a meeting with people sentenced to lifetime imprisonment.
The meeting is aimed at summarizing of what an inmate has achieved during the last year, and what she plans to do next year.
7 or 8 people was meeting with Martha.
The meeting lasted about half an hour.
Among others there was Mrs Governor Mary O’Connor, Mrs School Principal and Chaplain Sister Esther Murphy.
During the meeting Martha presented all certificates she received.
Total 18.
During two years of being in prison she passed almost all levels of English language.
Martha said, that she would like to pass her high school exams next year.
Due to that, on Tuesday, Martha was supposed to receive books, so she can study for the exams already.

During stay in prison, Martha learned English language to a large extent.
Oftenly she has no time on the given day to reply to the letters she’s receiving.
She says to the family, that she has lots of homework and she has to study.
She’s not always happy, that she is learning not the things she wants.

The family is glad that Martha is busy.
She’s taking every course available in prison.
She’s using the time somehow.
For now for the benefit of herself.
In future, she will probably share with others what she will learn…

In every place you can find yourself in future, it is worth to use your time wisely…

It was supposed to be a calm day…

Yesterday, on Monday, excited Martha called her family earlier than usual.
With passion, she told them that new cells were shown.
The renovation of a new prison wing is about to end.
Five cells downstairs and five upstairs.
it was decided, that “lifers” are to be transferred there.
Other prisoners are imprisoned longer than Martha.
But Martha was also included in the transfer.
Martha is going to have a cell upstairs.
She had no possibility of choosing, but she still is glad, that her transferring is planned.
Everything is new in the new cell.
Black closet, bed with a drawer beneath, mirror, a mirror in the bathroom, blinds, openable ventilator.
Everything new – Martha figures it’s all from IKEA.
Everything is fixed, so it can not be moved.

In the part common for prisoners, there are: microwave oven, toaster, and a dishwasher.

Martha judged, that Mrs Governor Mary O’Connor arranged everything nice and very well. And she supervised everything very well.
Plenty of people outside the prison, doesn’t have such conditions in their homes.
Entire decoration of cells is a sign of trust in the inmates, who are to be transferred.
Surely every inmate will be pleased.
The only cons are lack of sun, and… freedom…

In the evening, Martha’s family gave Martha other informations…
…from “the world of free people” (who really is “free”?)…
…”from behind the wall”…
From joy… into cry…

‘Prison should be about opportunity not punishment’ – Dóchas governor defends institution against ‘soft’ allegations (Dochas Centre as a great prison with perfect resocialization? Nothing but go there? – words, words, words…)

Watch: ‘Prison should be about opportunity not punishment’ – Dóchas governor defends institution against ‘soft’ allegations – Independent.ie

Watch: ‘Prison should be about opportunity not punishment’ – Dóchas governor defends institution against ‘soft’ allegations – Independent.ie

Independent

Source: www.independent.ie

What the effect of Martha’s meeting with Mrs Vice-consul will be?

The meeting was very needed.
Martha waited for it for a long time, and she was preparing for it.
The family asked Martha, to write down everything, and to say about every injustice, discrimination and violation s of the law, she suffers in Dochas Centre Prison.
Martha wrote it down, but of course, the prison’s authorities didn’t let Martha to have any piece of paper with her (for some time, special attention has been paid to Martha in this matter).
MArtha had to talk about what she feels, and what she remembers.
We don’t know if she said about everything. Probably not. So many things gathered.
Emotions, reliving difficult moments again… At some point it made Martha Cry, her anger about what’s happening around, but also… helplessness (the effect of collision with… concrete)…

Mrs Vice-consul made notes during talking with Martha.
She announced, that she will want to meet Mrs Governor and she will write her in that matter.

Will it have any effect?
Nevertheless we thank very much to Mrs Consul for her help land for her interest in Martha’s case.
The more people, the more actions… everything can be crushed down, tear down, defeated…