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Nancy Behind Bars, part I

Aired September 2, 2013 - 20:00   ET



NANCY GRACE, HOST: Have you heard of this Jodi Arias woman?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s going to -- everything that she has coming to her, she needs to get. Let her burn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You see so much manipulation, so many lies and so many con artists in here. This is just like a snake pit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve been doing this so long, you`d think I would learn, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s the same old thing every day. It`s a hard way to live.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jail is terrible. It`s no place to be. But you know, we keep making the decision to come back.

FINA DEAN, 26: Fina -- F-I-N-A -- and Dean -- D-E-A-N -- Fina Dean. I`m here for home invasion. I got eight different charges, from kidnapping to armed robbery to burglary first degree.

My whole family has been incarcerated (ph) since I`ve been (INAUDIBLE) my mom, my dad, everybody.

GRACE: Your mom?

DEAN: My mom is doing 18 years right now (INAUDIBLE)

GRACE: For what?

DEAN: She has two more years left. For the same charges as me, home invasion. I got about eight different charges.

GRACE: OK, now, was this the one with $100,000 worth of electronics equipment?

DEAN: He put it down as electronics, but it was drug (INAUDIBLE) He was a dope dealer.

GRACE: Oh, so you robbed a dope dealer.

DEAN: Robbed a dope dealer. So he couldn`t call the cops and say we robbed his dope.

GRACE: See, here`s a thing I wouldn`t do is rob a dope dealer.

DEAN: Well, most of them don`t call the cops.

GRACE: I would not rob a dope dealer because you will either go to jail or get killed.


DEAN: I mean...

GRACE: What about a regular person?

DEAN: No. I don`t hit innocent people.

GRACE (voice-over): Fina Dean is a dangerous woman. And it`s very important to remember the facts of her crime. This crime is just the latest in a very lengthy resume. She broke into a home, tied up the victim with cables, then stabbed the victim in the back with a sword she found in the home, then left him for dead on the floor while she and her accomplice stole nearly $100,000 of electronic equipment.

All this got her charges of first degree burglary, kidnapping, armed robbery, ag assault. All of these are felonies, so don`t be fooled.

ANGELINA KEY, 32: Angelina Key. It`s A-N-G-E-L-I-N-A K-E-Y. I got nine years for being at the wrong place at the wrong time so -- and it happens. Hanging around the wrong people, you know, it happens. It initially (ph) started I was robbed and I -- instead of calling the cops, I took matters in my own hands and kicked open the door and assaulted people inside. So that`s how it all began. I got placed on IPS because of it. Then they kept coming to my house.

GRACE (on camera): Who kept coming to your house?

KEY: My IPS officer kept coming to the house and would do the surprise searches. And he found a gun in my home that was inside of my drawer, which was strictly for protection, you know, because I obviously am gay and I have two women living in a home. The neighborhood at the time that we moved in was not that great. So they came in and found it, so they got me for possessing a gun by a prohibited person.

GRACE (voice-over): She is about to start serving a nine-year sentence. She pled guilty to second degree burglary. She entered a home, stole about $1,000 worth of belongings that she planned to sell. But a Phoenix, Arizona, police chopper spotted her overhead. She fled the scene, hiding in a laundry room of a nearby apartment complex, where she was arrested. She pled guilty to giving a false report to law enforcement, dangerous drug violations and marijuana.

ARMITHEA BURKS, 42: I`m Armithea Burks -- A-R-M-I-T-H-E-A -- Burks -- B-U-R-K-S. I was sentenced about a month ago, and I`ll be getting out here shortly.

GRACE (on camera): What are you in for?

BURKS: An accident, an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon that I did not do.

GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! What possessed you to do it (ph) with a cigarette? What did he do to get the burn?

BURKS: He just -- he aggravated me and provoked me so much and...

GRACE: What did he do? I got to (INAUDIBLE)

BURKS: He went in there and he got liquor. And I hadn`t been drinking for a while. I no longer wanted to have the notion to want to drink anymore. I wanted to get my life together and get in church. And he just is an alcoholic. He just came with that drug abuse and that alcohol abuse and brought it back here.

GRACE: What are you doing with him?

BURKS: I thought that he was willing to change his life also, as I was, so I allowed him to come here after me.

GRACE (voice-over): Armithea Burks, a mother of five, and now after a criminal history with three separate cocaine charges, possession of stolen property, obstruction of law enforcement and even prostitution, she`s looking at hard time, hard jail time for aggravated assault after she gets into a fight with her boyfriend at the Walmart and burns him in the back of the head with a cigarette, threatens to stab him with a knife, cuts him on the hand, as well as the chest. That could have been a murder. And now five children are without a mother.

MARISSA LEVEL, 27: My name is Marissa Level -- M-A-R-I-S-S-A L-E-V-E- L -- AKA Pineapple. I`ve got four charges. I`ve got an aggravated robbery, dangerous. I`ve got credit card theft. And then I`ve got resisting arrest and tampering with evidence. Those are my four original charges. I`ve already signed my plea, and I`m going to prison for four years for the aggravated robbery.

GRACE: Marissa Level is no stranger to the legal system. She`s a mother of twins, and her parental rights have been completely severed. She can no longer see her own children. Why? Well, she`s already convicted for possession of drugs and aggravated DUI.

Now she`s looking at another aggravated assault charge after she goes into the home of an acquaintance, steals a credit card, pulls a knife on him, and when he tries to stop her, she challenges him to come at her. Coupled with the ag assault, theft of the credit card, resisting arrest, tampering with evidence. The evidence? It`s a bag of heroin. According to her complaint, she either swallowed it or threw it away while fighting with police officers.

ROSA LEON, 31: My name is Rosalinda (ph) Leon. R-O-S-A L-E-O-N, Rosa Leon. I`ve been in and out since about 2006, age of 25. I started messing up. I got into drugs really bad with a boyfriend, and hasn`t been the same. I got three children, two in CPS and one on the way. I`m on probation for aggravated assault, non-dangerous, non-repetitive, and I just picked up a non...

GRACE: But I mean, what happened?

LEON: ... a trespassing. A lady -- I was hanging (ph) on poster boards -- this is the truth. I was hanging poster boards, and just -- I was high. I was on some crystal meth, and started acting -- singing like Cindy Lauper and Madonna, like I usually do! And it was really dumb, and she accused me -- it`s all dumb over a guy. She accused me of telling her I was going to kill her with the hammer. And I said, That`s almost attempted murder. Do you think I`m crazy? I wasn`t raised like that.

And I told the cops, but the cops were, like, You`re high anyways. You know, you need to go in. But I didn`t know they were going to put me down for aggravated assault. Well, upon that, that was a July (ph) arrest. Upon that, I lost -- that`s when I lost custody of my kids because here, they don`t transport you to the CPS meetings.

GRACE (voice-over): Rosa Leon, a mother of two, has a third baby on the way. She described her battle with drugs to me. But you got to remember she threatened to kill a woman while wielding a hammer, screaming, I`m going to kill you, you F-ing Chicana. And now she`s facing ag assault charges. That`s just the latest in a very long list of crimes on her rap sheet. Yes, she`s a mother of two with a third child on the way, a child who`s probably going to be born behind bars. Before tackling motherhood, she needs to deal with her own issues. Will she lose yet a third child?

(on camera): Who is here for the killing? I know somebody is. Who is it? You? Daddy`s girl?

Was this about marijuana? OK, medical marijuana. First of all, who`s sick?

STEPHANIE RENEE CONLEY, 30: I am prescribed marijuana.

GRACE: For what?

CONLEY: For my chronic body pains and different things.

GRACE (voice-over): Stephanie Conley may not look like someone accused of murder, but allegedly, when Conley goes out to buy marijuana, a dispute breaks out and it leaves one person dead, with multiple stab wounds and Conley facing charges of murder one. Now, she`s pled guilty to marijuana in 2010. Now she`s heading to trial for murder.

(on camera): We are here in Arizona in the Estrella jail. A lot of people have asked why did I travel all the way to Arizona. I`m very interested in Jodi Arias. I want to find out where she is every day and what she does every day.

I have to find out what you think about Arias, if anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know this probably makes me different, and maybe that`s why I feel (ph) this evil (ph) thing. But I`m, like...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like, what the hell did he do to her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s a sick individual!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just don`t do that to her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just don`t do that to a human being.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whatever happened back then, you know, that had her mind corrupted like that, I`ll never know. But she`s an amazing woman. She really is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I`m hoping is that she`s possessing (ph) from her higher power now, that she wants to be more like him.

GRACE: Have any of you all been watching the trial?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I follow the newspaper.

GRACE: Do you think she should have taken the stand?


GRACE: That`s what I`m saying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She should not have.

GRACE: Listen, word to the wise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She incriminated herself.

GRACE: Has anybody come into contact with her?


GRACE: What happened?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She does -- I mean, she sings really good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s really beautiful.


GRACE: Why do you say that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because she is. She`s...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I don`t know, it could be a facade. You know, for all I know, it could be a facade because she`s in here, you know?

GRACE: She takes on a personality of what she thinks you want her to be like. And she said as much on the stand, that whatever the man in her life was, that she would be like a chameleon and she would become like that. And so I`m just very interested in what she projects behind bars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve never talked to her because (INAUDIBLE) just look at her at a distance because I never really cared for her. I don`t know her, so...

GRACE: That`s interesting that you said that you didn`t really care for her. Why do you say that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, I don`t know her, so I don`t really care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. A woman just does not go to the man you love and just totally do some crazy, outrageous stuff.

GRACE: Well, he was going to take another woman to Cancun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, that`s nothing. I mean, who knows what really happened, though?

GRACE: Why did she have to stab him in the back nine times.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody knows the real story, though. Nobody knows, only God and her and that man that`s dead.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I get up thanking the Lord for another day. I get up thinking that (INAUDIBLE) a letter or call or someone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We basically get up for medications, for breakfast. Then we have free time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I clean, like, every morning. I have a bunky. We switch off cleaning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I takes my shower and read. I read my bible after my shower.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The only television we`re allowed to watch here is the Food Network. So some girls watch that. Some walk around in circles, you know, trying to get exercise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really, I just walk around or write or draw. I like to play spades because it keeps you busy during the day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I comes out and play cards or whatever and communicate with the other inmates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My day is immersed in enjoying the company of women that I never thought that I would be interested or intrigued by, and just eat chow and watch the food channel, all this good food you can`t eat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then, you know, at 5:00 o`clock, we get our chow, our dinner, and then medications again. And we go to sleep and start it all over again the next day. It`s the same old thing every day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We wake up every day and do the same thing over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One day is like the next here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s the same thing every day, every day, just for months at a time.

GRACE: How long does it take you to get over having to go to the bathroom in front of everybody?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m so comfortable now, it does not even faze me.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You see the door shut...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... just stay down there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s so crazy because I`ll, like, undress in front of my roommate and everything and not care, I mean, totally nude, you know, and not even care. But I won`t go to the bathroom with her in there. (INAUDIBLE) I`m, like, bunky, you got to go.




GRACE: ... got to go when you got to go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s gotten a lot easier. But when I first started coming to jail and the first time I went to prison, it was like...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re not in the comfort of their own home, and so the cell is their home. That`s their living area 24/7. And so basically, their cell represents them. And a lot of the females here are super-sensitive to cleanliness, and it`s kind of known amongst each other that you need to be really clean or you`re not going to do well here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m real, real particular on who lives with me. Most of the officers know that. I won`t live with somebody that doesn`t clean or doesn`t shower. I`m really big on that -- and has hair everywhere. I can`t do hair, or who spits in the sink. Like, I`m just -- that`s a no-no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, it`s a little messy right now, but basically, you know, just keep magazines on your side, your paperwork. I don`t really do much writing, although I do receive mail. I don`t really care too much for writing. And then my roommate does the same down here. She`s a little more neater than I am. So she keeps her stuff in her little bag down there underneath. So -- and then we share the same -- obviously, the same toilet and the same sink. We share the desk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Preggos get the bottom bunk, so we sleep on the bottom, especially when we`re pregnant. We get food, cheese and bread and a fruit. We have to drink lots of bottled water, so we keep an old soda bottle. We get our prenatals (INAUDIBLE) and stuff like that. We can have some books, keep our paperwork under here and pray in our dreams we`ll get let out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I keep my room neat just because it`s, like -- it`s so small. You don`t like to not know where your stuff is at, you know? And it`s hard -- it`s just easier when everything`s just in one place all the time. And then you don`t have to worry about -- I don`t have a bunky now, so -- I just like to know where everything`s at. But when I do have a bunky, then I`m even more aware of where my things are because I`m, like, Oh, I don`t want this lady to be in my stuff, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve had problems with roommates, but I just kick them out. I guess that`s the best way you can say is, You got to go. I mean, I can tell them one time, but they don`t want to do it, they got to go. That`s just how I do it.

And the officers here are pretty good. As long as you don`t, like, go all out and go crazy or fight them, and you tell them there`s an issue -- I`ve been telling this girl over and over again, it`s just not working out. If there`s empty cells, they`ll pretty much move them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re in the control tower of the housing. And this is basically the hub of it all. All the doors open and close from in here. One officer stays in here at all times. The officer that`s in here at all times keeps a visual on the officers that are doing the walks and looking at the inmates and making sure that the inmates aren`t doing anything they`re not supposed to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jail isn`t supposed to be good, you know? But I mean, there are people here that are people that are for the first time. It is what it is. Get from it what you can.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The food is horrible. The food is disgusting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the food here is one of the worst parts for me, increments of 12 hours between meals. I mean, really.

GRACE: I ate the food here. It was not bad!


GRACE: Did Arpaio give me a rigged meal?


GRACE: I had fresh bread, like a hunk. It was like a hunk. I had peanut butter. That peanut butter was good!



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was the fruit rotten?

GRACE: I didn`t open the fruit. It was a big old orange.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those were the bigger oranges.


GRACE: ... Arpaio hell on this! He gave me a fake lunch!


GRACE: And you actually call it slop.


GRACE: Was anybody here raised on a farm?


GRACE: OK, I was raised in farmland, and I know what real slop is when you slop the pigs.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take a Salisbury steak dinner and cut it up, and no salt, no pepper.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Potatoes (INAUDIBLE) regular beans (INAUDIBLE) no salt and pepper.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s because she eats it, right?

GRACE: But what else can you eat?


GRACE: But that`s (INAUDIBLE) food.


GRACE: You make stuff. Like what?


GRACE: What is a popcorn burrito?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It tastes like eggs, so it`s, like a sausage egg burrito. You soften the popcorn where it looks like scrambled eggs. You put it in a burrito with some cheese and some pork rinds, and then some hot peppers...


GRACE: What do you eat?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) or I eat -- I put chicken, some sausage on, popcorn (INAUDIBLE) and I put a little bit of cheese and I mix it all together and make a burrito. Or a manuto (ph). You get the chicherones (ph) and the pretzels and you put -- like, you get cheese. You squeeze it in with hot water and mix together and you pour it in and you let it soak for a little bit, and (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put some hot sausage chubby (ph) with it.

GRACE: And you get all of this from the commissary.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can do so much. You can make sweet and sour...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... with the jelly and the ketchup, and you mix it together and you put it in with rice...


GRACE: Orange chicken.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The oranges or the orange Kool-Aid flavor.

GRACE: So it`s like chicken (INAUDIBLE) like they do...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... and you let it marinate for a little while, and then you put that into your rice that you get out of the tray at night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes they give us mixed vegetables, and a pouch of that tuna with the rice and the mixed vegetables...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The food that we get sometimes is rotten and moldy. And half the time, people are throwing it away because it`s no good. It`s not fit to be eaten.


GRACE: Do you have kids?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do. Fortunately, I was responsible enough of a parent to give my children up and let somebody else parent them and be a mother to them because I was in no position to be that. I was selfless by giving my kids up, but I was selfish as being a dope fiend. I didn`t have time for my kids, to put it honestly, you know? And I didn`t have the capacity within myself to love my children the way they deserve to be loved.

GRACE: OK, here`s my first question. How do you stand being away from your family? I mean, how do you do that?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is extremely difficult.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s the most toughest thing for myself.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My whole family`s been incarcerated since I`ve been in jail.

GRACE: Do any of your children come to see you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I have five children. I have twins, too, and...

GRACE: Good lord in heaven!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... one of my twins (INAUDIBLE) baby and...

GRACE: You have five children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, my kids are grown and I have the 5-year-old baby. My children are grown.

GRACE: Who has got the baby?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And my baby, the 5-year-old, is with my 20 year old that I came here to visit in Arizona. So she has my 5 year old.

GRACE: How do you stand being away from your children?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am so used to the one that has been abandoned in my life. And it is just -- it is by the grace and mercy of God, this time around I abandoned, so and I`m the one who is used to be abandoned, and I abandoned my family this time, so I feel really horrible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me it is very difficult. Due to my circumstances, I don`t have my mother`s phone number. I don`t have contact with my brother. I barely have contact with my stepfather. So not having my freedom and being able to call anyone I want to when I want to is one of the hardest parts. It is extremely lonely to feel like you have no one. And when you are watching everybody else in the pod (ph) get on the phone and call their family and you don`t have one to call, it`s heartbreaking. So I think that`s something that I a lot of women here experience, because not all of us have families with money. Not all of us have families that write us.

GRACE: You have a little ink. Let me see it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An E and a T for my twins.

GRACE: For your twins, 8 years old. Is it a boy and girl?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A boy and a girl.

GRACE: Are you going to try to get them back?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My rights have been severed, my rights were severed in October. But the foster mother is very kind and she lets me maintain a relationship with my children. And my stepdad sees them often.

GRACE: Do you like the mom?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Well, I have been writing to my kids specifically. I don`t write letters to her, but that is a very good idea. I should probably work on that.

GRACE: I said, do you like her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, she is wonderful. She is amazing.

MARINA COPAS: I have been doing this for like 33 years of my 58 living. I`m not proud to say that. And I know my daughters, I`m very lucky that they don`t despise me or just, you know, literally not acknowledge me. I`m very lucky for that.

FINA DEAN: Came here when I was pregnant, my whole pregnancy here, they released me and they gave me a chance. And I did really good. And then probably about two years after being out, I relapsed. It took me four months to come back in here. I got a 12 year old and a 3 year old.

GRACE: Girls, boys?

DEAN: I got my 12 year old is a girl and my 3-year old is a boy.

GRACE: And do you get to see them?

DEAN: I get to see my little boy. Yes, when (inaudible) has to be behind glass, and it`s kind of -- the waiting just to get into visitation sometimes is so packed, he doesn`t have enough patience to stand and wait by the time they bring me down there. So most of the time by the time I get there and see him, he has to leave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you found women here that have been pregnant before in jail that have given you some advice or spoken to you about what it was like?

ROSA LEON: We talked but not really. We usually talk about how the kids are. And if we see each other again, we say, where is the baby now? A lot of us get our kids taken away through CPS. This time I don`t want to lose my baby. I want to keep my baby. So I am hoping with my plea agreement and everything, I can get out, 10 months, no what is it, six months from now. So I got a year sentence, so it will be about ten months I have to do. But yes, us pregnant women, we usually remember each other, because that is the hardest thing, is being pregnant in here. There is a lot of emotions up and down and stuff.

LISA GORMAN: I have an 18-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son. In spite of me, they have actually grown up pretty well. So my daughter has gotten accepted into college. She will be going to U of A with a full scholarship next year, so I am really proud of her. And my son is doing well as a freshman in high school out here, so that`s because their dad mostly has done a really good job raising them.

KIM JONES: It is hard for my family to see me here. I don`t think anyone wants to see a loved one behind bars. My grandmother is real supportive of me. She is 79. She comes up here every week. I love her for that. It is hard to be a mom from behind bars. It is hard to be a family member here, period. And then you have people here that don`t have family. It`s hard to see that.

ANGELINA KEY: Being without your family is definitely the toughest part. A lot of people come in here on drugs. They are doing drugs out there. This is their time to sober up. And they don`t realize what they miss. They don`t realize the family that is actually there by their side until they come in here. By that time it is too late for a lot of them. A lot of them are headed off for a long time.

GRACE: Children who have mothers behind bars, how awful that must be for them. And I noticed that unless I pried it out of these women, they were very nonchalant about their children on the outside. They were very stoic, very calm about having all of their parental rights severed. I just can`t imagine being away from my children, and it not tearing me apart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t ask for sympathy. I just ask for a little bit more help with some of the programs, and little -- some kind of thing for the drug addiction. That`s all. I don`t ask for sympathy, because I understand I am a criminal. You know, I do deserve to be treated bad because I don`t think about my children or (inaudible) out on the public. But I do ask for some more programs.

GORMAN: People make mistakes. We make mistakes. And we`re not the things that we have done. They are just things that we have done. We are individuals. We deserve second chances. We deserve the opportunity to get life right. And I can only speak for myself when I say that, you know, this time this is my last time. This is my last chance. So I hope to get it right this time.

GRACE: I`m afraid when you go back out, you are going to go right back with the same people and get caught up in the same stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I leave these doors, it`s like we return to the party and the people are like where have you been? It`s been like six months.

GRACE: You know what? They don`t miss you. The only people that are missing you are your family.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- get away from something that was not going right for you out there. The man above knows the reason and you know the reason. And you do some soul searching.

GRACE: I just wonder sometimes if you would have died out there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been coming in and out of jail all my life. And I`m finally done, but I`m done because I have grown out of the stupidity, I think. I didn`t get it the first time, I didn`t get it the second time, I didn`t get it the fourth or fifth time. You know? I`m at the age to where, you know, I need to do something different if I want to continue to live.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know the old saying don`t trust something that bleeds for seven days and don`t die? Yes, living with a bunch of females is like living in a pit of snakes. You know, it`s constantly watch your back.

DEAN: You`re around these women all day long. You smell them. You are with them. You know what is going on with their lives. You see so much manipulation, so many lies and so many con artists in here. It just gets (inaudible) to the point where you just don`t talk to nobody. Everybody is trying to get somebody for something. If it is for commissary or if it`s money to get bailed out, everybody is trying to do something. It is like there is no more honest people left.

GORMAN: There is always going to be that personality issue, I think, between some women, but we try to get along. You become family with each other. That is all you have got in here. When you don`t have your own family or the support of your own family, this is all you got.

MARIANA LOPEZ: I don`t like to associate with many people, because there is just so much drama. Like, you can`t trust anything that anybody says. Everything that everybody says is usually just a lie or glorifying of their crimes.

JONES: It is hard to even discuss like my charges with people, because they look at me like you are here for nothing. But to me it is something. But to them, it`s like if it`s not home invasions, murders or something, it is considered small.

KEY: It sometimes reminds me of little kids, because it is a bunch of women who, you know, of course, have their cycles and get emotional and get all these different feelings that happen and all this he said she said.

LOPEZ: I have known some women here for like a long time. So I just stay around what I`m used to, what I know, and I stay away from what I don`t know.

KEY: I feel out of sort sometimes. But when you get to know each individual in here, you become friends. I feel like there is a lot of innocent people here. Maybe I`m too trusting, I don`t know what it is, but I have come to grow as a family with a lot of the girls here, and they are really nice.


LEON: I always keep to myself. And people, you sort of let them come to you, is what I learned, because you start to go up to people and they pull away from you, like who are you. You hear a lot of comments, you are just a crack whore or you`re just a crackhead prostitute, especially when the drug dealers come in. You`re like, come on, get out of here.

KEY: I see a lot of stuff in here, believe it or not. And it is crazy. I just sit back and watch. That is all I do. I don`t get involved with it. I just let it be. It is what it is. Afterwards when everybody is done, a lot of people do come to me to ask for advice. I will give my two cents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is always an ulterior motive. There is always a hidden agenda. Everything, you cannot take anything for face value from anybody. You know? You can swear I have been doing this time with this person for so long, you know, but there is a hidden agenda.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on, ladies. Come on, Leon. Let`s go.

GRACE: When you go to bed at night, what do you think about? Do you think about your children? Do you think about just getting the hell out of here? What do you think about?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Personally, I think about whether or not this next nine years that I have to do is going to go by quick, how I am going to spend it, what I am going to do to keep, you know, keep a clear head and not fall off track and fall into a depression mode. Or, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think this is going to be the time to change my life. Because so much has happened and nothing has opened my eyes. So is this what needs to change my life? Is this what I need to actually go? Because I have had many opportunities in life. I have had really good people in my life, I had a really good support team in my life, where I have had opportunities to do so much with my life, but I still chose to go back to the neighborhood and gang banged. I have been moved to Oklahoma, I have been moved to Scottsdale. I went to the best high school, Chapero (ph) high school in Arizona. Like, I have had opportunities, but I chose to go other ways. Like, am I finally going to get the tools that have been given to me and actually use them?

LEVEL: I hate the fact that I am going away for so very long. But hopefully this time will be the last time, and hopefully this time I will learn my lesson. And that I`m in some ways lucky, because for me this might be the one time that saves me. It could be the one time and the last time that changes me.

I am a recovering heroin addict. And I have been in and out of the system for quite some time now. And I am tired and I am ready for a change. Hopefully this four years I am about to do is going to do that.

JONES: I`m done. I`m definitely done. I`m too old for this. I`m 43 and my health is not good. So I regret that I chose the lifestyle that I lived in my past, because I didn`t have to.

LEON: Change. I need to change. I already admitted to my probation officer that I have been doing drugs. So I`m hoping to change now. I`m hoping for some kind of change, something.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People can come in here and they can complain, but someone is always going to have it worse than you. No matter what you`re facing, no matter how much time, somebody always has it worse than you, whether you are getting 25 to life or natural life, death penalty. Like when women come in here and they complain, like I feel just like everybody should be responsible for your actions. Exactly, like, I don`t like this life, you know what I`m saying, but I`m not going to come in here and start like crying about it when I`m the one that put myself in here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They want to go into what happened to them as a kid or they`ve been raped or this or that. But you know what, even us as inmates, even as cops (ph) and even probably you guys, everybody has had a bad life. It is what you make of it. We chose to find another way out. You guys chose to build a better life. People sometimes have (inaudible). We don`t know what is behind somebody else`s doors, so stop trying to make excuses and blame everybody else. You do this, you get out and you still go back to the streets. It is your fault. So stop coming here. And that is where most of the animosity comes in here is the complaining and somebody crying. And you did it, shut the up, please, you did it. And then they come in six months later, and the cops get used to it, the cops can tell you, they see the same faces over and over again.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve been here many times. They`re like, you`re back, Meems (ph)? Yeah. It`s true.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you come to jail and you like it, keep doing what you`re doing. If you come to jail and you don`t like it, it`s simple. Stop doing what you`re doing. Make different decisions and you`ll have different choices.

GRACE: I used to have all these dreams about when I would see my fiance again. I would dream -- I would look up and he`d be there. They were so real. But do you ever dream? What do you dream? What is the dream? When you walk out the door, what happens?

CONLEY: I don`t walk out the door. I`m always at home. I just -- I am at home. And my mom tells me it was a -- you know, you don`t remember? You got out. You don`t? And I tell her, no, I was like -- you know, and I walk outside and the sun is shining on me and I can feel the heat from the sun and the fresh air and everything, but I never walk out the door. I`m always home.

GRACE: Why does that make you cry?

CONLEY: Because I want to go home. It`s all I think about is my family.

LEVEL: Sometimes all you need is a good foundation. All you need is a couple of months, all you need is a few years to get you rolling in the right direction. This may be the last time. I hope and I pray that this is the last time for me, and that my life will get better after this.

LEON: I tend to think that every time I come in here, I`ll change, I`ll change. I`ll change. But I just feel the drugs pull me back out. Not even however long it takes me to go back to my old neighborhood. It`s hard, because that`s (inaudible) right there, it`s a bus ride over there, and there`s a lot of dreams and goals and situations that we dream of and think of, but as soon as we hit that fresh air, it`s over.

GORMAN: Most of us have dreams that we`ll never see realized. That`s a hard thing. But as far as doing the things that I wanted to do, becoming a doctor, you know, things like that, that`s never going to happen for me now.

GRACE: Anybody got a message you want to send out?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Teresa, if you hear me, I love you and I`m sorry. I just want you to be here for me, give me another chance. I never meant to abandon you guys.

LEVEL: I just want to say, I love my twins very much. They know that.

E.T., phone home.

My mother, please contact me. It`s been quite some time. You know I`m here. Please get in touch with me. My brother, I`m sorry. My step- dad, you`re the bomb, I love you.

LEON: I just want to say to the foster care parents, thanks. My kids shouldn`t suffer from me being a drug addict. And I appreciate you guys and God bless you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to thank everybody that supports me. They still have faith when I don`t.

GRACE: And what do you want to say?

KEY: I just want to thank my sister and Erica (ph) for being there for me through this whole entire thing, every single day no matter what, they don`t miss a beat, I love you guys.

CONLEY: I love you, Jen, I love you, mom, and Brandy, my mother-in- law, my brother-in-law, I love you guys. And thank you for supporting me. And I`ll see you guys soon.


CARPENTER: You know, I could blame it on everything. But when it comes right down to it, it was me. I made the wrong decisions, I made the wrong choices. Everybody has free will. And my free will was always on the path of destruction.

KEY: I just look at it like, you know, I can`t let my time do me. I have to do my time. I have to, I chose to put myself with that crowd and with those people, you know, so I have to, of course, accept the consequences that are given to me, and I have no choice but to go and do the time.

LEON: It`s what we deserve actually being incarcerated in here. We don`t think about who we`re hurting or whose moms or what children, we don`t actually think about none of that stuff, our own children, until we`re incarcerated.

COPAS: If I could do it all over again, I would never lose my free freedom, because freedom is one thing that we have that we don`t have in here. You know, and freedom is very precious. And we, when we`re out there, we take advantage of it, you know. And it`s not something that you play with. It`s something that you guard and you cherish, you know, because freedom is -- is everything to me.

CARPENTER: If you come to jail, just say to yourself, it`s a not a place to make friends. You come here by yourself, you`ll leave by yourself.

GRACE: Can you say "good-bye friend" in sign language for me?