The Scold’s Bridle

I am not perfect, this light does not belong to me * I feel like I am living in a circle * Freedom is  a must, prison is no life for anyone and I always leave homeless too * Prison does not work it just gives me a break so when I get released I can take more drugs * You have no control over anything, it’s out of your hands * I feel like a bird that has had its wings clipped, all I want to do is fly away from here * Will she ever know my name? * I will steady the stars that wish to fall * I want to live and I mean really live again * The simple things in life mean so much when they are taken away * It breaks my heart everyday I’m apart from beautiful baby girl, especially behind bars pom lock and chain F@@K HMP * The soul is an angel to be kept pure, untainted and free * I miss you * A lot of young girls come into isolation and they can’t stand the pressure, so they take the sheets and rip them up, this is what they hang themselves with, they don’t tell people about these but the majority in isolation have seen them cut people down from the sheets, a couple of pregnant girls too * I have always loved you fierce * I miss being able to hug and kiss my son, I miss the loving stare of my cats * The system isn’t built on rehabilitation but on warehousing * It is in prison that a woman despite her spiritual rituals comes to know that she is entirely alone in the Universe * How can we recover our imaginations for dreaming? * The more I learn the freer I feel in silence * The floor I lie upon is just like all the world, a cold hard surface * Where is my mind? * There is nothing at the end of the rainbow * Our sentences tend to be harsher than men convicted for the same crime, it’s because we’re seen as fallen women * I have no voice * The smiles and daydreams have left me and strength is all I know * I have never got used to the invasive touch of hands that assert the right to paw my body * We had to ask to sit down, I guess you would call it institutionalised * Who are you to judge? * Out of this mouth wisdom, into this mouth, fist. Turn away to comfort while we writhe and rise. The secret of resistance is joy.

These words were written by women in prison in the UK and USA. I created an art installation called The Scold’s Bridle as a collaborative project with women in prison or with experience of prison. The Scold’s Bridle is a metal sculpture about two metres tall and around a metre wide, these words are inscribed and painted across it. An article on The Scold’s Bridle is in the next Women in Prison magazine. The Scold’s Bridle was on exhibit in Greenwich Gallery this Spring.