10:18 / 25.02.2020
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“Women behind bars”: Despair has led me to commit a crime (Part 2)

Kun.uz creative team visited the women’s colony No. 21 in the Zangiota district, Tashkent region, where they got acquainted with the lifestyle of prisoners and prepared a series of programs.

In the previous report, lifestyle in the colony was described. In this article, we have looked at the inner world of women and their thoughts.

The causes that led convicted women here, the life scenes in the prison, the grief and hatred, the loneliness and sadness... Our first interviewee told us about her way of life, her regret and despair.

“I committed the crime knowing that it is an unlawful act”

I have many reasons to come here. Family troubles, shortages, and helplessness have led me to this place. I was involved in the heroin trade. I have served 6 years of my sentence, there are still 5 more years pending.

I committed the crime knowing that it is an unlawful act. Why did I sell heroin? My children were young, I broke up with my husband. I could not go out and work. I was the only breadwinner in the family. Poverty led me to commit a crime. I had to breastfeed two of my daughters. My mother was jobless. My father was also in prison for the same crime. Two of my brothers were still young.

I became involved in this criminal act in 2007. That year, my two daughters were in the intensive care unit of the hospital due to anemia. There was nothing at home. I came home from the hospital. My daughters needed medication. I didn’t know what to do. I went to the basement of our house and cried there. Then I saw a hole.

When I checked properly, I found a bottle of heroin hidden by my father. I immediately called my father’s best friend. I told him about all the happenings and my despair. He came and gave a little money. I was able to maintain my family. So, I began to sell the heroin little by little.

“We are not afraid of the work, but society has already abandoned us”

When I was convicted for the first time, I was released on parole. I had to pay 25% of my income to the state. If I could not pay within 3 months, I had to go back to the colony again.

They issued a temporary document as a replacement of the passport. When I was looking for a job, I was constantly refused. Even I went to the khokimiyat and asked for a job. I used to get the same “no” answer everywhere. My children were hungry at home, I was the only breadwinner of the family.

I was desperate and I turned to crime again.

We had already sold all sellable items in our home. Many people may think: “After release, convicted people don’t like to work. That’s why they pretend they cannot find a job”. No, this is not true. We also work. We are not afraid of the work. It is just society has already abandoned us. We have become unnecessary people.

“It was very difficult to wear the colony uniform”

When I was given a uniform, many things went through my mind and I was so scared. When I told my mother about it, she comforted me and said: “You are not wearing a shroud. It is a day’s suffering, it will pass soon, you will become free and then you will get rid of everything. Be patient.”

I realized that a loaf bread is enough to make your living. Much has changed in my life since I came here. I’ve been slandered a lot. It's very difficult to live here.

I don’t know how the hell looks like. But I compare the prison to a hell of this world.

“I consider that I’m already not alive for the last ten year”

The most annoying feeling here is the pain of missing your beloved ones. I regret that I could not spend more time with my children, I hurt my mother, I offended my brothers downcast, and I ruined my life.

I consider that I’m already not alive for the last ten year. After being imprisoned, I have learnt to appreciate the life.

“Even one’s thoughts become limited here”

After my release, I plan to accomplish many things. I need to bring up my children. I need to rebuild my house.

Also, I have plans to do business. If there is a sponsor, I will have a chance to recover myself.

I have a lot of plans. But here, even one’s thoughts become limited. Because I have been living the same routine for 6 years.

“Uniformity does not change a person, it will only make him suffer”

The staff of the institution often repeats about changes and reforms. I can’t imagine the conditions outside.

We are told that we need to change. It is hard to change here. Uniformity does not change a person. I think the diversity expands a human thinking.

Uniformity changes nothing. One can only suffer from uniformity. We have only one thought here: to be full, not to quarrel with others, expect that our sentence term expires soon… These are our thoughts.

In the prison, women do not want to see each other because of the same looks every day. We get nervous due to homogeneity.

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