Jodi Arias is all over the news. You can’t escape her. Finally after over seven years, she has been sentenced to life without parole. Because I lived there for seven years, everyone is asking me what it’s like there. So here’s a snapshot.
She has already been driven out to Perryville Prison in Goodyear, AZ. On the trip, she was escorted by ADC officers who belly chained, handcuffed and shackled her. Scratching her nose would require a yoga pose. The white van with no markings looks normal from the outside; inside all the windows are covered with heavy black wire mesh and the front and rear seats are divided by a bullet proof plexiglass window. It’s a lonely, isolated ride. If you passed it, you’d never notice it.
Upon arrival at the prison, she will go through a process called R & A. Stands for Reception & Assessment. Sounds like a hotel, doesn’t it? It’s Not. She will be in a cell alone. She will be weighed, measured and photographed. She will see the staff doctor for medical questions and a pap smear. She will see a clinician who will ask her questions about her mental state. She might see the dentist. She will be given an AIMES test to measure her knowledge of language skills, reading comprehension, and math. She will be issued her orange uniforms of t-shirts, pants, baseball cap, bras, and panties, all used.
She now has prison number #281129 that will follow her for LIFE. She has an inmate data page that you can visit on the department of corrections website. https://corrections.az.gov/public-resources/inmate-datasearch.
Here is her ADC picture that will also follow her for Life.
Her cell is 6 ft by 11 ft. The walls are cream cinderblock and the steel is battleship grey, all hard corners and angles. The mattress is thin, lumpy plastic. The pillow is big and very, very, very firm. There is no softness anywhere.
She will be locked down 23 hours a day. On days that she is allowed to shower, she will be escorted. Her recreation will be in a chain link wire cage. She will be alone.
If she behaves and follows the rules, eventually these conditions will change, very, very slowly. Progress in prison is sluggish. She has entered her own living hell, knowing she will never leave that prison.
When I entered Perryville, I knew I’d eventually get out. It gave me a spark of hope, hope that is priceless to every inmate and every human being. Jodi will have no spark. She does have family who will visit her, but the visits will be non-contact visits; no hugging allowed. No human touch.
Everyone has an opinion about her sentence. Sort of like the baby bear’s porridge: too hard, too soft, just right. As a former inmate, I think death is the easy, peaceful way out. Inmates have a saying, “The worst day of freedom is better than the best day in prison.” Jodi will never have the best and worst days of freedom; nor will Travis. Both of their lives ended seven years ago. All the families have suffered and will continue to experience the pain of this terrible loss. Now is the time to leave them all alone. Curiosity should die here.