Politics & Policy

Martha & The Warden

"The Long View."

EDITOR’S NOTE:

This article appears in the August 9, 2004, issue of National Review.

From the Warden’s Mailbox, June 2005:

Dear Warden:

You know me Warden I been a good inmate all these years never given you no real trouble always done my work duty and everything. Just do my time keep my mouth shut don’t bother nobody is my motto and you know that’s true Warden and what I’m saying now please don’t take no offense I don’t mean no disrespect to you sir at all as I said I been a good inmate all these years and a model prisoner and ever since I got me transferred from Sybil Brand Women’s Maximum Security Correctional over to here the minimum security on account of my good behavior and good attitude and I’m grateful every day don’t get me wrong but that woman now who is my cellmate is going to find herself wearing her ass as a hat if she don’t stop telling me how to make an interesting seasonal wreath out of stuff we find in the exercise yard and nobody but nobody can blame me if she one day has to swallow some teeth because I can’t take no more Warden I can’t take no more about making a cheerful collage out of magazine clippings or making my pillowcase smell pretty with dried flowers or keeping cinnamon sticks in a jar by the can or growing our own herbs I’m about up to here Warden and I’m sorry to trouble you sir as I said I mean no disrespect I’ve tried to be nice to the woman but she’s on me every day about window treatments and how vertical stripes are slimming and I’m telling you Warden I’m about ready to do to her what I did to my own mother which wasn’t a pretty sight let me tell you and is how I got sent up in the first place so please Warden please please get this woman another cell mate please sir.

Yours truly,

Nettie Miller #12A-86

Dear Warden:

As you know, the job of prison librarian is a volunteer position that is highly sought after by many of the women’s service organizations in the area. Over the years, as I’m sure you’ll agree, the female inmates of your facility have been well served by the volunteer librarians from the community, which makes it all the more difficult to inform you, sir, that while Martha Stewart is a resident of this facility, it has become impossible to keep a volunteer librarian for longer than six days owing to the interference, reshelving, purchasing, and unauthorized book-club organizing that she has engaged in, despite repeated requests that she not do so. Please inform us of her departure, and we will be pleased to provide another volunteer librarian.

Yours sincerely,

The Women’s Benefit Organization

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