Ode to Your Fantasy of Choking Me
by Renita Phifer
A poem by a woman incarcerated in New York, read by Julia Taylor.
Renita also writes:
My name is Renita Phifer. I'm a forty-nine year old African American Divorcé with a thirty one year old daughter. Prior to my incarceration I've held various positions in social work.
During my incarceration at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility I was fortunate to have participated in 2001 in the first and last Masters Degree Program in a New York State maximum-security prison for women. It is important to stress that the masters program only came to fruition due to the support of Elain Lord, the Superintendent at that time, who protected female prisoners from abuse, as well as sought to elevate rehabilitative programs within the facility.
While attending college I was selected to work as a literacy aide for The Even Start program, where I was responsible for structuring teaching programs for basic reading and comprehension skills, and also basic math. Currently I'm programmed as an advoacy coordinator with five civilian case managers who assist incarcerated mothers in maintaining their parental rights, and to provide short and long term goals for resuming an active parental role.
I'm also an inmate faciliator for Down on Violence, Alternatives to Violence, African American Parenting, and I work with volunteer services civilians to coordinate volunteer recognition functions within the facility.