Breaking Down the Bars : Rockville – “Beyond the Bars” w/ Dr. Stephanie Covington – March 30, 2011 Episode 7

For me, this week’s episode of OWN’s Breaking Down the Bars began with an “OH Tiffany!”. Before I could even settle in, Tiffany was being hauled off into maximum security lock down for allegedly refusing to go to work on her day off. Not even 2 minutes into the show. Scheduled to be released in about 3 days…what was she thinking? So close…it should be all “yes, thank you’s” at this point. Her case worker wondered if the thought of transitioning to the outside was freaking her out a bit. If she acts up, she may not be allowed to leave. Talking through the locked door, Tiffany expressed her fears about dealing with her mother’s illness and whether her release would really happen. On Monday, Tiffany was released. After 5 ½ years she knew the world had changed. She arrived home and was greeted by her mother. With family all around her, Tiffany felt wonderful to be home.

As the days passed, Tiffany didn’t make time for her mother or family. Her mother spent years waiting to spend time with her daughter and she was no where to be found. Not there to help her mother or even greet her kids as they came home from school…her mother felt completely unappreciated. Continue Reading

Breaking Down the Bars : Rockville – “If I Had A Daughter In Here” w/ Dr. Stephanie Covington – March 22, 2011 Episode 6

This week’s episode of OWN’s Breaking Down the Bars pulled down the bars of shame for several inmates.   Hope can be the catalyst for change and hopefully some of the girls got a little bit of  it this week.   The show started off with Hannah as her parents, Shawn and Sarah, arrived at the jail this week for some family counseling. Hopeful about answering their questions, Hannah realized she has no control over their reactions. As the session began, you could tell how tense they all were. How far was the session going to go? Mom wanted to know what made her turn towards drugs. As all mothers do, Sarah felt she had let her child down. As her mom went on about how “on track” Hannah was before she started drugs, she appeared swallowed in the misconception. It is difficult to speak up and shatter the illusion you feel that your parents hold. Dr. Covington asked Hannah if she would be able to express why to her parents. As she went to speak, both of her parents interjected. After the mom and dad talked a bit….Dr. Covington told her parents that all they had t do was ask her. They started to and then they began answering all the questions for her. Hannah had no voice.

The parents went on to talk about how Hannah had gone to many counselors…but she wasn’t able to open up to her mother and father and they knew that she wouldn’t be able to open up to strangers. It was interesting. When Dr. C refocused the family on the original question they had asked Hannah, neither parent could tell you what the question was. Hannah had no voice because they speak for her. I don’t think it is done on purpose, but that habit can occur when you are trying to protect yourself or the person you are speaking for….trying to make it all OK. Hannah finally told her mom and dad that she lied to them so they wouldn’t look down on her. She lied to shield the truth.Continue Reading

Breaking Down the Bars : Rockville – “A Lot to Be Angry About” w/ Dr. Stephanie Covington – March 15, 2011 Episode 5

Breaking Down the Bars….literally this week on OWN. While a couple of inmates worked on crushing their own emotional demons, another stepped outside the unlocked gates. Lots of positive energy filled the episode as a few of the women found a way to breathe a little easier.

This week’s show opened the gates for Nicole as she was re-entered the outside world. As she pulled into town the first face she saw was the father of her children…and not on purpose. Memories of her son flooded back. She entered her new temporary home, the Wabash Valley Work Release program, and struggled with not only her nerves, but also her guilt. A simple dorm, showers that you don’t have to share and even washing machines…a huge step up from the barred walls she once lived in. Determined to make the best of it, she settled in. Her parents arrived with clothes, makeup and toiletries…all luxuries for their daughter. Her mother tried to focus on the positive and allow her daughter to believe that something good can come from all of this. With a new chest of goodies, Nicole was ready to start looking for a job…a requirement of the program. As she sat in her first interview, you could see her wanting to crumble into the chair, but she didn’t. When asked why she was in the work release program, she was honest and short…hopefully that will be enough. Continue Reading

Breaking Down the Bars : Rockville – “An Offender Mentality” w/ Dr. Stephanie Covington – March 9, 2011 Episode 4

Although Nicole started the show on a high note this episode, she landed flat. Yeah her! She was reassigned to a work release program after 3 long years behind the gates. She struggled with the fears of wondering how she will fit into society. Freedom can be scary when you haven’t had it in a while. But oh Nicole…don’t pack to soon. Nicole was caught in the shower with another woman. TOTALLY against the rules. Her case worker was concerned that Nicole received a conduct write-up 9 days before going home. After 2 years in jail without getting in trouble, Nicole found herself us against the wall. Although she was found guilty, they suspended the extra time penalty. She lucked out! By the episode’s end….Nicole headed out the door. I hope she does well, for herself and her children.  

Then there is Hannah. OH- Hannah. Apparently the final step in the C.L.I.F.F. drug program is truly a stressful one. The relapse prevention phase required her to go in front of a peer council who determined whether she was ready to move on from the treatment program. If she wasn’t, she’d need to start the treatment phase of the program over. To Hannah, she felt this was a step to “freedom” however her peer council seemed to have some serious concerns about her relationship with her boyfriend Joe. Continue Reading