11-19-2015 Amber Batts letter from Hiland prison – Silver Linings

My son has been the one to bear the brunt of this ordeal. He has had to step into the role of caretaker of our home as well as for me at times when I call him, anxious and fearful and worried that we will lose our home where we have lived for over 12 years.

Living somewhere for 12 years is something I find pride in. As a child, my mom moved around so much it was usual for me to start at one school and end at a different school by the end of the year. We moved all around Juneau, Anchorage and even Tacoma Washington.

What I have done, I have always done for stability. Stability, consistency and love are the things I wasn’t offered much of as a kid, or a teenager, and being able to provide for my two children has always been the driving force. I haven’t let go when I want to, because I knew my kids needed me, and as I see now, I also needed them.

My son is now 22. A man. I have missed his last two birthdays because I was in jail. My daughter will soon be 15, and I missed her 14th birthday. Since July 9, 2014, my life has been a whirlwind of jail, bail hearings, restricted conditions of release, and finally sentencing.

I am now sentenced and awaiting word from the program that would allow me to go home with an ankle monitor. I would be able to work, pay my bills and be with my children. I had to spend some time at Hiland (prison) before I could apply, I was told by the probation officer. I hope that the powers that be find that I have done that. I have been here almost 3 months, and so much has changed.

According to time and accounting here at Hiland, the time for sentencing and out on bail on ankle monitor- all counts. I was sentenced to five years flat, for sex trafficking in the 2nd degree. Flat means no probation. I have to serve 40 months, with good time, and the remaining 20 months are mandatory parole.

I have lost and gained so much in the last 16 months. I have lost my freedom, holidays and birthdays with family and friends. I have lost my husband and any trust I may have had in him. I have lost close to 30 pounds. I have lost some belief in myself and my decision-making.

I have gained a sense of faith, a sense of a silver lining in the darkest of clouds. I have gained an understanding of who I am as a person; my weaknesses, my strength, my fears and my hopes. I have found that family and true friends are worth more than their weight in gold, and in the strangest of places I have found joy and peace.

My son has picked up the eviction repossession and disconnection notices that have scattered at his feet. He has answered my phone calls and repeatedly told me he has it handled. Don’t worry mom.

My friend who is more like a sister, has walked through this with him and I, and my daughter too. Even with the family, job and college classes, she still is able to be my power of attorney and watches over my measly bank account so my son can have help and won’t be doing all of it alone.

Without my family, my friends, and the support from people that have only heard about my case and reached out to me, I would be an empty shell of the person.

At times I waver between unbelief of the consequences of running an escort agency, with anger and fear overtaking me, and other times I find my courage by knowing that now is not forever, and this time apart from the ones I love is strengthening us all in ways unknown right now.

I was listening to talk radio yesterday which I never do, and ‘hometown Alaska’ (a radio show) was discussing labor and sex trafficking. They were using ambiguous terminology, ‘comprehensive resources’ and ‘public outreach’ with no real examples or action behind the words. This is where Alaska is left, holding the money bag, intending to fight trafficking and embarking on a shallow combat. It was reminiscent of an overbearing dad walking into a dark room with the big stick to break up a pillow fight when he thought they were beating each other, all the while in the next room someone is tied to a chair and is really getting their ass whooped. The overbearing dad is hell-bent on making sure the pillow fight kids are being good, but will hear nothing or have any concern of the next room where there is an actual problem.

This is Alaska right now, looking in the wrong direction, geared up with the wrong mindset and ignorant of what is right next door.

I don’t know what the coming days will bring, I don’t know what will happen with the ankle monitor. I don’t know if I will be able to talk to my son and daughter on the crappy securus phone network when the money runs out, but I do know one thing for certain: now is not forever and I will be able to be strong and speak up when the time comes.

Amber

Amber

If you would like to write Amber (letters are always a welcome diversion) or send books (one of the best ‘escapes’) information on how to do so is here.

Amber always needs more funds to maintain her ability to talk with her son and daughter on the phone from her prison.

THANK YOU for your support and for sharing this blog.

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