Dolfinette Full Interview


I was about fourteen years old when I left home.

There was no real peace at home. Watched my mom struggle when I was younger. My dad he left early on, I was about five. And really seeing my mom leave from that abusive relationship to another abusive relationship and just not really understanding why my father wasn’t there.

So I just grew up missing something–not really sure what it was but just knowing something was missing. When I was old enough, thought I was old enough anyway, I turned to the streets.

I remember my very first time being arrested. I was arrested on a drug possession. And ironically I felt like I had arrived because, you know, I went to jail. I’m like sixteen years old.

When I came back home nothing about my community had changed.

It had actually gotten worse and I fell right back into it. Someone offered me some crack cocaine and it changed my life forever. Like, I was immediately hooked.

You know, I’ve learned a lot about what led me to prison. A lot. The trauma definitely led me to do the drugs, which led me to commit the crimes which led me to the prison.

Being completely powerless over what happens with your children–I left five. My three sons all were brutally shot. I had a daughter who had run away–for me, that’s the hardest piece of being imprisoned, if you’re a parent. I mean if you’re a mother like me. Like, every day, I worried about my kids. Every single day, every day. In prison they use everything to threaten you with. So they would use things like your visit and  the phone calls and that type of stuff to keep you in line.

I’m a human being and my crime isn’t who I am. It doesn’t even begin to explain who I am. I want for everyone who comes to the exhibit to see us through the art. Understand what brought us here. We don’t look for excuses, we just need you to understand.

Society believes that women should be in the home, taking care of the family. Who takes care of the women? We carry it all and we, most times, we never complain.

Women are in prison and we’re not there because we want to be there. Every woman or girl that goes to prison has trauma. We’re human. And we’re survivors. I am a survivor. I’m not a victim.