Amplified Voices

Brittany LaMarr: A Recovery Story, Part 1 of 2. Season 4 Episode 7

December 07, 2023 Amber & Jason - Criminal Legal Reform Advocates with Lived Experience Season 4 Episode 7
Amplified Voices
Brittany LaMarr: A Recovery Story, Part 1 of 2. Season 4 Episode 7
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever asked yourself, "What's the real cost of addiction?" In this first part of a two-episode conversation on Amplified Voices, special guest Brittany LaMarr helps us tackle this complex question head-on as she shares her compelling journey through addiction and recovery.

Brittany, a Connecticut native, candidly unveils the trials and tribulations of her life, starting with the early exposure to her father's addiction and subsequent incarceration. The impact of these experiences on her life choices forms the crux of our discussions. Brittany gives the listener raw insight into her high school days, the beginnings of substance abuse, and the pivotal point that led her behind bars at just 22. Her personal revelations serve as a potent reminder of the need to challenge addiction stigma and advocate for alternatives to incarceration. 

Brittany shares not just the pains of addiction, but also the harsh reality of survival and the uphill battle for recovery. Listen as she recounts the dehumanizing experience within prison walls and the road to recovery, constantly hindered by the lack of resources and support. This episode is more than just a conversation; it's a call to action to address systemic inadequacies and the urgent need for change. So, tune in and join us on this journey of revelation, resilience, and hope.

About Brittany: 

Brittany is a determined advocate for human rights, youth justice, and legal policy reforms at the state, national, and international level. She has worked as a Justice Advisor for CTJA since 2021. 

She holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut, and she is currently pursuing a J.D and Masters in Public Policy at UConn. Brittany personifies the power of education as an alum of Yale Law School’s Access to Law Fellowship and a Frederic Bastiat Fellow of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. 

Brittany brings her unique blend of lived experience and scholarship to her many leadership roles; she serves as Project Manager of the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee with the Tow Youth Justice Institute, Smart Justice Leader with the ACLU of Connecticut, International Justice Exchange Project lead with the Institute of Municipal and Regional Policy, a member of the New England Commission on the Future of Higher Education in Prison, and Assistant Director of the National Prison Debate League.

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Intro Voice:

Everyone has a voice, a story to tell. Some are marginalized and muted. What if there were a way to amplify those stories, to have conversations with real people in real communities, a way to help them step into the power of their lived experience? Welcome to Amplified Voices, a podcast lifting the experiences of people and families impacted by the criminal legal system. Together, we can create positive change for everyone.

Jason:

Hello and welcome to another episode of Amplified Voices. I'm your host, jason, here with my co-host, amber. Good morning, amber.

Amber:

Good morning Jason.

Jason:

And today we have Brittany. Good morning Brittany.

Brittany:

Good morning.

Jason:

So, brittany, we start with the same first question, which is could you tell us a little bit about your life before you entered the criminal legal system and what brought you into it?

Brittany:

Sure, so my 22 years of life before my incarceration was? You know it was, let's see, I'd say my 22 years of life prior to incarceration had a lot going on. I wasn't all safe, yeah, I didn't have any to start.

Jason:

Where did you grow up? What state did you grow up in?

Brittany:

Connecticut, connecticut.

Jason:

You grew up in Connecticut Still in Connecticut. Did you have a traditional family unit a mother, father, siblings?

Brittany:

Yeah, so I am the middle child. I guess you know. I hope it's not things that are typical, but I am the middle child. I have an older sister and a younger sister. My mother was a single mother. I had a father who through like the first maybe seven years of my life, he was around and present but due to his own battle with alcoholism and addiction, he was constantly in and out of the criminal legal system. So I spent several years of my life visiting him, and you know many of the prisons here in Connecticut.

Jason:

How old were you the first time you went into a prison as a visitor?

Intro Voice:

Five.

Jason:

Do you remember what that was like?

Brittany:

No, because these weren't things that we talked about in my house, so this wasn't an issue. These are sort of things that, like you know, you didn't ask about. You just like, keep moving, and that's how I was raised with, like, my mother. It's like you just got to keep working hard, go to school, focus on soccer, don't think, don't feel, just, you know, move through life and do what you need to do to be successful. And so I think that's a great thing and I think that's what I really need to do to be successful. And so these were all like these issues, the elephant in the room remained. You know, my entire life until you know, I just continued to internalize things that I didn't understand in those questions like, why is he not around? Why don't you just stop, like, why don't you? You know these sort of things and my whole sort of life I've been, I don't know. I'm just a huge empath where, like, I just like feel I can put myself in a position and I can like feel those feelings at which someone else is suffering, and that's hard to deal with when I can, although, like other members of my family would see someone who's just making bad decisions and, you know, sort of creating a life that they deserve because they're making bad decisions, where I see someone who's alone, who's suffering, who's in need of help, who can't get out of their own way, and so that draws me. I don't know how to deal with those. I didn't know how to deal with those emotions when I'm surrounded by people who don't speak about them, who don't acknowledge them or who I don't see also feeling those feelings for my father, there's a disconnect between what you're feeling and what's being expressed around you by the rest of your family. Right.

Jason:

Yeah, and as you're going through, were you a good. You said you mentioned soccer. So was soccer was your thing from a young age.

Brittany:

Yeah, soccer was my, you know, sort of my outlet for a very long time in, you know, up through high school and into college. It sort of, you know issues took place, you know, following my senior year. But up and through then I used to play for Premier League here in Connecticut and, you know, travel the country playing. We won a couple of state championships and all state soccer.

Jason:

So you were good. It was not just like oh, I'm back to playing now.

Brittany:

I'm back to playing now, but, yeah, I know it was definitely a big passion of mine, but it was, you know, after my senior year, once the season ended and I was first introduced to drugs in marijuana and those sort of things that I was kept away from for a while, where I found a much faster solution to, you know, not feeling things, yeah, and so, yeah, that sort of outlet switched real fast for me.

Jason:

So soccer kind of was doing that for you, but it was not as quick a escape, is that?

Brittany:

Yeah, and I ended up being only like a couple of times a week in and out of seasons. Yeah, it definitely wasn't a sustainable solution to dealing with a lot of the feelings that I have just never dealt with. I mean, and I battled in terms of trying to figure out how to deal with those feelings in various different negative ways at which I'm just looking for a way to feel something, and that was throughout high school and then ultimately, you know, it was drugs that provided that for me.

Jason:

Were your sisters using any type of escape mechanism, mechanisms like that, or were you the only one in your family and it kind of felt isolating because of that?

Brittany:

Yeah, no, that's 100%. I very much felt alone in all of this. I'm sort of the only one who's had this tumultuous path. The other two have, you know, maintained that normal for whatever normal is, that trajectory of what you do in life and college and get a job and raise a family and those sorts of things, and I was just sort of lost and yeah, and so, brittany, I have a couple questions for you.

Amber:

So when you were in school and you were doing soccer, what did you enjoy academics? Did you have like a favorite subject, something you were drawn to, and what did you study when you went into college?

Brittany:

Oh, I mean in high school it was real. It's not that I was interested, but it's something my mother very much impresses upon, like all of us. It's something that you know she feels is like the path up, and so she very much is like you need an education, you need an education. So that was instilled in me. So I went to school because that's sort of what I was raised to do. At the time I didn't have much interest in it, but I at the time I don't know that I was half of us, brittany, I don't know that I ever had the capacity I don't know that I ever had the capacity until where I am now to sort of explore interest or was interested in trying to figure. I feel like I was still stuck at that mazl's hierarchy of needs at first level, where I'm just like trying to figure out how to survive life, where I wasn't yet thinking about like how, what I'm interested in or what I feel, because I couldn't get out of like my own, my own feelings, to be connected to something I was like then passionate about. And so I did well in school, very much just did what I had to do to get by, and it still got me good grades. It wasn't until like that second half of my senior year where I went from like all see athletes, I think what was I had like two superlatives and it was either and we only got one in the yearbook because you could only get one, but it was least likely to be in class and like most likely to leave school early or something like those. It's just so you know there's a lot to show there. Like that says a lot to be from, like where I was, you know, for the first three and a half years of high school and then that to be how I end, where teachers are like just write this papers, you can graduate a lot I mean drugs in those six months that you know it should have been very quick. Something was not right.

Jason:

Did your mother know what was going on?

Brittany:

No, because she worked full time. She has a very intense job herself and so she works 40 to 60 hours a week and, like I said, it was just her. So left to our own devices. My sisters very much did what they had to do, but it wasn't long until like after I was introduced to marijuana and alcohol. That that's what I was doing before school with my friends. They would go to school, I would just wait home and they'd come back around once school ended and we'd smoke again and I would be drinking all day till they came and they sort of just if I went to school like my water bottle was full of wine. There's stuff like that, like I just very much was an everyday thing for me immediately.

Jason:

And as you're doing this, you know you're talking about your feelings. Did shame play a role at this stage in your life?

Brittany:

No, no, because it wasn't anything like that was talked to. I didn't know anything about addiction. I didn't know that that was a thing. In fact, in elementary school I won the dare contest with my essay. So, like I, you know it's, it's I don't know, but I didn't nobody talked about it. Other kids in high school were drinking and smoking. For some reason they could keep their lives together and they could function and get to school. But for me it was. I did. I didn't yet have that. That line of like. What I'm doing is different than other people. Just yet.

Amber:

Yeah, um well you're a kid, yeah, so I mean, I think you bring up some really interesting points in terms of like how different people respond to different things. Right, and so to for like outside, looking in, when people are like, well, you know, I didn't respond in this way and so you know there's something wrong with that person. That's just like goes against like the complexity of humanity and how different we all are. And did you find that there were, was anyone in your life that, like a teacher or a friend, that noticed what was going on and may have been able to say sort of hey, or were you just at a point where you were like I'm invincible. You know, at that age we're like I'm invincible, I'm doing what I'm doing and nobody can tell me anything.

Brittany:

I don't know that, but there wasn't certainly anyone at school. I'm always, I was always, since I am a very private person, so this is like bigger for me to to be doing this, but because that's sort of how I was raised right, you don't talk about like yourself, you don't talk about what's going on in the house, you don't talk about things like you're just. You know, it was very much sort of like a business oriented life that I was brought up in. But I had one really close friend and you know he was like we did everything together every day and but he was also, I think, you know, maybe had some internal struggles of his own, which is why you know we connected so well we, you know it was one of, though it was like a brother, I mean that I was with every day morning after school. I mean people referred to us as like one name, yeah and so, but again, that wasn't someone. I think that would have been. You know, that was sort of someone like it was like a fire to the gasoline right, and so he was dealing with his own right on situation, you know hey, bread these.

Jason:

So yeah, you're getting really emotional and I don't under. I don't understand why. So what? What's going on? What are you thinking about?

Brittany:

yeah. So I mean, here I am today, you're having this conversation with you, you know, and a year and a half ago he passed away because he never survived addiction and so we both had our own paths. And it's just hard because I understand that addiction is a disease and what, what drives it, and ultimately it's someone who's suffering, who needs, who needs help, right and we okay, so what can, what can we do right now to honor him? It's hard because I think I'm still trying to figure out how to. I'm still trying to practice any coping skills that I learned.

Intro Voice:

Sure.

Brittany:

Clearly, I've never fully dealt with these things and so I think, doing what we're doing, doing what you all are doing, and giving a voice and giving a platform for real life stories that demonstrate that people who are struggling with addiction shouldn't be cast off you can't incarcerate your way out of this problem. I mean, he ended up incarcerated himself, got out, like those sort of things. This issue still takes place within prison facilities. Prisons aren't the answer for someone who's struggling with addiction, and that was. It's made very clear that.

Jason:

So your addiction and struggles with substances began in the high school years and you were in college. You said 22 was when you were incarcerated, Right? So how did it escalate from skipping classes, playing soccer, then going I guess not in that order, but going to college and then somehow ending up incarcerated?

Brittany:

Yeah, I mean. So I graduated in 2009 and because my best friend, who I was just speaking up, got into a school in Connecticut I had gotten in a couple out of state but I very much just went where he was going and so we both started at Eastern Connecticut State University and the first semester I was on Dean's List. I was doing well, involved in Big Brother, big Sister, because there was always this part of me, as I led in this conversation, as an empath, so there was always something driving me to be connected to something larger than myself, do something for others, help others. So I unfortunately did not play soccer. I could not pass the drug test and this was just marijuana at the time, but I couldn't even stop smoking marijuana to pass a drug test to play soccer in college. And so I did well. My first semester but then involved in the college atmosphere, was drinking, going out with friends, having fun. But for me, none of this was to go out and party. For me, this was like I felt good inside and like I was just like because I was okay, like when I drank and smoked. It wasn't like I was like one of those people who was like I was having a good time, right and happy, but for me it just put me at a level where I was like felt okay to one be around people, one be okay with myself inside my own body. It was like a time at which I just felt, you know, up to like a normal standard, right, yeah, right.

Amber:

Like something that you needed to function in the world Exactly.

Jason:

Exactly, but did you feel like, over time, you weren't getting the same benefit from the same amount, so that you had to up the ante? Is that, is that part of your journey?

Brittany:

Yeah, no, the drinking and smoking definitely doubled and tripled. And again this it was the same story in college, because then it was the second semester that a very close friend of mine from home passed away in a drinking and driving accident and it was with a group of friends at home during, you know, this time of like coping and the memorial and the funeral, while I was introduced to opiates and that's when you know, the spiral sort of exasperated. And at the time again, I still wasn't aware that I I still didn't have an acknowledgement that there was any problem. Right, I was using, you know, opiates, pills, parasites, those sort of things, and but also wasn't doing this with friends at college. So you know, it didn't ring a bell to me. But this was also something I kept separate from all my friends at school. It's like I would go home, use like pick up, come to school, like, and I would still be drinking and smoking with them, but nobody knew that I was also doing this like on the side, like in my bedroom alone, and then like hanging out with people. So this was very much done in isolation. And then it was six months of like doing that, where I was like, yeah, maybe something like I need to stop, and I also wasn't aware that in trying to stop I would get physically sick Like I. Just I had no idea about addiction and so I was.

Jason:

While you're going through this, do you feel, did you feel very much alone? Or did you have, did you have, friends that you were really close with? Or I mean, what was, what was that for you?

Brittany:

So the one friend who had introduced it to me at home, and then my friend that I was I've been speaking about through and through, who was, you know, with me at college, he sort of knew but wasn't interested in it yet, and not that I was pushing it on him, but, like you know, wasn't asking about it. Like it was, you know, one of the you. Just we didn't talk about it, I just went and did it and then would show back up around people and that sort of thing. But about like six months after that, when I was like like I can't stop, I need to figure something out, I joined the National Guard. And that's when I had joined the army and went to basic training in Missouri for six months, came out like the top seven of that class, came back and was soldier of the year for the next two years in the Army Corps of Engineers, then 2011 and 2012. But then coming home and being around the same people with the same undoubt with issues. It was only a month until I was introduced to heroin, because those people had switched over to, you know, from from using pills to heroin and that was a whole different beast. That's a whole nother level that I hadn't acknowledged how serious it was, because, again, I didn't know that this was one of those things that, like, I can't just stop when I don't want to do it, I'm going to be throwing up, I'm going to be like physically ill, it's to the point where I can't function, because there were dates like where I would be like, all right, I'll just go up and, you know, go to class and go to work, and you can't if you don't use. I mean, you just can't, you physically can't, your body is so severely ill when you don't use. And so that's how, around 2012 is when I also, you know, officially dropped out of school and moved back home and couldn't keep a job at that point, got arrested at my first job because I had drugs fell out of my pocket and, you know, at the restaurant I was working at, and they called the cops. So that was my first possession charge. Then it but I guess pause that I had two DUIs in college before then, and so it starts with DUI, then it's possession charges and following those, it was within a year and a half time span or I had wrapped up maybe eight felonies.

Jason:

Wait wait EIGHT Say again.

Brittany:

EIGHT, yes, eight, okay, yes, so, and in that time I had gotten in a relationship with someone who was my friend through high school and I had gone off to college. He had sort of hit that rough patch in the road much sooner than I did from using, and so I had gone to, you know, experience his own time with incarceration and doing what you have to do, or doing what some people do to sustain their addiction. And so, nonetheless, when I moved back home and we linked up, so so hang on a second.

Jason:

So earlier on, you told us your sisters and your mother had no concept of what was going on with your youth, right? And now you're coming back home after dropping out of college, right, and you've got serious addictions. At this point, is it still a secret?

Brittany:

It's not spoken of. People know, but this again, it's not like there's an intervention, it's not like nobody, nobody's speaking about it. My, you know, my mother would make comments like you know. you just need to choose not to be a piece of shit like. Make the choice and do something better with yourself. The only times where it was like I recall it being blatantly addressed is like when I, you know, was so high it'd be like falling asleep, like in a chair or standing up and that sort of stuff where, like, she would actually acknowledge something, but otherwise it was like don't see it, don't talk about it, and how did that show?

Jason:

figure it out? How did that affect? How did that affect you? I mean, did you what was? How did that affect?

Brittany:

I don't know. I think one allowed me a safe place to go through what I was going through. It also like I was living in a place where, like I knew I needed to be better, I wanted to be better, but I just couldn't get out of my own way. So for a while it kept me from living on the streets and being put in more dangerous situations and so, in a way, it could have been a boundary at which provided some safety. But I don't know, I think it still also kept me in a place at which, like I felt the shame and the guilt and like knew that like I needed to do more, I needed to be better, I needed to stop and I would tell me for the last I would say for the last that year and a half, since I had moved home, using was not something I wanted to do. I mean, I went to detox, I went to rehab multiple times. One of those my mom, you know, sent me to California to rehab, but I left in 24 hours and it was like I can't do this and just like, walked down the street, called him from a laundry mat. It was like I left.

Amber:

And so, yeah, brittany, I mean, I think you're highlighting something that people who are not familiar with addiction, and particularly opioid addiction, you know, have this perception. Well, if somebody just wanted to stop, like they had a desire to change, then they just would, and what you're describing is a very, very difficult, both physical and emotional, journey Is. Does that feel right?

Brittany:

Yeah, no, using was not something I wanted to do. I wasn't even getting high anymore For the last two years, I was just not getting sick. So it was like I need to just like you so I can get to work and then or I can get to you know, live, I can show up for my sister. She needs me to like watch her kid for a couple hours. I can be there for somebody as small as those responsibilities were at the time and limited because of what I had done to my situation at the time. But it was really just a means to like function. And when you don't have employment to provide, you know, for money, for drugs and those sorts of things you know, you look to alternative ways to get funding, just so you can not be sick, so you can function. And that's sort of what led me to the charges in which I was incarcerated for, and that was those are burglaries, that's, stealing and selling things for money. So I could use to then try and function in a world at which I was still very lost in.

Amber:

And so let's unpack just a little bit. You mentioned that you know there were multiple charges, so when that happened, did you spend like short stints away and then come back? Let's. Let's talk a little bit about like how all of that panned out.

Brittany:

Sure. So the the possessions I had to the two do us two possessions. None of those led to incarceration. I was out on on a very small bond for those. Well, some of them had been finished and nonetheless none of those led to any time having to go to York and then, you know, maybe be bonded out. The burglaries were committed in the span of a month and within a month I had I showed up to court for one of my possession cases and a warrant was also issued for my arrest. So I was taken from court that day, very much, you know, unaware that that was happening, and so I. The bond was extremely high, it was $750,000 for a Berkeley third, and at this I called my mom. She's like there's nothing I can do, like I can't put my house up, I can't, like it's still not enough money. So and I just couldn't. In, my partner at the time, who I had said I had gone to prison for some of these things before, was very blown away if I high, high, how high that bond was for a charge like this, and so I went to York that night. I was sick the entire bus ride up to the prison, vomiting, chills, fever, all of that.

Jason:

So hang on. You're 22 years old, right? You're 22 years old. You're sick beyond belief, don't know when you're going to get to to be able to get something to make you feel better physically again, going into a prison situation where you have no idea what's facing you. And you're again, you're 22. I can only imagine what the how you're feeling in terms of just anxiety at that point.

Brittany:

Yeah, and a lot of. I mean yeah, the anxiety was there. I was. I had totally no idea because, you know, I didn't function with any knowledge or notion or thought about what consequences would be. I was just trying to survive. So I wasn't sitting there saying, okay, well, a birdie carries, you know this, many minimum years and you know this is what would happen to me if I do this like that never crossed my mind, right? I never thought about consequences before any of the things that I did, because they were done out of like. For me it was a matter of survival. It was not a matter of of choice. Like I had done a lot of like smaller crazy things to get money and term you know the bottle cans are cashing in change like all those stupid things to get money where it's like, doing something like this was like a last, my last, like option, and I definitely wasn't done because I was sitting there saying I have other options and so it was okay, like there's nothing, there's no other way for me to get money, to not be sick right now, and I have to do it like within this amount of time where I will be sick in the next three hours, like it's. It's just such a horrible life, it's just so. It's just a horrible way to live. I mean to just go through life trying to find a way to survive.

Amber:

Yeah certain level of desperation and survival that did not allow for clear thinking.

Brittany:

Right and before so that anxiety that you speak of. Yeah, I had no idea what I was in store for because I never thought about what would like at that point. Like I didn't care, like whatever I get a rest, like I just need to not be sick, right, right.

Jason:

So before you go too much for a rest, or I just I don't know how many people have said this to you, but I'm sorry you went through all that and I'm sorry that there wasn't help for you sooner, before it turned into feeling like you had to steal to survive, feeling like you had no other option, and I'm sorry that that happened to you and that the systems aren't in place to catch it, catch you and be there and hug you and tell you this is, everything's gonna be okay, and somehow figure out how to help you.

Amber:

So you know what? 100%, 100%. So, Brittany, when you're sort of so sick, you're on your way. You don't know what's gonna happen, what happens when you get there.

Brittany:

You go through the entire dehumanizing process of what entry into a prison facility is, and so I don't know if we get into detail of what that entails. But right aside from once you enter and you're just in a holding cell in my anxiety just like skyrockets Once I'm locked in a room and realize like I am totally at the like, at the discretion of somebody else, allowing me to move, allowing me to like, I started getting those feelings of what's the word Clostrophobia? Yes, yes, yes, I guess extremely claustrophobic, because there's not like, there's no like open windows. There's a lot of people in this room. I'm like my skin feels like it's burning and like I don't feel like I have air and there's no, I have no idea when these people are gonna open a door again. It's extremely scary and my anxiety was really bad. Once you are totally, I started to realize like I am in a situation in which I have lost all of my freedom, like my freedom to move, my freedom to do anything, and all I wanted to do was call home and call my mom, and that's not a thing. And then you go and you, you know, your name turns into a number, so you become a number and then from that number you get, you know, put into a shower where you're naked and then just become a body with a number, and then you go and you sit in another room waiting to be processed. So you're, in seconds, any identity that you had is stripped of you and you are immediately put in a place in which you have lost, like, all of your humanity. And then you and so I'm sitting in that room again, the anxiety of like just waiting and people passing a room and you have no idea when you're ever gonna be let out of it. And so you get seen by a nurse, but again I was sick all night. It wasn't until the next morning that I, I was it. It was the next morning where the nurse, or whatever they'll give methadone, and so I was able to get that. Halfway through the day, my, I did get a and I was just. I was like, are you okay? And when I first came, it back to fathom.

Jason:

I was really sick all the time I'm like well, I'm fine. Sorry, how did it the first?

Brittany:

time and then stuff, just like a lot of this is blur. It's completely okay, but how could it possibly not be crystal clear to you the condition that you went in? Once I went to court again and then I was. I went home that first time but it was and so I then went into, checked myself into a rehab and it was through that process that many of the other warrants came out and the other towns had talked like crimes, looked similar. I very much did not do these like with any sort of level of criminal intelligence. It was very much like it's definitely this person that did it and then once, like you know, dna and stuff came back. It was, you know, I very much wasn't in secret in doing any of this, so a lot of it was, which I think even makes very much like very clear that these were acts of desperation. There's were unplanned like unthoughtful, you know, crimes of opportunity that harmed other people, physically, harmed myself, you know, caused a lot of damage at which there was like I just was not in a place to grasp the entirety of what was happening To me. I just saw the end goal, which was like using within the hour, like you know, and so, nonetheless, as multiple warrants come out, I have to I went into a program and then from that program I went to a longer program. So I tried to sort of create this trajectory of like sobriety and get on this path of you know, I don't know finding myself, I guess, or sobriety I don't even know that. I knew that. I didn't know myself. I think I just needed to learn how to not use. And so I was in programs for a while. But in the process, as I said, I believe it was four or five other warrants had come out for like that one month at which I was like committing these crimes Right, and so I had an attorney at that point, and so it was planned show up at this police department, turn yourself in. You know, we hope that the judge is okay with like you remaining on house arrest with a bracelet and in being unbonded. And so that was sort of the risk we were taking. Every time I turned myself in is like the hope that the judge would be okay with the situation that was already set up and then eventually merge all the cases from the different towns into one location and one jurisdiction. There was one judge at which they were not okay with that. So I did have to go back to York one time, which I turned myself in. But the following morning I got a hearing where, after the case was brought into the heart for jurisdiction where the others were, where that judge then re-decided that I could be put back out on the bracelet. So the complicated process of the judicial system. But once it was all consolidated into one jurisdiction I was on house arrest for about a year until my final sentencing. And so in that year on house arrest I do what you're not supposed to do in recovery, and this is because I still wasn't looking to understand myself. I was just thinking that I could operate who Brittany was and just not use. So there was no time at which this year I was diving into why I was using it was just like okay, figure out how to live and not use, which wasn't the right perspective to have, but again, still very like naive and unaware of.

Jason:

It's how you are brought up. You don't discuss it.

Amber:

It was like let's just fix this problem without really figuring out why or what's underneath.

Brittany:

Right, and so I struggled during that time I got into a relationship with what they tell you not to do with somebody in rehab, and so well, I was on the bracelet. And so when I got out of like that six month program and I was living in an apartment with that person for six months up until my sentencing, with the bracelet on and it was I found out I was pregnant during that time, and then by the time I was sentenced for the crimes that had occurred a year and a half before then, I was seven months pregnant, and so at my sentencing, when I got sentenced to four and a half years, I was seven months pregnant.

Jason:

Okay, amber, so let's take a break there in the conversation. We actually recorded the portion that everybody's been listening to several months ago and now it's actually about a week before Thanksgiving when we're recording this and we made the decision to break this episode into two pieces.

Amber:

Yeah, I think that there, as we were listening and in the sort of post-production process, we realized that there were two distinct sort of time eras and themes that really worked to put this into two distinct podcasts and really fully tell the story, because, as we do with every podcast, we have to make some editorial decisions. But this is such a robust story that it really warrants two episodes.

Jason:

Right. So the first part we heard all about Brittany and some of her early life experiences and what led her into some substance abuse and into the criminal justice system and how she dealt with that. And this is our first cliffhanger, because where we leave it, she's pregnant and we're going to cover a lot more information in the second part.

Amber:

Yeah, I mean I think that's one way to describe it a cliffhanger. So I don't know if we're moving up in the world or if it just sort of shook out like that. But that's the beautiful thing about this podcast is that the conversations are real and they develop in the way that they do, and it's up to us to provide this platform and present it in a way that is great for the listeners to really understand the whole story in a way that comes directly from the person who was impacted.

Jason:

So I'm really excited about it. Yeah, and then the good news is, people aren't going to have to wait too long for a part two.

Amber:

Yes, because we are definitely. We're going to release them. At the same time, however, it will give you the chance to sort of break it up into two parts for the time.

Jason:

All right. So any other thoughts on that? Are we good to round this one out?

Amber:

Yeah, I think so Everybody. Stay tuned for the next episode that will cover sort of chapter two or the next chapter, because there are always more chapters to be talked about.

Jason:

Exactly so, until next episode, Amber we'll see you next time.

Speaker 5:

You've been listening to Amplified Voices, a podcast listing the experiences of people and families impacted by the criminal legal system. For more information, episodes and podcast notes, visit amplifiedvoicesshow.

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