When you first meet Sally, you might be impressed with the hair salon she’s been at for years.
But once you get her into the booth, things quickly change.
Sally is a dirty-dealing hustler with a reputation for being rude and condescending to clients and employees alike.
This isn’t the first time Sally has gotten in trouble with the law, either.
She was convicted of assault, assault with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of misdemeanor assault.
Her arrest was the subject of a documentary about the criminal justice system called, The Secret.
Sally and her co-defendant, Ryan Bier, are both currently serving time at the California Department of Corrections, and they were released in 2017.
Sally says she’s “happy and relieved” to have been able to leave the California jail to pursue her criminal justice career.
But when Sally was recently released from prison, she had no idea she’d be doing something that would forever change her life.
“I had no clue I was going to be doing this,” she says.
The reality of prison Sally and Bier are currently serving at the Correctional Institution for Women in Sacramento.
In the early years of their incarceration, Sally was living with her mother in California, and she says she was a lot less outgoing and outspoken than she is today.
She says she remembers feeling very isolated, and that she felt like she was going nowhere.
In an effort to get her life back on track, Sally went to prison to complete her Master’s Degree in criminal justice.
She eventually transferred to the California Women’s Correctional Institution, where she was released in December 2017.
“The prison was a bit scary for me,” Sally says.
“When I first came there, I didn’t know what to expect.
There were a lot of things I didn.
I didn, like, have anything to do with the cell.
I was kind of in a different world, so I wasn’t sure what was going on.”
But she was quickly able to adapt to prison.
Sally started working at the prison in June 2018, and soon became friends with other inmates.
She found herself spending more time with them, working in their laundry rooms, cooking meals for them, and making small talk with them.
“They were all so sweet,” Sally recalls.
“It’s funny because when I would see a couple of the girls, I would feel like I was supposed to be there.
And then they would say, ‘Why you’re not there, why you’re there?’ and then I would just go, ‘I’m not there.'”
Sally says that it was only when she began to learn more about prison life that she began developing a new sense of belonging and identity.
“What I noticed was I was starting to feel like, I’m not just going to hang out with these girls,” Sally remembers.
“There’s a lot more of these people out there, and it was starting me to realize I was part of something.
I could go out with them and just be like, ‘Oh, I feel like a person.’
And that was kind a shift.”
Sally says prison has become her home since she first arrived there in 2018.
She is one of the few inmates who regularly visits her cellmate, who is serving life without parole.
In prison, Sally says, she feels more like a human being.
“In prison, I don’t have to have anyone, and I feel free,” Sally explains.
“People don’t talk to me, and there’s no real hierarchy, and no one really cares what I do.
They’re like, you have a job, so what?”
Sally says in prison, prison is where she feels most at home.
“You know, you’re really in a prison, and you’re like a house,” Sally continues.
“But, at the same time, you don’t really feel like you belong in the prison.
In a prison environment, you can have this sense of, ‘It’s not my house, I can’t leave, I just can’t, you know?’
So I really feel at home, but I think I still feel like in prison.
Prison is a very strange place.”
When Sally was first released, she was still living in California.
She and her mother were living in San Jose, and while she and her sister were in their home, she lived with her grandmother.
Sally had a lot to learn about life in prison and life in California before she could even start applying for her parole, but she says that she feels like she has learned a lot.
“If I had to do it over again, I probably would have made the same mistakes I made,” she explains.
She would have spent more time in the laundry room, cooking, or in the kitchen.
“As much as I want to stay, I really want to go out and do something,” Sally admits.
“So, I hope that this is just the