Part 3

All this week we've been telling you about Tammy Cooper who was paroled from prison, and was out for about six months before running into big trouble. Trouble that could send her back to prison to face a life sentence. Her initial crime was forging a $65.00 check, and after two paroles that were revoked and two escapes she ended up spending almost sixteen years in prison before her release.

But now she's free, out of prison and on her own. She's also learning the hard way that life is all about choices because it didn't take long for her to make a bad one. After staying at the Salvation Army for three weeks - she was kicked out because she started drinking again. She then moved into a halfway house and was kicked out of there too because of her drinking.

Her choices started causing big problems when she borrowed a friend's car one day to do her laundry. She never made it to the laundromat but instead went to a convenience store, walked in and made one of the worst choices of all.Tammy regrets it now. "And the next thing I knew I was drunk, and do you know I didn't buy no more than a six pack of beer and I blacked out."

This time her drinking landed her in the Elmore County jail. Now, Tammy faces the possibility that her parole maybe revoked. Four people from A.I.M., Aid to Inmate Mothers, came to visit her and to say that they are worried she may end up back in Tutwiler. One of them Kate Richardson, a former inmate who is her inmate sponsor. "I'm hurt. I'm hurt to the point because I'm a lifer. This is her chance and my chance as well, and it just only takes one little moment to make a mistake and there's your life gone down the drain again." Cindy Meador is another one who visited Tammy. She's a recovering alcoholic and is her alcoholic sponsor. "I said Tammy I'm angry. Part of what I say is anger, because you had the opportunity to call a dozen people at any time and you didn't do it. You never told anybody you wanted to drink. Do you really, do you really think all of the rest of us who have been through this have never wanted a drink from the day we stopped? Everybody that's ever recovered from alcoholism has had times when they wanted to drink. You're no different."

As Tammy remains in the Elmore County jail she somehow knew what her friends from AIM said was true. "I don't know how to stop. How do I make myself not do it? Can you tell me? Can you tell me how to pick up the phone and call somebody and trust somebody with everything in me? I've never trusted anybody. Anybody I ever trusted violated everything in me. Anybody I ever trusted."

After two escapes and two paroles from prison, this is her fifth attempt to make it on her own. The Parole Board now has to decide her future. Will she be given another chance or be sent back to Tutwiler Prison? Tammy is scared. "And damnit, I gave it the best try I've ever given it my whole entire life. The best, and did good. I'm a drunk. I'm gonna slip but god dang they're getting father apart and they're not as radical and I stop myself. Doesn't that count for something?"

Tomorrow, the Parole Board decides - another chance or more years behind bars.