My Story

AuthorJana Bergman
Published date01 May 2022
Date01 May 2022
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2022, Vol. 38(2) 162 –172
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/10439862221095619
My Story
Jana Bergman
My name is Jana Bergman. I am currently 37 years old and am currently incarcerated
at Denver Women’s Correctional Facility located in Denver, Colorado. I was sen-
tenced out of Jefferson County to a period of 208 years. I have been asked to write my
story. After much prayer and thought, I am unsure of what exactly to say, or even
where to start. As I write this, I hope that it is understood as it is intended and that I
cover everything needed to fully grasp my journey up to this point.
For the first ten years of my life I grew up constantly moving not just between
homes, but to different states. My father was career military and we went with his job.
It was my father and mother, my older brother and myself. In my early childhood, my
brother always picked on me. Initially it was nothing extreme, just sibling stuff. As we
grew older, his abusive behaviors began coming out. I recall him playing a lot of
sports. He really took to football and I became his tackle dummy. Now a 175-pound
teenager, he was much more capable of actually hurting me. I was shy, sweet, and a
teacher’s pet with good grades. I wasn’t exactly popular either. As the abuse from my
brother continued, I began acting out. I’d steal my mother’s cigarettes and share them
with the “cool” kids to fit in and belong. Around this time, my brother began drinking
heavily and often and that only fueled the violence. He got into fights at school, hit my
mother, got into fist fights with my father, and hit me regularly. My father worked a lot
and was “not to be bothered” as per my mother. She would feed him information as she
deemed necessary about the goings-on in the home. He had no idea the severity of the
situation under his roof. I can recall having to strategically hang large decorative pic-
tures and move furniture to cover the holes created from my head, his fist, objects, or
my body. The extensive damage to the house was nothing that couldn’t be fixed. I, on
the other hand, didn’t come away unscathed. My 911 calls and attempts at telling my
father were half-hearted. Even at my own expense, I felt a need to protect him. I lost
sight of myself and my worth from 12-21 years old, and it only continued to get worse.
My mother began drinking with my brother. They both lost their licenses from DUIs
and she enabled him to turn a blind eye to the abuse. It was during this time that I
delved into the drug scene, using to escape my reality or at least numb it. Although
those were my initial intentions, I found a great deal more pain taking this path and
experienced things no young girl growing into womanhood should. I have been robbed
many times; I have been raped and taken advantage of numerous times; I have been in
so many unfortunate situations. That alone is a story.
1095619CCJXXX10.1177/10439862221095619Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticeBergman

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