Behind Barbed Wire

Frank (part 2): Autumn leaves I sent reconnected prisoners to ‘real world’

Sunday, January 24, 2016 Carol Robidoux 0
On a personal level, Frank was anxious to get the records of his conviction because he believed the two life terms, one in Union County and one in Essex County, he was sentenced to were to be served concurrently not consecutively. That is the terms were to be served “side-by-side” not one after the other. In October of 2010 Frank received word that he was correct. READ MORE
Behind Barbed Wire

Misapplied ‘sex offender’ status impossible to remove, places John in danger

Thursday, January 7, 2016 Carol Robidoux 0
Not only do I not agree with the suffix being added to John’s prison record, I think there are now hundreds of people who are being listed as sex offenders incorrectly. If a college student participates in a streaking episode as a stunt in hazing, she or he is now a sex offender? If a group of young adults decides to dive into the ocean in California au natural while drinking, they are all going to be required to register as sex offenders throughout their adult lives? If adolescents act up by removing their clothes or by stealing someone’s towel, the naked teenager is going to register as a sex offender as an adult? Really? READ MORE
Behind Barbed Wire

Behind the ‘Eightball’: On solitary confinement, loss and letters from prison

Thursday, December 3, 2015 Carol Robidoux 0
When John was 17 he was in juvenile detention due to an assault he made on his sister’s boyfriend. John was in the bathroom taking a shower. A friend snatched John’s towel off the rack while the water was running and ran off down the hall with it. John jumped out of the shower and ran after him to get the towel back. As he says, they were just kids goofing off, and he got his towel back. Later he was arrested for indecent exposure and taken to jail. READ MORE
Behind Barbed Wire

Inmate John, Part 2: ‘It’s about time I put my big-boy pants on’ and work toward parole

Monday, November 16, 2015 Carol Robidoux 0
After John’s parole was denied, I encouraged him to put effort into creating art that he could sell in order to pay off his restitution, which he had managed to pay down from $,5000 to about $1,500 in the 25 years he has been incarcerated. I have paid to have six of his pieces properly mounted, matted and framed, including this one called “Evil Ways.” READ MORE
Behind Barbed Wire

Amazing Grace: Evolution of a prison letter-writing ministry

Sunday, November 8, 2015 Carol Robidoux 0
John, a prisoner in California, is a prolific writer, sending me 20 letters in 2012, 38 in 2013, 58 in 2014 and over 40 already in 2015. Letters are often delayed in being delivered so it is not uncommon to hear from him for several weeks that he has received no mail from me even though I write fairly regularly. Even the slightest break in my letter-writing would bring an apologetic letter saying he hoped he had not offended me in any way. READ MORE
Behind Barbed Wire

Eric G. Part 4: ‘Things happen’ in prison, an understatement if I ever heard one

Monday, October 26, 2015 Carol Robidoux 0
A letter arrived from the same prison, stamped STATE PRISON GENERATED MAIL, with the name of a different prisoner in the return address. One of the drawbacks of writing to strangers in prison is the lack of privacy behind bars. I wondered if my name and address would one day be passed around the cellblock by Eric, with or without his knowledge. This letter was from John G. and said that Eric had been held in the infirmary due to a mental health issue. READ MORE
Behind Barbed Wire

Eric G., Part 3: Mental illness and the prison population

Monday, October 12, 2015 Carol Robidoux 0
Early in our correspondence, Eric G. mentioned he was bi-polar and that it was being treated with meds. He sometimes started hunger strikes because he was being deprived of the correct medications, or they were not delivered as ordered. When he was sent to new facility, often the medical orders were slow to arrive. And being sent to a new prison complex also meant his personal belongings did not arrive with him and it was usually quite a while before he was reunited with books, photos, art supplies. READ MORE