LA Jail inmate

As part of our “In My Experience” series spotlighting the personal stories of our listeners, we talk with a panel of former prisoners about their crimes, their experience inside prison and their struggles to make it on the outside.

The "In My Experience" series is produced with help from the Public Insight Network.

Linda Field, former prisoner who served 19 years for killing her abusive husband
James Smith, former prisoner who served four years and eight months for assault with a deadly weapon (his hands)
Carl Irons, former prisoner who served 24 years for second-degree murder
Beverly Henry, off-and-on prisoner from 1970-2009 for sales of heroin, prostitution and armed robbery

  • Chrisco

    Very good conversation – public radio!!

  • familysupport

    as a family member with someone inside..I want to say we need more media programs that bring the realities of prison life, how it affects the families and those we love inside and to forgive them and give them a chance when they come home

  • Bonnie

    I’d like to know what I can do to support a friend I’ve made through a penpal program at Chowchilla. She’s there for murder, though she says she didn’t do the murder. We send letters and I really look forward to our communication. The thing I have trouble with is that she says she didn’t do it, though the newspaper article I read about her seems to point in the direction  that she did. I want to trust her, but I wonder what really happened.  How can I respect her and support her best?

    • Gail

      Bonnie, glad to hear you are writing to her, prisoners really need outside support. Two important things to keep in mind, MEDIA is often wrong, they do not get all sides of the story before they publish and they sell papers and airtime because of the drama etc. Look at celebrity gossip and how popular the crime shows are…people eat this stuff up and media will print pretty erroneous stuff. Secondly, please don’t base your friendship on her guilt or innocence, just be her friend, be there to listen and support. Prison is an awful lonely and scary place and no matter what led her there, she needs you.

  • Linda Field

    I was on the program yesterday.  Someone called in and said how difficult it was on the family.  She was so correct.  Our,children are as much in prison as we are, even more so.  Myl youngest daughter begged to be allowed to stay with me in prison.  They can’t understand what they did wrong to be torn away from their parent.  It was very hard for my father to try to raise my chidren alone, but he did it.  Alot of my family turned their backs on me, even now.  It was and still is heart breaking.  We are still paying for our crime, but so are our families.  Please don’t turn your backs on those who are in prison, they do new your love and understanding.  Linda Field

    • Sierracitypatti

      We want you to speak at our church Sunday morning, May 20 in Downieville – Contact me –

  • Kenji Yamada

    This was moving and instructive to hear.  Thanks, Forum, for airing the voices of people who aren’t rich, powerful or influential.

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