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A Life Sentence: Lana Williams Reflects On Her Time In Prison

Women's Voices From DCI - Logo 1
Juliet Fromholt

Lana Williams reflects on a typical day in prison, and how she’s getting through a life sentence without parole.

Highlights from the audio:

“You know, some days I can go through the day like a breeze. Almost like I’m at home. Literally free at home. Without a care in the world. But then there are other times when I feel really exactly what this place is sought out to make you feel like. And that is closed in, away from everyone and everybody.”

“I don’t look for pity parties so I stuff, I keep a lot of stuff held in. And I’ve been told it’s not ok, it’s not good to do that. But it works for me. It works for me because I know not everyone here, not staff, nor friend or foe, has my best interest at heart so. A selective few may, and when I say few literally counting on one hand that I can pour my heart out to and talk to.”

“But it works for me because you have to kind of figure out your own way of dealing and maintaining in a place like this without losing your mind or becoming so depressed and sad that you literally want to give up life itself. Which I have seen throughout the years. But you know, I keep the faith. And I hold on. I hold on to hope that one day I will be released from here.”

Women’s Voices at Dayton Correctional Institution is a series of stories based on “WYSO’s Community Voices class at the prison on the west side. WYSO selected 10 incarcerated women through a competitive application process, and taught them interviewing, storytelling and recording skills. The series is produced and mixed by managing editor Lewis Wallace and Community Voices producer Renee Wilde, with volunteer support from Community Voices graduate Dr. Venita Kelley and editorial input from general manager Neenah Ellis. Our incarcerated students were Shannon Evans, Alisha Federici, LaShae Landry, Diana Linz, Tyra Patterson, Or'Zaria Slaton, Nikkia Sullivan, Lana Williams, Melody Williams and Aimee Wissman.

Renee Wilde tumbled into public radio - following a career path that has been full of creative adventures and community service. After graduating from the Ohio State University with a fine arts degree in photography - she served as the Exhibitions Coordinator for several Columbus art galleries and the Columbus Art League, while simultaneously slinging food and booze - memorably dropping a glass of orange juice on Johnny Rotten’s bare feet when he answered the hotel room door in just his skivvies (his response, “would shit be the appropriate word?”).