Women's Voices From Dayton Correctional Institution

Credit Juliet Fromholt / WYSO

Women’s Voices from Dayton Correctional Institution is a series of stories based on WYSO’s Community Voices class at the prison on Dayton's 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 WYSO managing editor Lewis Wallace and Community Voices producer Renee Wilde, with volunteer support from Community Voices graduate Dr. Venita Kelley, editorial oversight from general manager Neenah Ellis and production and design help from webmaster Juliet Fromholt.  Students who participated in WYSO's class at the prison were Shannon Evans, Alisha Federici, LaShae Landry, Diana Linz, Tyra Patterson, Or'Zaria Slaton, Nikkia Sullivan, Lana Williams, Melody Williams and Aimee Wissman.

A Decade Of Dope: One Woman Recalls Seeking Out Heroin

Apr 3, 2016
Woman's Voices prison dayton correctional
Juliet Fromholt / WYSO

Aimee Wissman is three years into an eight-year sentence at Dayton Correctional Institution for crimes related to her heroin addiction. As an artist, she idolized famous musicians and writers who were known heroin addicts, and she thought that particular drug would be her ticket into their glamorous lifestyle.

In this story, Aimee Wissman is interviewed by fellow DCI resident Melody Williams about her decade of drug addiction.

Highlights from the audio:

A Young Mother In Prison Remembers Her Pregnancy

Mar 27, 2016
Women's Voices From DCI - Logo 1
Juliet Fromholt / WYSO

Kids are an invisible presence in most prisons. One national survey cited in a state of Ohio report on parents in prison finds more than 2 percent of white children have multiple family members in prison—that jumps to 16 percent for black children.

Woman's Voices prison dayton correctional
Juliet Fromholt / WYSO

Lana Williams has been in Ohio prisons for 16 years. Now in her mid-40s, she’s a reflective woman whose nickname on the inside is “Shy.”

Her story starts long before her criminal conviction—in an interview with her good friend Tyra Patterson, she takes us back to her childhood in the projects in Chicago, where she joined a gang at age 12 and became addicted to drugs not long after.

Women's Voices dayton correctional institution
Juliet Fromholt / WYSO

Tyra Patterson was arrested at age 19 in a high-profile murder case in Dayton—15-year-old Michelle Lai was shot and killed during a scuffle between two groups of teenagers, some of whom Patterson was acquainted with.

She pled not guilty to a murder charge, and later said she gave a confession under duress.

For One Mother, Visiting Her Daughter In Prison Brings Back A Painful Memory

Mar 6, 2016
Women's Voices From DCI - Logo 1
Juliet Fromholt / WYSO

Shannon Evans is in the first year of a four-year term at Dayton Correctional Institution (DCI). She came to prison after falling into the depths of a heroin addiction. Previously, she’d been a schoolteacher and what she describes as a “goody-two-shoes.”

In this audio story, Evans talks to fellow DCI resident Melody Williams about how a piece of her own family history came full circle when she was sent to prison.

Highlights from the audio:


WYSO has started a radio class at Dayton Correctional Institution (DCI), a women's prison on the west side of Dayton. Our Community Voices courses teach people to tell their own stories; this one does that with people who are incarcerated at one of just three women's prisons in the state.

Here's some of the audio we've already produced at DCI: