Audio Postcards

Restorative Radio: Audio Postcards capture sounds, voices and music from home, to be broadcast to those in prison. Producer Sylvia Ryerson worked with family members of those incarcerated in two supermax prisons in southwest Virginia, to create long-form radio pieces to send out to their loved ones in prison over public airwaves. Read more about the project here.

Scan 2
Essie Manns: Envision Yourself Being a Free Man 

Essie is the grandmother of DeVaughn Hall, currently incarcerated at Red Onion State prison. Essie lives in Roanoke, Virginia, a 4 hours drive from the prison. She cannot drive long distances, but she gets rides from her friends and family as often as she can to go and visit DeVaughn in prison. For her audio postcard, Essie recorded a Sunday with the family. She took the recorder to church, and then returned home for a fish fry with their whole extended family. Listen

Michelle Hudson: When It’s Quiet, When It’s Late

Michelle is the fiancée of William Griffin, currently incarcerated at Wallens Ridge State Prison. Michelle lives seven hours away in Northern Virginia. She recorded herself for months to create this postcard for William, taking the recorder to the pool, to her daughter’s Christmas concert, to William’s mother’s seventieth birthday party. She captured the voices of family members he hadn’t heard in years, including a surprise at the end – a message from his son, whose voice he hadn’t heard in 18 years. Listen

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Shenita Howard: A Little Piece of Your World

Shenita is the fiancée of Latrell Dangelo Butler, currently incarcerated at Red Onion State prison. Shenita and Latrell grew up together and were high school sweethearts in Norfolk, Virginia. Now Latrell is incarcerated eight hours away. Shenita doesn’t drive and there is no bus to get there, so she is only able to see him when she can catch a ride with someone else going down to visit. Latrell has been in prison for ten years, and they have stayed together the whole time. For her audio postcard, Shenita went on a walk and recorded the sounds of her neighborhood to send out to Latrell. She shares her hopes and dreams for their future together, and sends him out his favorite song. Listen

Scan 3
Louise Goode: You Still Have a Life to Live

is the mother of Gregory Hines, currently incarcerated at Red Onion State Prison. In her postcard for Gregory, Louise sits with her granddaughter Amber, his niece, as they look through an old family photo album and talk about fashion, food and the future they see for him. Louise lives in Hampton, VA, eight hours away from where Gregory is incarcerated. Louise cannot drive, and when she recorded this piece she had not seen Gregory in over four years. Listen

Scan 4
Bonnie Turner: Six Months Ago I Had a Dream – You Were Knocking at the Door

Bonnie Turner is the mother of Rudolph “Jay” Darryl Turner Jr., currently incarcerated at Wallens Ridge State Prison. Bonnie and her family live in Chesapeake, Virginia, 9 hours away. For her postcard, Bonnie hosted a fried chicken dinner and brought together her whole family – all of Jay’s siblings, nieces, and great-niece. Because of how far the prison is from them, and how expensive it is to get there, at the time they recorded this postcard none of them had seen Jay in years. Listen

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Charlene Yarbrough: When I Close My Eyes, I Can See You Dancing

Charlene is the mother of James “Jay” Yarborough Jr., currently incarcerated at Wallens Ridge State Prison. Charlene lives eight hours away in Newport News, Virginia. For this postcard from home, Charlene gathered her entire extended family together to send a big shout out to Jay. His sisters and cousins talk about growing up together in rural North Carolina and his mother remembers his favorite dance moves. Charlene cannot drive and has health issues that make travel difficult. When this piece was recorded, Charlene had not seen her son in twenty years. Listen

Jarrod Friedline: I’ve Been Where You All Are At

Jarrod is the brother of Paul Friedline, currently incarcerated at Red Onion State Prison. Jarrod lives seven hours away in Northern, VA. Jarrod and his cousin Jeremy coach a local middle school football team. For this postcard Jarrod records the sounds of football practice for his brother. Listen

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Latasha Carter: As Long As I Got Air to Breathe

Latasha is the mother of Shandre Saunders, currently incarcerated at Red Onion State Prison. Latasha lives five hours away in Lynchburg, VA. In this audio postcard Latasha sits with Shandre’s grandmother, aunt, and cousins in her living room. They share stories and send lots of love out to Shandre. Listen