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Nicole Richardson is the typical American housewife. She cooks, cleans, feeds the dog (and the snake), teaches public school, performs in shows, and sings karaoke in her spare time. Nothing about Nicole is out of the ordinary, except for one thing. Her husband is in prison. Nicole and her husband are waiting out a term of over 25 years (which qualifies as a natural life sentence in some states). Contrary to popular belief, she and her husband receive no conjugal visits, are never alone in the same room, and she travels ten hours round trip to go see him.
Everything about Nicole has two sides, from her name, to her family relations, to her teaching career, she constantly plays one role for one audience and is only able to remove the mask around certain people. Her husband's conviction has forced her to move jobs, towns, and lose most of the people she once thought were her friends.
This might seem crazy, but this is the truth for a vast amount of women in America (who leads the world in mass incarceration). Broken Silence is a collection of the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of Nicole, and many other men, women, and families across the nation.
Nicole resides in the Republican controlled Bible belt, spends as much time with her step-daughter as possible, and spends her free time volunteering for Strong Prison Wives and Families.
Prison-wife poet Nicole Richardson introduces herself...
Sonny’s Parole Scene
When Brenda reunited with Sonny he’d already spent his entire adult life in prison. She fought for years to get a parole hearing. When it came time to face the parole board, neither of them was emotional prepared for the painful process.
In 1967, a 56-year-old lawyer met a young inmate with a brilliant mind and horrifying stories about life inside. Their complicated alliance — and even more complicated romance — would shed light on a nationwide scandal, disrupt a system of abuse and virtual slavery across the state, and change incarceration in Texas forever.
Written by Ethan Watters
Published in partnership with Epic Magazine
Amy Friedman Pops Stigma
Amy Friedman remembers the story headline "I married a murderer." Becoming close to an inmate and falling in love changed her life. She lost friends, her job and family connections. Now, she's helping youth who have family members in prison.
Michael and Angela are fighting to abolish capital punishment – hoping that they don't have to plan for his last day.