Trying to save her husband's life in prison

A wife tries to care for her husband in prison with his life on the line

“So if you really look at it, they wanted my husband to die. They didn't care. They didn’t care, listen to me. They didn’t care.” Cheryl Beamon didn’t know that her husband had been beaten until another inmate called her. If you missed last weeks newsletter about the attack on Cheryl’s husband, catch up here. Since this summer, she has fought to get him better medical care. Last month, he called her with his head pounding – hurting so bad that he tasted blood in his mouth. Cheryl said that the prison isn’t checking on her husband’s injuries. “He’s not going to the doctor like he’s supposed to,” she said. Every time Cheryl leaves from seeing James, she has tears in her eyes, and the prison staff treat her rough when she goes to see him. She said there’s nothing for the inmates at Holman to do. Cheryl advocates for the prison conditions in Alabama and for prison abolition with Unheard Voices OTCJ. She’s also fighting to get her husband out of prison and looking for a lawyer to take on his case. “I feel like I’m fighting for his life because every day, as long as he’s in that prison system, I feel like every day my husband’s life is on the line.” Want to tell your story or know someone who is involved in criminal justice, reach out to

What does it mean to visit a family member in prison? How long do you have to drive? What do you have to wear? Read more here.

Take a long journey into what it means to leave prison and still be held in strict supervision through parole. Increased releases have led to a burgeoning parole population.


  • Just Mercy premiers nationwide this weekend. The movie explores a lawyer’s quest to defend an innocent man from death row. The lawyer, Bryan Stevenson and EJI staff have exonerated over 135 prisoners on death row. [WBUR]

  • Zann Carter has fought to end death row executions for years in Indiana. They are now on hold. [The Intercept]

  • Mississippi prisons turned incredibly violent this week with five prisoners beaten or stabbed to death in the last week by other prisoners. Yo Gotti and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation threatened to sue the state. [The Marshall Project/Clarion Ledger]

  • Private Prison company, CoreCivic, received a “scathing” state review that highlighted the company’s handling of staffing, inmate deaths, and sexual assault. [News Channel 5]

  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo, prison inmates are dying of starvation. [BBC]

  • Death from violence increased in 2019 in Alabama even with what many watchdog organizations see as chronic under counting of deaths. [Montgomery Advertiser]

The Des drops into your inbox every Sunday with a collection of small and digestible snippets concerning the criminal justice system. It promises to be humanizing, spunky, and educational.
Our name: Des is short for Desmoterion, “place of chains”, used to describe prisons in ancient Athens. We like the idea of the chains because incarceration expands far beyond prisons to laws, policies, belief systems, and private industry.