This episode of Justice Voices will be emotionally intense.
Facing realities involved in criminal justice policy sometimes is, including facing the reality of what a lifetime of abuse and exploitation can do to people.
Some prisons are physical, made of concrete and steel. Other prisons are psychological.
People in physical prisons know that they are imprisoned. People in psychological prisons, however, including women and children trapped in abusive domestic relationships, may not only deny their imprisonment to themselves and others, but even fight off efforts by family, friends, police, and prosecutors to rescue them from a dangerous, sometimes even deadly situation.
It’s one thing to observe the psychological imprisonment of victims of abuse from the outside. It’s quite another to have the opportunity to see it from the inside, through the eyes of a victim of a lifetime of abuse.
Today’s episode of Justice Voices will give you that inside opportunity.
In this part 1 of a two-part episode, you’ll meet Donna Lomelino, of Springfield, Illinois, who works with a faith-based organization helping homeless women and children who are victims of abuse. Ms. Lomelino is a wonderful, compassionate woman with a strong sense of mission.
Talking to her today you’d likely never suspect that she, herself, was a victim of a lifetime of abuse from her childhood until the time as a young adult when she was sent to prison for a horrific crime committed by an abusive boyfriend, a crime committed while she was absent and had been absent for a couple of weeks while working out of state, a crime that ripped her heart out, but for which she was nevertheless held criminally accountable under Illinois law as interpreted and applied by a prosecutor and judges.
How could that be you may ask? Indeed. Good question.
Part 2 of this episode will cover Donna’s experience in prison, including how she was one of many women incarcerated there who are victims of abuse, some of whom were also being punished for crimes committed by their abusers.
Most importantly, part 2 will cover who Donna Lomelino became, who she is today, and what made all the difference.
In this and hopefully many future episodes, host David Risley is joined co-host Lynard Joiner, one of Mr. Risley’s former defendants, whose own story is told in episodes 1 and 2 of this program.