Prison Diaries on All Things Considered

View of Cristel's cell at the Rhode Island Training School.
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January 23, 2001

Going Home:
Cristel's Diary

At the age of 15, Cristel viciously attacked a rival classmate with a razor blade. When the fight was over, the victim required 100 stitches, mostly on her face and neck. At the trial, the judge said it was one of the worst crimes he had ever seen committed by a teenage girl. Cristel was sentenced to six and a half years, to be released when she turns 21. She was 5 months pregnant, angry and uncontrollable. But then things started to change.

Now after three years, Cristel has become one of the most successful inmates at the Rhode Island Training School. Many consider her to be a poster child for rehabilitation. Cristel has done so well that Judge Jeremiah has decided to release her three years early. Her daughter is three years old. Cristel is looking forward to spending her first night with her child, and starting a new life on the outside.

  • Hear Cristel's story on All Things Considered.
  • Read the transcript from the Jan. 2, online chat with inmate John Mills' mother, Brenda Daniels, and the series producer, Joe Richman.

  • Cristel in her cell I've been here for so long. When girls get released, sometimes it used to bother me. Like, damn, I'm still here and I still got some time left to go. And when they leave, I cry and I miss them. But then, I get over it. I go on doing whatever I was doing before they got here.

    --Cristel, age 19, Rhode Island Training School, Providence, Rhode Island

    Cristel holding her daughter.
    While in prison, Cristel got to see her daughter on visits every Sunday afternoon.

    Prison Diaries is produced by Joe Richman, creator of the acclaimed Teenage Diaries series and founder of Radio Diaries, Inc., a non-profit production company committed to helping people document their own lives. Associate Producer is Wendy Dorr.

    American RadioWorks is the documentary project of Minnesota Public Radio and NPR News.