Krystal Riordan watched as her boyfriend beat a drunk teenager to death in a vermin infested New Jersey hotel room. Could she have stopped it? Could she be his next victim? Now, Krystal is serving a maximum 30-year sentence, while the man who beat the teenage woman to death is about to be released. And it’s no anomaly, with studies showing more than 80 percent of women who fail to stop their partner from committing a violent crime serve more prison time than the perpetrator. What does it take to survive in a maximum security lockdown for 30 years? Is it possible to thrive? The answers only lead to more questions in Dickinson’s raw and emotional look into the criminal justice system and how it’s failed not just one but countless victims of violence. And what unfolds is a beautiful depiction of moral ambiguity, loss and redemption within the confines of the prison walls and beyond. Through the lens of a prison friendship, Stephanie Dickinson unspools the lives and deaths of victims and perpetrators, their families, friends, enemies, and everyone in between. Drop In with us to determine for yourselves whether the law is fair to accomplices to crime by issuing its strong prison sentences or whether moral ambiguity is relevant. What is the role of compassion for the victim of the crime and how long does that compassion extend? We’ll ask these and other thorny questions on Dropping In. Join us!
Stephanie Dickinson raised on an Iowa farm now lives in New York City with the poet Rob Cook and their senior citizen feline, Vallejo. Her novels Half Girl and Lust Series are published by Spuyten Duyvil, as is her feminist noir Love Highway. Other books include Heat: An Interview with Jean Seberg (New Michigan Press), Flashlight Girls Run (New Meridian Arts Press), and The Emily Fables. She received distinguished story citations in Best American Short Stories, Best American Essays and numerous Pushcart anthology citations. Her stories have been reprinted in New Stories from the South, New Stories from the Midwest, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. In 2020 she won the Bitter Oleander Poetry Book Prize and TBO has brought out Blue Swan/Black Swan: The Trakl Diaries. Her Razor Wire Wilderness, a true crime memoir, based on her longtime correspondence with inmates at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton, NJ, is forthcoming from Kallisto Gaia Press, and launches June 1. To support the holy flow, she has long labored in the cubicle world and since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, she has worked remotely from the sanctity of her 5th floor walk-up. Along with Rob Cook, she edits Rain Mountain Press.Leave a comment for radio show guests