Adoption in Prison airs on NPR: Listen NOW
Dan Johnson is a longtime CURE member who was abandoned by his
children because of his crime. Jessie Johnson is a much younger person
who was raised without a father and is also serving a long sentence at
the same Texas prison as Dan.
After becoming close friends, Dan decided to adopt Jessie as his son
and formally did so. This did not pose a problem for their fellow
prisoners. But some in the prison administration became very upset
because Dan is white and Jessie is African-American. Also, at least
one staffer accused them of a sexual relationship. Finally, Jessie was
“set up” to be brutalized by a fellow prisoner who even bit off a
piece of his ear. Rather than transfer the perpetrator, the prison
system transferred Jessie away from his father, Dan.
The Johnsons filed a lawsuit in federal court, but it was recently
dismissed by a magistrate. They are planning to appeal.
This past weekend their story aired on National Public Radio. You can
hear it now by going to the website of This American Life and then to
its Father’s Day’s Program. Look for “Play Free MP 3.” Then go to
48:15 until 59:25. This was the last story on the program. Although it
was only about ten minutes, this beautiful father-son story could not
have been better presented.