Hope for Redemption

In Memory of a Prisoner

By Lalove Foster

Dovey Smalls looked much the way I had imagined her from her name—small and slender, alert and watchful, like a brown dove. Her hands shook periodically during our interview, a feature that struck me as a nervous tick but turned out to be the early signs of Parkinson’s Disease. She spoke the rough speech of a person who had spent her life in truck stops and trailer parks. But there was a sweetness to Dovey, a kindness to her spirit that belied the fact that she was serving a life sentence for murder.

I met Dovey in 2009, when I interviewed her for an IDAHO magazine article I was writing about educational programs in the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center [“The Prison Class,” June 2010]. When I met her, I didn’t know the reason for her incarceration. Based on her comments during the interview, I pieced together that she was serving a life sentence, which surprised me. What could this rough but kindly woman—the type of woman I could imagine chatting in line with at the grocery store—have done to warrant a life sentence in prison?

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Lalove Foster

About Lalove Foster

Lalove Foster is a native Idahoan. She enjoys exploring the Idaho outdoors with her husband and kids while camping and backpacking. Currently employed at Idaho National Laboratory, she loves writing and reading, and has an MA in English from Idaho State University.