Letters from inside prison

The prison system is charged with the responsiblity of keeping those who are deemed a danger to society behind bars.

But from the outside, it is seen by some as a whole different world.

"Gangs. People getting killed. I was told that's their world, and they have their own rules," said Robin Benson, mother of an inmate at Toledo Correctional Institute.

Inmate number 372-623 is Christopher Trent. He's in his 16th year of an 18-year sentence for manslaughter and robbery. He is Robin's son and she now fears for his life.

"My son, he won't make it out of prison," Benson said.

Trent was assaulted on March 10 of 2013 and suffered burns to his face and chest from boiling water being thrown on him..

"He had two knife wounds," explains Robin. "One close to his heart and one in his lower back."

Robin says that Christopher expressed to her that he was in danger stemming from of a dispute over a stolen television.

"He had called me when they stole his TV and broke his ribs and said that they were going to kill him." she said.

Chris also told his mother that members of a well known white supremacist gang were responsible for the theft, and she has paid the gang money to try to get his stuff back.

Later, written in a letter, Trent named a specific individual from that same group as being responsible for his assault.

After the attack, Trent was transported to the hospital burn unit and treated. While he recovered in the hospital, he writes that his friend was put into a cell with the same man he claims assualted him. His friend's name was Arturo Lopez. Lopez was found dead in his cell on March 17.

"The same guy did it. they put his friend in the same cell with that dude and he strangled him to death." Benson said.

One of Trent's letters says the word "chomo" was then carved into Lopez's back, a slang term for rapist.

Robin says she fears her son will experience a similar fate if something isn't done.

"I just want him out of there," she said.

TCI has agreed to give WNWO a tour of the facility later this week. The warden will also be speaking about the safety measures being taken to stop violence in the prison.