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Sheriff McFadden Challenges Inmates To Take Off 'Mask,' Confront Personal Trauma

Sheriff Garry McFadden speaks to inmates at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center on November 21st
Michael Falero
/
WFAE
Sheriff Garry McFadden speaks to inmates at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center on November 21, 2019.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden hosted an event Thursday in which the guests of honor were former inmates of the Mecklenburg County Detention Center. The event was intended to destigmatize personal trauma among inmates. 

The event, called “Taking the Mask Off the Pain,” featured three speakers who were former inmates. They spoke to current inmates about the benefits of openly discussing personal trauma.

Former MCDC inmate Ellis Royster speaks to the group about personal trauma and fatherhood.
Credit Michael Falero / WFAE
/
WFAE
Former MCDC inmate Ellis Royster speaks to the group about personal trauma and fatherhood.

In his opening speech, Sheriff McFadden revealed traumatic experiences he had as a teenager, and later as a homicide detective in Charlotte. He asked inmates to open up about their trauma during and after the event.

“Cause we all know, if you 100 or fake, you can see fake a mile away," said McFadden. "And you just let it go. You can clap, ‘I understand what you’re saying.’ But that’s the pain. But don’t live with it. But here, I want you to be free. As much as you can."

The Sheriff’s Adult Programming Director Dorian Johnson said the event was the first of its kind at the Detention Center. Johnson hopes programming like this will reduce recidivism once inmates are released.