Northview Stories Eric White's Story: A Prisoner No More

June 14, 2021


I was born under John Edward Duncan, Jr. and Karen White. At the time, they weren't married. I was born in '77. I was living with my grandparents on my mother's side in Buffalo. Eventually, we moved because my dad was trying to become a doctor at IU. And I moved to Bloomington. Bloomington was all right, but I still longed to go back to Buffalo. And, I kind of became a little bit of a problem child because of that. I think in my own childhood I was just trying to be something that I wanted to be for myself. And I think that's where seriously, where my problems were starting. I was trying to do something I wasn't prepared for.

I got married at 21, which was dumb, and that didn't work out, and unfortunately, the other part was as I got older, I started to drink. When I started to drink, well, it caused more problems because then I would be like an alcoholic. I was angry because my marriage failed and I didn't want to care about anybody but myself.

When I went to prison, you know, you probably seen the movies and the television shows about this, this and this, and some of it is true, but some of it isn't. I went in there, full of fear because of what crime I had. I knew that there's a chance I'm going to have to protect myself from a fight, and it didn't happen. And, I ended up with some people that actually wasn't part of what's called the holiness church, or the apostolic church. And, they gathered around me and they helped me to understand spiritual things. When God Behind Bars came, they were given all this equipment at the Newcastle facility. And, I was just wondering "What's going on?" And I found out they're connected to Northview Church.

I started at Newcastle Correctional Facility in March 2017. The mission is to lead men to Christ, first and foremost. Also, help them and provide a plan to get out.

I got involved when we were going to the services on Sundays. There was a man named Pastor Walt and he had some other volunteers. This man was so peaceful, and open and understanding, that I started getting close to him. There was another person as well.

Well, Eric came up to me right after one of the services and he said, "Pastor Walt, you said something about Isaiah House and I'm going to get out." And he said, "But, I need to have a plan now. I want to be prepared. I have a job in mind. I have all this in mind." And, you could just tell he was serious. So when he filled out that application and they called me, I said, "Oh, man, you got to put him in this program." I don't see this very often, but I would go to battle with that man anywhere because he is so sincere and he always had this desire to learn. He never, ever gave up on himself.

It was an amazing thing, you know, for this man to see and just walk with me while I was in there. So I thank God Behind Bars. Because they loved me and were doing it in a big way. You know, they didn't call us a prison, they called us a campus, you know what I mean? When you think about the words you use and what people might say, well, dang, "We're not inmates." They're not looking at us as inmates, and that's the important part, why people were drawn to certain people that came. Because when you treat them like people, they're going to keep coming and they're going to keep trying. And, what God Behind Bars and Northview Church was doing was showing that in many ways.


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