In 2016, nearly 2.2 million adults were behind bars. If that were a city, it would be the nation’s fifth largest. That’s a critical community and one journalists often struggle to reach. On this episode, we’ll be exploring ways journalists can amplify the voices of inmates. The Marshall Project’s Eli Hager discusses the nonprofit’s popular “Life Inside” feature that highlights first-person essays from inmates and others close to the criminal justice system. Next, Shaheen Pasha and Razvan Sibii, senior lecturers in UMass Amherst’s journalism department, walk us through their prison journalism course. Their class pairs university students with inmates to tell stories from inside and out.
Looking for links to the stories and resources we discussed on this week’s podcast? We’ve collected them for you.
- Read the Marshall Project’s “Life Inside” features here.
- Learn more about how Arthur Longworth was retaliated against, and see if you have what it takes to be a prison censor.
- Read Shaheen’s article for Nieman Reports: “Why We Need More Journalism Courses Taught in Prison.”
- Members only: Download the tipsheet “Death Behind Bars: How to investigate your local jail” by Anjeanette Damon.
- Members only: Download the tipsheet “Conducting interviews with inmates in federal prison” by Amy Brittain.
- Members only: Listen to a panel of journalists, lawyers and prison officials discuss the criminal justice system in “Prisons, jails and punishment: The real story.”
- Want to learn more about investigating prisons and the criminal justice system? Listen to our podcast episodes “Three Strikes,” “Profiting from Prisoners” and “Life and Death in Lowell.”
Three Stories (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 3.0
Greylock (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 3.0
Kid Kodi (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 3.0
Walking Shoes (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 3.0
Begrudge (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 3.0
Algea Trio (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 3.0
Home Home at Last (Blue Dot Sessions) / CC BY-NC 3.0