Incarceration in the United States


Incarcerated Writers

Silenced: Voices from Solitary in Michigan A growing collection of letters from people in solitary confinement.

Journal of Prisoners on Prisons Since 1988, the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons (JPP) has been a prisoner written, academically oriented and peer reviewed, non-profit journal, based on the tradition of the penal press. It brings the knowledge produced by prison writers together with academic arguments to enlighten public discourse about the current state of carceral institutions. This is particularly important because with few exceptions, definitions of deviance and constructions of those participating in these defined acts are incompletely created by social scientists, media representatives, politicians and those in the legal community. These analyses most often promote self-serving interests, omit the voices of those most affected, and facilitate repressive and reactionary penal policies and practices. As a result, the JPP attempts to acknowledge the accounts, experiences, and criticisms of the criminalized by providing an educational forum that allows women and men to participate in the development of research that concerns them directly. In an age where `crime` has become lucrative and exploitable, the JPP exists as an important alternate source of information that competes with popularly held stereotypes and misconceptions about those who are currently, or those who have in the past, faced the deprivation of liberty.

Black and Pink The Black & Pink National Newsletter has been distributed free of charge to a rapidly growing list of incarcerated LGBTQIA2S+ members and incarcerated members living with HIV/AIDS around the country since 2010! Each issue is full of pieces submitted by our incarcerated members; relevant news, history, and opinions from our non-incarcerated community; and reflections from our national Executive Director.

Prison Radio: Commentaries Currently incarcerated people are able to submit their voice recordings as part of the Prison Radio Commentaries section, and figures such as Pitt Panther, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Krystal Clark, and others discuss important issues affecting prisoners in the United States. 

Edited Collections


Ear Hustle 

Ear Hustle launched in 2017 as the first podcast created and produced in prison, featuring stories of the daily realities of life inside California’s San Quentin State Prison, shared by those living it. Co-founded by Bay Area artist Nigel Poor alongside Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams — who were incarcerated at the time — the podcast now tells stories from inside prison and from the outside, post-incarceration. In 2019, Rahsaan “New York” Thomas joined Ear Hustle as a co-host inside San Quentin.

The Freedom Takes from the Million Book Project

The Freedom Takes is a podcast from the Freedom Reads, produced for listeners in prison and out, that explores the relationship between literature and freedom. Freedom Reads was founded in the knowledge that in a world with prison cells, freedom can begin with a book. On the show, poet, lawyer, and founder of Freedom Reads, Reginald Dwayne Betts talks to some of the authors of these books about their lives as writers and as readers, and about what it means to them to be free.



Programs in prisons

To Say Their Own Word prison program collection 

Between 1979 and 1980, Marshall "Eddie" Conway (1946-2023) helped organize a prisoner's educational outreach program called, "To Say Their Own Word," a 50-week program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Correctional Libraries of the Maryland State Department of Education, where thinkers and scholars came to Maryland Penitentiary to speak about topics like U.S. fascism, the prison-industrial complex, capitalism, increased surveillance, and other issues. While incarcerated, Conway and other prisoners worked closely with librarian Brenda Vogel, who wrote the grant that funded the "To Say Their Own Word" project. Brenda Vogel was one of the project directors, along with Eddie Conway, a former member of the Black Panther Party and political prisoner during that time.

The Real News Network (TRNN) is a nonprofit media organization primarily committed to digital video journalism. Founded in 2007, TRNN engages people as active participants in the struggle for a better world through cooperation, collaboration, and partnership. Their platform highlights the voices and ideas not just of academics and pundits, but grassroots participants in social movements for change.

To Say Their Own Word Videos on Vimeo