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Elisabeth Fall/

Monday, January 4th at 5pm, tune in to hear “Stories from San Quentin,” a special broadcast from Life of the Law featuring powerful human stories of prisoners, staff and volunteers at California's oldest prison.

SQPR: When loyalty is misguided

Jun 3, 2015
Nigel Poor

Though being in a gang often means violence, it also offers a sense of belonging. Gang loyalty can end tragically when members end up betrayed by the very same people they sought to impress. This is the story of three men who misplaced their loyalty -- and in each case ended up with life sentences.

Click the audio player above to hear the entire story. 

Nancy Mullane

San Quentin State Prison has four massive cell blocks, each identified by their cardinal direction: north, south, east, and west. Of the four, only one houses inmates sentenced to death. None of the cell blocks have been visited by a reporter since 2007.

In California, there are hundreds if not thousands of people practicing criminal law, though they’ve never passed a bar exam. They don’t wear suits. They don’t have secretaries. And they can’t bill for their time. They’re called Jailhouse Lawyers. They’re inmates who pursue the equivalent of a lawyer’s education and who work as lawyers from within prison walls.