San Quentin Radio

San Quentin Radio: Losing your language in prison

May 16, 2018
MICHAEL LORUSSO / Flikr / Creative Commons

Imagine if you forgot how to speak the language you learned as a child — a language that gave you an identity, a language that says, "Hey you belong here, you're one of us." How will your sense of self be impacted?

The first weeks of freedom

May 16, 2018
Marissa Ortega-Welch

Anouthinh “Choy” Pangthong worked with KALW’s San Quentin Radio program for a couple years. Choy’s been in prison since he was 15. Then last month, after serving 22 years behind bars, he was released on parole.

Ninna Gaensler-Debs / KALW News

Since 2013, KALW News producers have been going into San Quentin State Prison to train incarcerated men to be radio reporters. We air the stories they produce there as San Quentin Radio.

San Quentin Radio: Inmates on the right to vote

Apr 19, 2018
Denise Cross Photography / Flickr / Creative Commons

San Quentin Radio: The barbers of San Quentin

Apr 4, 2018

Getting a haircut can make a person feel good. For the men in San Quentin, it's no different. Some of the barbers are paid to cut hair. Others volunteer to do so. It can be a complex process, but it's important in the prison environment.

San Quentin Radio: Autism Behind Bars

Apr 3, 2018
Flickr user Michael LoRusso / Cropped and reused under CC license: https://bit.ly/2Ehdqjd

Autism is extremely hard to diagnose, because it can’t be tested for blood or genes. It’s a behavioral disorder. Often a parent or teacher has to notice the signs and request that a child is tested. Many people are living their lives without realizing they have autism. This includes people in prison.

FRANCO FOLINI / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

 

Some inmates say food in a prison's chow hall is tasteless and bland. But that's not the case when John Parratt — also known as Yah-Yah — is in the kitchen.

San Quentin Radio: Reflecting on safety in schools

Mar 14, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

We train inmates at San Quentin to report stories from inside the prison. Our conversations often turn to current events, and a few weeks this included the recent Parkland school shooting and the ongoing debate around gun control.

The men had many thoughts to share on the topic; KALW's Greg Eskridge recorded their ideas about what would help keep kids safe in schools.

Stephen Worrell, cropped and resized with permission from Creative Commons Flickr

Our friends in the San Quentin Media center — where San Quentin Radio, Ear Hustle, and other programs are produced — shared with us some songs of the holidays recorded at San Quentin State Prison. We thought you might like to take a listen.

Christmas in San Quentin: San Quentin Radio

Dec 21, 2017
Franco Folini / Wikimedia Commons

Holidays can bring about complicated feelings for many inmates. There's no work or school at that time, so the men are given leisure time to relax, maybe watch TV, and some receive visits from family on Christmas day. But for others it's a painful reminder that they’re not able to spend time with those they love most.

Reporter Louis A. Scott talked with several members of San Quentin Media to see how they celebrated or avoided Christmas.

"San Quentin Prison" by CC Flickr user Robin Capper, resized and recropped

For most people, spending quality time with family in the home is normal. But what happens when the only quality time is spent inside prison? This was how Demond Lewis’ life unfolded.

"Basketball" by CC Flickr user Chilli Head, resized and recropped

The Golden State Warriors preseason starts this coming Saturday. Earlier this month, as something of a warmup, they made one of their regular visits into San Quentin State Prison to visit with inmates and play a game of basketball.

San Quentin Radio: The bird man of San Quentin

Sep 11, 2017
"Pigeon" by CC Flickr user jans canon, resized and recropped

With San Quentin has dozens of self-help programs for inmates. But one man foregoes them all, creating his own form of therapy through feeding birds.

CC Flickr user Matt Straton, resized and recropped

Cleo Cloman has spent over two decades behind bars for murder. He grew up in a two parent household and had dreams of playing professional baseball.  After a rocky relationship with his father, he lost his passion for the sport and found a new pursuit: the streets. It ultimately cost him his freedom. But throughout the years of his incarceration he was able to reconnect with his father, and regain his love for baseball within the walls of San Quentin.

CC Flickr user George Grinstead, resized and recropped

 

Throughout the prison system men are dying from incurable diseases. Sometimes these inmates are granted freedom through a program called Compassionate Release.

From CC Flickr user Håkan Dahlström, resized and recropped

San Quentin, the historic prison on the edge of San Francisco Bay, confines about 3,800 inmates.