Prison Radio

Dear Friend,

My name is Jennifer Szénay. I’m a mother, student, advocate and daughter of a lifer. My passion as a prison abolitionist was born out of three decades of arduous lived experience within a system that has abused and treated my loved one unjustly. From this helplessness and despair a fire was ignited to advocate and lift the voices of those in society deemed “less than.” As the family member of an incarcerated person I understand the collateral damages of mass incarceration on an emotional and personal level that most couldn’t conceive. Upon joining the Prison Radio team, I wanted to share my perspective on how we support our incarcerated loved ones with our communications, commissary support, books, and phone calls. 

My mother LuAnn Szénay, at Michigan Department of Corrections

The holidays often intensify feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety within our loved ones on the inside. There are many ways we can stay connected and show our incarcerated loved ones they’re included and missed. Setting up a JPay or GTL account can be the easiest and most cost-effective way to show them you care. Adding money to their account, dropping a handwritten letter in the mail and utilizing 3rd party companies such as Amazon for reading materials, and SecurePak for quarterly supply boxes are a few ways I continue to express love from the outside. Another way to support the incarcerated is to support Prison Radio. Prison Radio’s platform allows those silenced voices a chance to be heard– this kind of rare validation amongst such strong oppression is nourishment for the soul.

2020 has been a difficult year for all of us, almost unimaginable. Our joint sense of urgency as a community to organize and protect each other from violence, oppression and inequalities is remarkable. For the families of the incarcerated, we’ve come to a new understanding of this punitive system.

This decades-long American policy failure – Mass Incarceration –  has now produced data showing that our loved ones are being infected at rates substantially higher than the general public. Yet, the carcel system as a whole, has done nothing to remedy this disaster. The level of powerlessness the families of our incarcerated loved ones feel is at an all time high. With your continued support Prison Radio can, and will, amplify the voices on the road to change. 

For over three decades Prison Radio’s platform has turned disenfranchised voices into journalists, and family members into activists. This wave created further public community activism that led to changes and movements we see today. Thanks to caring people like you, Prison Radio has been able to continue to confront the unjust policing and prosecutorial practices that shape the systems of mass incarceration, racism, and sexism by lifting the voices of our incarcerated and their loved ones. Prison Radio’s annual fundraiser has only a few days left. I encourage you to continue listening, supporting and donating to keep Prison Radio’s platform open and available to those that need it the most.

When we fight, we win!
Jen Szénay
Prison Radio Staff