Prison Radio

Dear Friend,

As the nation explores its quest for democracy, we bring you the voices from is vast failures.

We often write to you with regard to the injustices that incarcerated people face, telling you stories of grave injustice behind prison walls. While we cannot forget the horror of the prison-industrial complex, we want to focus on individuals today: artists who spend their time expressing themselves in their respective mediums in spite of the dehumanization from their sentences. 

Correspondent Jamil Pirant’s pieces feature a variety of topics: from the pandemic, to the juvenile “justice” system, to his mother—and are beautifully spoken. Take note of the metaphors found in his poem “Buried Alive” below:

These people is panicking, but you just got to stay calm.
That’s what I think about when
I think about being buried alive.
It’s just that I know that I’m alive and I’m grateful for it.
And if I had to let anybody know
who going through this little pandemic and was worrying 
just know that you alive and just be grateful for that
don’t be scared of death.

Correspondent Spoon Jackson is a poet and writer whose amazing work has been published in book, film, and podcast form. Anyone who listens to or reads his poetry is bound to be reeled in by his vivid imagery and eloquent diction. He writes of personal experiences, imaginative worlds, nature, and current events. In his piece “Standing Rock” he reads:

I’ll stand like the stars, wind, the mountains and rains.
I’ll stand like rushing streams.
I will stand with you on rocks.
I will stand with you in love.
One planet, one people.
I’ll spend with you in realness in the struggle to protect mother earth

Drawing is another mode of expression for many. In Illustrations From The Inside by Louis EV Nevaer, many young incarcerated artists share their work.

Drawing by a 15-year-old juvenile from Arizona who says that “the imagery invokes the Sacred Heart of Christ, a familiar image throughout the American Southwest and Mexico.”
Drawing by Ricky Wofford Jr., an incarcerated person in California, and features detailed sketches of various skulls published by The Beat Within, an art collective in San Quentin.

Prison seeks to dehumanize its inhabitants and feeds off of their suffering. Recognizing their art reminds us that they are human beings with their own unique voices and visions. At Prison Radio, we fight every day to ensure that they are treated like human beings. We remember and appreciate their expression, and that pushes us even further to make change for the better. 

When We Fight, We Win!

Suzanna Strauss
Prison Radio Staff