Pelican Bay:UNLOCKED–The voices of incarcerated students behind the prison podcast changing the culture of Pelican Bay State Prison

(Top left-right)Kunlyna Tauch, Mike Swanigan, Kyron Aubrey, Tracy Paul, and Semaj A Martin pose with audio journalism teacher Paul Critz in the A-yard abandoned chow hall turned classroom. Photo courtesy of Paul Critz.

(Top left-right)Kunlyna Tauch, Mike Swanigan, Kyron Aubrey, Tracy Paul, and Semaj A Martin pose with audio journalism teacher Paul Critz in the A-yard abandoned chow hall turned classroom. [Photo courtesy of Paul Critz.]

These interviews were done in January/February 2020 during multiple visits into the audio journalism class at Pelican Bay State Prison. Due to the coronavirus, all programs have been temporarily shutdown, including this class. Teachers with the William James Association are currently working with their students through correspondence.

In an abandoned chow hall that now doubles as a storage closet and classroom space on B-yard of Pelican Bay State Prison, Tracy Paul sits quietly in front of a microphone next to Kunlyna Tauch. Paul is wearing black square rimmed glasses with a beard to match and both are fitted in the loose hanging signature California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) issued blue scrubs over a clean white shirt and navy denim pants. Opposite of them sits fellow inmate Semaj A. Martin sporting headphones connected to an Acer laptop with the audio program Audacity filling the screen.

Tauch begins interviewing Paul for the prison’s newly created audio journalism class that produces the podcast Pelican Bay: UNLOCKED. Both hail from Long Beach, were involved with gangs at an early age and are incarcerated for murders they committed as teenagers. Paul, who is serving a 116 to life sentence, explains into the microphone the context behind his journey towards prison starting with being raised by his mother while his father did stints in prison himself. He describes to Tauch how he got into gang banging and why this podcast will hopefully change the perception of Pelican Bay and the humans inside.

“It wasn’t a lack of a father figure because at the end of the day my father didn’t really know how to be a father,” Paul said. “I think if we were going to talk about the lack of fathers it’s a generational thing. My father didn’t even know his father and he was just trying to provide for his family.”

Tauch’s story is similar, in regards to gang involvement, and was serving time in juvenile detention centers at the age of 12. Tauch is first generation Cambodian American and remembers feeling like a social outcast as a child. When he grew up, he said his neighborhood was rife with races at war with each other and was visibly poverty stricken.

Tauch wants the podcast to show outside society that people in prison are redeemable. He said those in Pelican Bay are participating in programming and working towards rehabilitation and a brighter future. Tauch himself is involved with theatre classes, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition’s Hope and Redemption classes, Gogi classes, business classes, Buddhist meditation (he’s the buddhist chaplain on B-yard), and he is even slated to earn his Associates Degree for Transfer in June.

“What people have to try to comprehend is that Pelican Bay was built to punish and that sort of mentality breeds a culture, both for C.O.s [correction officers] and prisoners, especially on B-yard,” Tauch said. “Fast forward to now, Sacramento is pushing for more programs and more rehabilitation. Pelican Bay is struggling to keep up with demand. The culture of this prison is not what it used to be.”

Paul Critz listens to audio recordings of recent interviews for Pelican Bay:UNLOCKED podcast. Photo courtesy of Paul Critz.

Paul Critz listens to audio recordings of recent interviews for Pelican Bay:UNLOCKED podcast. [Photo courtesy of Paul Critz.]

Tauch is right. Community Resource Manager for the prison, Robert Losacco, remembers when he started working at Pelican Bay ten years ago there were only seven programs and everyone from inmates to guards refused participation. He said today that has changed and there’s almost 149 programs available.

“In 2014 Pelican Bay was exactly as you thought it would have been: we got yard once every other day and virtually no programs,” Tauch said. “The yard went down almost every day and as if the weather matched the chaos it rained all the time. It was horrible.”

Pelican Bay is notoriously known as California’s first and only supermax prison in the state. It is geographically isolated from any dense population and sits in the middle of a clear cut of redwoods next to the southwest Oregon border. It was ranked in the top ten worst prisons in America by Mother Jones Magazine in 2013. It is famous for the utilization of solitary housing units, or SHU, and the media’s overzealous and misleading use of “worst of the worst” in describing the prisoners it was built to house.

Keramet Reiter has been researching solitary confinement for the last decade and explains in her 2016 book 23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement that when Pelican Bay opened its gates in 1989, solitary confinement “became standard practice for thousands of inmates” and “extreme punishment became routine.” People were spending decades in solitary confinement even though 100 years prior “the US Supreme Court noted that the practice had been abandoned as barbaric.”

She found that by 1995 “roughly 1,000 prisoners were doubled-bunked in the SHU [Security Housing Unit–solitary]” although they were put there because they were a threat to other inmates in general population. She also discovered that despite the narrative of Pelican Bay housing the “worst of the worst” criminals inside the SHU, hundreds of prisoners were being released directly from the SHU every year. If these inmates were so dangerous as to put inside solitary confinement, why is it then so many were released straight to the streets?

Audio journalism teacher Paul Critz and incarcerated student Barry Woods recording an episode for Pelican Bay State Prison's podcast Pelican Bay: UNLOCKED. Photo Courtesy of Paul Critz.

Audio journalism teacher Paul Critz and incarcerated student Barry Woods recording an episode for Pelican Bay State Prison’s podcast Pelican Bay: UNLOCKED. [Photo Courtesy of Paul Critz.]

This environment at the prison eventually led to the nationwide hunger strikes of 2011 and 2013. Pelican Bay prisoners coordinated 30,000 inmates across the country to participate in making visible to those outside the prison walls the conditions of solitary confinement which inmates were enduring. Reiter states this “inspired international condemnation” and that “prison officials agreed, for the first time, to review systematically who was in isolation and why, to limit terms of isolation to five years, and to mitigate the debilitating effects of confinement through programs like education and therapy.”

The hunger strikes ended with a lawsuit won by the incarcerated individuals and advocates that forced the prison to destroy one of two of their SHUs. When the incarcerated individuals that were housed in the now dismantled SHU were released, they initiated the Agreement to End Hostilities between races. Once they were out on the yard, they started the P.E.A.C.E group, Prisoners Embracing Anti-Hostility Cultural Evolution, substituting violence with conflict resolution and direct communication between different races.

This opened the doors for the prison to begin providing a host of programs including the audio journalism class offered through the William James Association. The WJA is contracted by Arts in Corrections, which is a partnership between the CDCR and the California Arts Council to bring art classes inside prisons. Today, they are in all 35 state prisons and the WJA has a heavy presence inside Pelican Bay. They offer theatre, guitar playing, creative writing, visual art, and as of April 2019 a class on how to produce a podcast taught by Paul Critz.

Critz operates Crescent City’s community radio station KFUG. He has been involved with radio broadcasting since high school and is a local staple around the small beachside town.

“It was refreshing to come in and see the abilities of the guys to tell a story with the passion and expertise as well,” Critz said of first walking into the classroom. “They are all very thoughtful guys. They are very conscious of where they are, who they are and they live to articulate those thoughts.”

Pelican Bay State Prison A-yard students in Paul Critz's audio journalism class work on producing a podcast episode of Pelican Bay: UNLOCKED in winter 2019. Photo courtesy of Paul Critz.

Pelican Bay State Prison A-yard students in Paul Critz’s audio journalism class work on producing a podcast episode of Pelican Bay: UNLOCKED in winter 2019. [Photo courtesy of Paul Critz.]

On the other side of B-yard is Critz’s other audio journalism class in A-yard. They have a different format and style than the other students. Where Tauch and the rest of B-yard participate in more formal one on one interviews, A-yard holds discussions in a panel-like setting. The gym their class is held carries a certain echo the microphone picks up that can only be created in prison. A signature sound that reminds listeners where the students are recording. The volume coming from the panel of students sharing their prison experiences can at times reach high levels but it’s a healthy discord and everyone gets a chance to express themselves.

“We learn a lot on how to edit and format a podcast,” student Daniel Noriega said of having Critz as a teacher. “I never even knew what a podcast was and so just learning how to conduct these interviews and having Paul guide us on this path has been very instrumental. We appreciate his time and his effort.”

Noriega spent seven of his 18 years in prison in the SHU. Recent programming actually gave him a year early kick so he could participate in programs and he was the first one to sign up for Critz’s class. His goal for the podcast is to squash the stigmatism Pelican Bay has on the prisoners and the positive benefits the programs are having on the prison.

Incarcerated A-yard students Daniel Noriega and Marco Garcia Jr. brainstorming ideas for a new podcast episode. Photo courtesy of Paul Critz.

Incarcerated A-yard students Daniel Noriega and Marco Garcia Jr. brainstorming ideas for a new podcast episode. [Photo courtesy of Paul Critz.]

“The SHU was here for a long time and the prison wasn’t the worst but when people are sent to the SHU people want to label everyone like that,” Noriega said. “To be able to be a voice for some of us in here that are locked up and to reach out to the communities and let them know we are programming and bettering ourselves is why I do this.”

Not everyone agrees these men should be rehabilitating themselves. The only negative comment submitted on the podcast’s website states, “Too bad the family of the victims of these murderers don’t get to hear from their loved ones however these losers get to speak out. They do NOT deserve anything but what they’ve earned. Time in prison!”

The other 22 comments made were expressions of gratitude and eager anticipation towards the podcast as well as mothers, sisters, wives and daughters publishing sentiments of hearing their loved ones doing something positive with their lives. The single negative comment was quickly responded to by four comments advocating for the students in the podcast and making it a point to reiterate the “R” in CDCR stands for rehabilitation.

The class begins with check-ins followed by how to organize story-telling through the passage of time. Critz is conscientious of not putting his own stamp on the podcast. He simply guides the students but in a way only a seasoned storyteller can. Other than the setting of barbed wire fencing, gunner towers and both C.O. and inmate garb, Critz’s class mirrors the dynamics of a journalist newsroom on a college campus.

“This is almost an oral history and a real contribution to the historical record of our culture,” Critz said of the importance of this podcast. “There’s a feeling of historical respect and to capture that and to document it and chronicle it in any small way, shape, or form is probably the biggest thing that makes this the most important media project I’ve been involved with.”

The focus for the next few podcast episodes will be what the students call The Awakening. This is the transformation of the prison after the Agreement to End Hostilities between races occurred from the hunger strikes. Barry Woods, who has been incarcerated for 30 years, had numerous stints in solitary confinement and experienced the environment of Pelican Bay in the early 90s. He even taught himself to read and write while serving an early sentence in the SHU.

“Pelican Bay isn’t even the same place,” Woods said. “There was so much division. You had every faction separated and there was no line crossing. It was the wild west.”

incarcerated student Barry Woods wants to use his voice in the podcast to stop the transition of youth from coming to prison. Photo courtesy of Paul Critz.

Incarcerated student Barry Woods wants to use his voice in the podcast to stop the transition of youth from coming to prison. [Photo courtesy of Paul Critz.]

Woods, who was raised in Sacramento, has a short, salt and pepper flaked buzz, a nearly full white beard and a deep voice reminiscent of Barry White. He is the oldest of the students at 54 years of age and has the most distinguished laugh. Some of the other students say they look up to his natural ability to talk into the microphone.

He remembers when he first got to Pelican Bay there was no interracial interaction. Something as little as playing card games or basketball with another race was unheard of and he said any little thing could set off a riot. Tensions between inmates and guards were just as high. Before the hunger strikes and the formation of the P.E.A.C.E group, Woods said “there was no unity among prisoners and everyone distrusted each other.”

Today, Woods said the opportunity for programming is having a drastic change in the prison and with inmates actively engaging with one another void of hostilities–it is enabling individual and community healing.

“For me [the podcast] is to use my voice in order to stop this transition of youth coming to prison,” Woods said. “A lot of the things that were happening in the prison you don’t have to worry about as far as all the tension. It also relieves that tension between us and staff. It creates a better living condition for us to better focus on these rehabilitative programs.”

The majority of the students in A-yard have been incarcerated long enough to experience the changes Woods is talking about. The combined total of time they spent in the SHU equates to decades. They also come from a diverse background of different races and gangs, exemplifying that the Agreement to End Hostilities between races is taking effect.

Woods said the podcast gives a format for various factions of prisoners so they can sit down together peacefully and use dialogue in a constructive manner. He gives credit to San Quinton’s Ear Hustle for opening up the opportunity for their podcast and exposing the inside of prison life to the world. He believes if people can see the redemption shown by co-host Earlonne Woods and the rest of the Ear Hustle team then hopefully people can view Pelican Bay prisoners the same.

“We can get all these different views amongst ourselves and hear our thoughts with each other without ever coming to hostilities and respectfully tell our stories,” Woods said. “The old mindset [of the C.O.s] and the old mindset of the prisoners is dying out of separation and punishment.”

Back on B-yard audio journalism student Marcel Buggs sits down with Antwone Johnson. There is snow covering the surrounding hill tops and a light rain is falling outside the abandoned chow hall. The room is silent because this is a particularly special interview for Buggs. Johnson is the younger brother of the victims of Buggs’ crime. Both were members of rival gangs from Richmond but are now friends working towards healing. They want to use their voices to denounce the gang lifestyle and by using their example hopefully change the way at risk youth look to gang culture.

“Being in the situation we are in and to be able to put our heads together and help each other grow shows a lot about our character,” Johnson said about working together with Buggs. “We broke the cycle. We changed. Although we are in prison for past mistakes, we are trying to make up for them every day.”

When Buggs, who has served eight of his 40 year to life sentence for a gang involved shooting, learned Johnson was a few cells down from him his heart sank. Buggs confronted Johnson about his crime and received a reaction he was least expecting. Johnson explained he was moving past all that gang mentality and working towards personal growth.

“Even though he was a youngster at that moment he was more mature than me, he was wiser than me, he was stronger than me,” Buggs said. “I was the weaker being at that moment and he opened my eyes and let me know that I got to do better. From that moment I sought to make his time with me the most comfortable and peaceful that I could.”

Johnson had never been to prison before, so Buggs took the opportunity to give him some essential items and show him the ropes of Pelican Bay.

They would walk the yard together talking about how to heal and Buggs would even help Johnson with his math problems for the G.E.D. Buggs said, “We’ve built a brotherhood separate of other people’s opinions.” The two say they are hoping to change the cycle of kids growing up in poverty stricken environments like theirs. After a Yoruba class a few weeks prior to their conversation, Johnson pulled Buggs aside and told him he forgave him for his crime against his brothers. The reason they were now sitting down in front of a microphone.

“That was a type of liberation that I had never experienced,” Buggs said. “Them letting me out into the free world right now wouldn’t be as impactful or as strong as that moment. I love him for that. He did something that our world and our community teaches us not to. We are taught to avenge and to retaliate and keep it going. He said at that moment it stops right here and I didn’t know what to do with that other than be grateful this opportunity came to me.”

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31 comments

  • Never too late to turn your life around and even if these guys were bad people at one time dose this mean they can’t learn from that bad behavior kind of like a little kid that never got that chance to change his behavior like learning things for the first time for alot of these guys that never knew the difference in the first place so I wish them the best

    • Thanks and I agree with you..

      • Some Random Guy on the Internet

        You are all parasites, feeding on the corpse of social order and decency.

        You blame your situation on conditions beyond your control while being yourself the uncontrollable situation. Your birth perpetuates the issue, your needs are unending. The costs of your lives to society appear to grow by the minute, but your demands fall on citizens whose lives are also difficult!

        Why should we care?

        Obviously, few people who are not convicts, or former convicts do care!

        Please find another forum for your atavistic and repulsive diatribes.

  • R-dog, I agree with your comment 100%!

  • Paul Critz started the low-powered FM station, KFUG 101.1 FM, in Crescent City in 2012. Those outside the immediate over-the-air area can listen to it at http://www.onlineradiobox.com/us/kfug/ Sort of like the early days of KMUD.

  • This is the penance part of penitentiary. Penance is a sacrament for Reconciliation and Rehabilitation, and it represents true healing. I am happy and grateful for these folks.

    • I am too because I was one of them 8 years ago. Since home I have graduated from CIIS with my BA degree and Stanford business ReMade school and started me own business. I have contract to go back inside prisons teaching a class called Path2Restoration which deals with trauma. None of these men/women were born with guns and plans to hurt nobody. They mostly were hurt people as youth and took on a life to not deal with the real problems in their life. Everyone deserves a second chance if they can Demonstrate they understand the cause factors in their cases and truly want to change…

      • Nate, that’s awesome! Congratulations, and I commend you for all your hard work! Especially that you have chosen to lend a helping hand to others… Trauma is something that our society tends not to deal with, as you know, and I also understand this connection. There is no one who can help more than someone who has already walked the path, including, especially, the recovery part. There is so much to learn… Again, I am just grateful that you are there to share your experience, and to help others along the road to recovery… to help with cultivating the skills that are necessary to embody compassion, forgiveness, and peace.

        I like the saying that goes, “every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”

        Cheers, and keep up the good work!

      • Great job of attempting to sell your scheme to profit off the misfortunes of others! No doubt, the State is paying for this, too!

        Your presentation and rationale are disgusting, you apologizing for the murderous scum who inhabit our prisons is reprehensible, and your business plan resembles piracy.

        Nice going! The American Way in action.

  • Circumstances determine outcomes. Everyone deserves chances.
    Imagine if we lived in a healthier society devoid of the ism’s, where every person had what they needed to enjoy a healthy productive life, then perhaps the need for incarceration would be the exception, not the rule.
    I applaud the work of Mr. Wallin and Mr. Critz.
    And while we still will lock people up ,if we actually did purposeful rehabilitation, life would be better for everyone.
    There are many folks returning to society and thankfully, there are amazing organizations out here who are helping folks return to their/our communities and are succeeding. Thanks Kym, for publishing this story.

  • Yikes, though I know that all the individuals in Pelican Bay were deeply traumatized during their childhoods and that absolutely none of them were even partially guilty of or responsible for whatever crimes associated with their incarceration in a maximum security prison in Northeast Bum-fuck California, I am certainly relieved that the taxpaying people of our fine state are providing the entertainment of educational opportunity to our fully rehabilitated citizens who have lost the right to vote…

    Just keep studying, inmates, and someday, we will pay for you to go to UC Berkeley and obtain a JD at Boalt Hall!

    That’s OK, don’t have to thank us, I was happy to work for 40 years and pay taxes so that you could languish in prison, study 1 class at a time, and then attend the 4 year college of your choice, at my expense!

    What happened to paying your debt to society? Hey, now we reward the criminals, and let them out early, to save money…

    Something is crooked in California! Thanks Jerry Brown!

    • As they say at Pelican Bay:

      Life is short,
      Just take whatever you want,
      Don’t think about it,
      Why should you have to obey the rules…
      Nothing is your fault,
      It’s society that’s to blame…

      OOPS! Sorry! I meant North WEST Bum-Fuck!

    • Taxpayers/Citizens did vote and fight for laws to change. It wasn’t all on the Governor.

      • Some Random Guy on the Internet

        Sorry, you are wrong.

        Even I went to college, on financial aid. I never was a convict at Pelican Bay though…

        In my mind, saying there is a “culture” at a prison will set a dangerous precedent, a high expectation that it’s an educational institution, and one that any common violent criminal can gain admission to.

        We should not validate the experiences of outlaws, by guaranteeing them certain rights! The only rights here, are the right of victims, and the right to punishment for harming others!

        Code of the West: You ride with outlaws, you die with outlaws…

        Prison is a serious deterrent to crime, at least to me. Offering soft beds, conjugal visits, special meals and “culture” is just as wrong as giving free education, free drugs and alcohol, and access to sex workers…

        Give me a break! Calling criminal-ism anything other than purely wrong, is just as inaccurate as calling the sky pink! Rewarding antisocial behavior, especially violent antisocial behavior, is idiotic!

        • Some Random Guy on the Internet

          As I sit here in my chair, looking out through my rimless glasses, at the private home I earned by avoiding drugs and gangs, finishing high school and then going to university, and then by working a straight job for 40 years so that I could get my social security, retirement accounts, rental income and interest income from savings, and during that time, I stayed married, supported my children, respected other people’s property and their lives, committed no crimes, and didn’t even have a drink for over 30 years, and now I have to look at this pure garbage story, about how the “culture has evolved” at the “Super-max” prison, and how the murderers there now have access to hundreds of courses, therapy and presumably, early release and privileges that do not resemble anything like the punishment that should be meted out by an actual correctional facility!

          Sorry, your entire presentation is offensive, and the idea that I should somehow be evolving towards “forgiveness” for murderers is bizarre, beyond my ability for comprehension!

          The concept surrounding constructive incarceration is simply ridiculous, and the ideation that a gang member/murderer is redeemable by education and socialization, that he can be processed through a kind of rehab and then be a “valuable” citizen is purely absurd.

          You want acceptance, I want the death penalty for murderers! There is no world where our ideas can merge, where our experiences can compare.

          Please, point your garbage towards a more gullible audience, one that will be able to swallow the lies and the version of reality which you attempt to spin with your prosaic, sociopathic, vapid trash.

          • Ur problem is staying married! Hahahaha u sound like thats ur punishment and u have to live out ur sentence. Not our fault! [edit]

        • Hey Some Random Guy…

          First of all, most prisoners will one day be released into society. It’s better for everyone if they are rehabilitated and can become productive and peaceful citizens.
          Second, it’s better for Corrections Officers to work in a peaceful environment where they don’t have to constantly beat and belittle people to keep them in line. It’s better for their mental health and for their spouses and families.
          Third, it is the most Christian virtue to forgive. Redemption is powerful. And most (not all) people are capable of redemption.
          Fourth, I don’t think you quite understand the impact of environment and trauma on a young person. I have a very good friend who spent 22 years in federal prison for murder. He was part of a Chinatown gang. That’s how he grew up. It was normal to him. I’m not excusing what he did. But it’s like soldiers who kill civilians during wartime. They are used to killing. Killing is normalized and even encouraged. Again, I am not justifying it. But there has to be some understanding that circumstances can and do change people and that people adapt to their environments. It may not be right, but it is reality. And it is better for all of us as a society if we can allow for the rehabilitation and redemption of those who want and deserve it through their work while incarcerated. Punishment alone does not solve the underlying problems.

  • It wld be good if they were able to influence young boys who are at risk for getting into gangs. Maybe an elementary school course that heads off anti-social behaviors before they become deep- rooted.
    I wish agrarian practices were part of prison life. Prisons usually have enough acreage to grow much of their own produce. It’s rewarding. Maybe they could even have chickens& goats. Gotta start somewhere!

  • What about the voices of their victims. You never hear about their victims. Instead of focusing on these people why not focus on their victims and how their lives were destroyed by these people.

    • We don’t call them victims anymore. We call them saviors and there is a lot of dialogue with both and I can bring them inside If allowed. The reason why a lot of laws have changed is because these two people have come together to heal together and change old thoughts…

      • Some Random Guy on the Internet

        You are full of crap, right up to your hairline…

        Please don’t rewrite the sins of the child, as the failures of humanity…

        Right is right, wrong is wrong, black is not white, and six did not turn out to be nine.

        • Some Random Guy on the Internet

          Stop apologizing for murdering criminals, and stop trying to sell that they can be redeemed.

          Murdering thieves should be summarily hanged when apprehended. Wasting taxpayer’s money on these sociopaths is puerile.

  • Yes, Meee, A 2-pronged approach wld be a good plan. Helping both sides realize the impacts & consequences of the actions could produce more significant changes. But, in order for real change, the perpetrators need to go deep to uproot the reasons they “broke bad.”

  • Pelican Bay–Del Norte County’s premier Gated Community.

  • Look at the rest of this guy’s articles all he does is post propaganda that romanticizes inmates and people who have committed crimes worthy of federal and state prison.

    Beware of this type pf communist propaganda.

    • Some Random Guy on the Internet

      Thank you. I, personally, would not care to read bullshit that glorifies prisons or prisoners, or which gives prison some kind of veracity or authenticity as a “life experience”. Being in prison should be unbearably difficult. Education should be available as a reward for the authentically rehabilitated only. Seeing the photos of prison classes truly makes me wonder why resources are wasted on these attempts to educate the recidivist thugs that one would find in Pelican Bay…

      I guess, if you look at enough pigs, you might find one that can fly, you might locate an orangutan that can be taught to play Beethoven, or, an inmate that will get a degree while professionally sitting on his ass and sucking off the profits of polite society for his whole life, but, I doubt that the effort will prove to be valuable…

  • Thank you, Kym Kemp, for bringing this uplifting article to our community. And thank you to T. William Wallin and Paul Critz for the beautiful work they do, each in their own way, to release these caged voices from inside the walls, to bring these voices into the communities to which they will one day return. For some of these people, prison has been their first opportunity to learn. No person, incarcerated or not, is the sum total of their mistakes – and every person has the right to a second chance, or even a third. What would our communities look like if in our humanity we provided a pathway for our returning citizens to achieve and share the best parts of themselves within the communities to which they return? What if every troubled child, or child in trouble, were cared for instead of thrown away and eventually imprisoned as punishment for the life that damaged him/her?

    We as a society must look seriously at Decarceration and shift the focus to health and healing – Care Not Cages.

    Thank you again for this beautiful article highlighting the value and courage of those who dare to struggle and dare to win.

  • Is this a podcast where inmates can listen to oldies? I was told by a friend that he heard manish boy by the newcomers on a station called radio belinga. Im not sure if thats how it is spelled. Does anyone have information on that or where i can find the station?

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