On Saturday night, Dec 5, 2015 more than 200 people filled the pews of the Catholic chapel inside San Quentin State Prison for a first-ever uncensored storytelling event behind the prison walls. Together, inmates and volunteers, officers and staff gathered to hear stories about the all-too-secret, often misunderstood community that sustains each of them inside and outside the prison walls.
For two storytellers, Troy Williams and Watani Stiner, the night would be the first time they would return to San Quentin after being released a year earlier following decades as inmates.
Like those in the audience for Live @ San Quentin, this special episode offers the chance to hear the voices and stories too often silenced by imprisonment.
The special hour-long feature episode presents stories from Lawrence Pela, Watani Stiner, Azraal Ford, Aaron Taylor, Phil Melendez, and Emile Deweaver. Each of the photos below are links to the audio stories of the other wonderful stories shared at Live @ San Quentin -- stories from Kathleen Jackson, David Jassy, Raphaele Casale, Eric Durr and Troy Williams.
Live @ San Quentin was a co-production of Life of the Law, the San Quentin News, the San Quentin Prison Report, the Society of Professional Journalists Northern California Chapter and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The event was funded in part by the Open Society Foundations, the Law and Society Association, the National Science Foundation and A Blade of Grass.
In 2015, the Society of Professional Journalists welcomed reporters inside San Quentin to become members of the national organization, creating the San Quentin Satellite Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the first SPJ chapter of journalists in a US prison. See the photos of the day they received their membership cars, and read about the association in this Life of the Law blog post.
Special thanks to San Quentin SPJ members Rahsaan Thomas, Greg Eskridge, Juan Haines, Louis A Scott, and Tommy Winfrey for their months of work co-producing the event. Our appreciation to photographer Elisabeth Fall and to Tony Gannon for producing the video of the event, which is being shown on San Quentin Television on Christmas Day.
Thanks also to Warden Ron Davis, Chief Deputy Warden Kelly Mitchell, Lt. Sam Robinson, Raphael Kasalee, Steve Emrick and Father George Williams of the San Quentin Catholic Chapel for their support in producing Live @ San Quentin.
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices