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Crosscurrents is our award-winning radio news magazine, broadcasting Mondays through Thursdays at 11 a.m. on 91.7 FM. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the economic, social, and cultural divides in our community. Listen to full episodes at kalw.org/crosscurrents

Filling the void from foster care

A brightly illustrated logo reads UNCUFFED PLAYLIST, with an hand holding a record in front of prison bars.
Logo by Ajuan Mance

Since the age of two, Donald Thompson spent his childhood in the foster care system. All he wanted was to fit in and be accepted, but his experiences in foster homes only prepared him to make bad choice after bad choice.

Eventually, he found himself in the carceral system, but he doesn't want other children to grow up with the same traumatic experiences. He writes letters to young kids in the foster care system encouraging them to value themselves.

Uncuffed producer Juan Haines interviewed Donald about how his childhood experience led him to where he is today.

I didn't know how to communicate with people. I didn't know how to interact.I believed that I was in survival mode.
Donald Thompson

This story was produced by Juan Haines with help from Ninna Gaensler-Debs, and sound designer Eric Maserati-E Abercrombie.

This piece was brought to you by the team at Uncuffed. Our work in prisons is supported by the California Arts Council, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and donations from listeners like you. The producers fact-check content to the best of their ability. Content is approved by an information officer.

Follow @WeAreUncuffed on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Learn more, sign up for Uncuffed news, and support the program at www.weareuncuffed.org 

From The Producers Of UncuffedCrosscurrents
Juan Moreno Haines is a journalist incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison; he has served as a senior editor at the award-winning San Quentin News; and is currently a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, where he was awarded its Silver Heart Award in 2017 for being “a voice for the voiceless.” Haines’s work has appeared in Solitary Watch, The Guardian, The Appeal, Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal, Above the Law, UCLA Law Review, Life of the Law, The Oakland Post, California Prison Focus, LA Progressive, CalMatters, Witness LA, and Street Spirit.
Stories from inside California prisons