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A Prison From Another Planet

Ninna Gaensler-Debs KALW / Uncuffed
The Uncuffed crew gets ready to tour Halden Prison in Norway.

In conversations about prison reform in California these days, you might hear about reducing overcrowding, dismantling the death penalty, and changing the Three Strikes sentencing law. You also might hear about Norway.

Norwegian prisons are unique — in everything from their design and architecture to the length of sentences, to how guards are trained to treat incarcerated people. It’s one of the reasons why California officials are looking to Norway as an example for change.

There was even a recent assembly bill dubbed the “Norway Prison Bill,” which would have created a job training program modeled after prisons in Norway.

Last summer, some formerly incarcerated graduates of the Uncuffed program traveled to Norway to see how prisons work over there. What they found was something that felt very different, but in some ways, very familiar.

In the second part of the episode, Greg Eskridge from Uncuffed, Rahsaan "New York" Thomas from Ear Hustle, and Juan Haines from San Quentin News react to what they've heard.

"These guys are still in prison, no matter how we look at it, they're still in prison, but it looks like they try to make their lives as easy as possible."
Isiah Daniels

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

This piece was brought to you from the team at Uncuffed, with guest help by Angel Garcia, Edwin Turner, and Bryan Lewis. Special thanks to Amend at UCSF, Prison Radio International, Røver Radion, and all the Uncuffed donors who helped make this trip to Norway possible. 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 from the inside is approved by an information officer.

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Uncuffed From The Producers Of Uncuffed
Producer for Uncuffed at San Quentin Radio
Thomas "Shakur" Ross is a producer of KALW's Uncuffed, presenting stories that show the humanity of incarcerated people.
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.