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Got Nothin' On The Chow Line: Navigating Life Outside Of Prison

Tommy "Shakur" Ross poses with the Solano Uncuffed crew after a visit inside.
Kathy Novak
KALW /Uncuffed
Tommy "Shakur" Ross poses with the Solano Uncuffed crew after a visit inside.

You can’t talk about Uncuffed without mentioning one of our original producers, Tommy “Shakur” Ross. Shakur helped start the radio program in San Quentin back in 2012. Over the years, he helped Uncuffed produce award winning stories and podcasts. And almost two years ago, he walked out of San Quentin after serving 36 years. On this episode, he goes back inside both San Quentin and Solano to talk to his fellow producers about adjusting to a new life on the outside.

My success is your success and your success is my success ... They let me out of prison, you know, after committing some horrible crimes and I never thought I'd get out. And so, God forbid if I was to get out and do something violent, right, then it could possibly close the door to others ... I have a responsibility and obligation.
Tommy "Shakur" Ross

This episode was brought to you by the team at Uncuffed. It was produced by Steve Brooks and bf thames with help from Angela Johnston, Ninna Gaensler-Debs, and sound designer Eric 'Maserati-E 'Abercrombie.

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 and Facebook 

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

Uncuffed From The Producers Of UncuffedPersonal Stories
Thomas "Shakur" Ross is a producer of KALW's Uncuffed, presenting stories that show the humanity of incarcerated people.
Brian “bf” Thames has published five non-fiction books while incarcerated over the last 30 years. A pending 6th book advocating self-reliance and better decision making in potentially dangerous encounters is on the way. Learning languages is an exciting pastime for him. He’s become reasonably fluent in French, conversational in Spanish, and learned ASL during the Covid-19 pandemic. His favorite animals are Great Danes, and any variation of parrots/parakeets. Acquiring general knowledge and education about the world and existence tends to make him giddy.
An avid listener of radio, award winning podcaster, and published author, Bryan Mazza spends his time writing, teaching, and training service animals for those in need. A native of California, Mazza uses his experiences to help others and to shape his artistic perspective in his many endeavors in both radio and creative writing.
Walter "Jay" Evans Jr. is from Palm Springs CA. Born in 1975, he has been imprisoned since 1995. During this term, he has written plays, acted in a Shakespeare class, and earned a paralegal certificate from The Blackstone Career Institute. His intent in working with Uncuffed is to learn as much as he can and take it into the free world. He has plans to earn a broadcast journalism degree, or take the bar exam. He has written model legislation, and is a contributor to the ACLU, Anti-Defamation League, and Initiate Justice.

Anthony Ivy is originally from North Stockton, California. He is a producer for Uncuffed and was rcently released from prison after a 13 year sentence. While incarcerated, Anthony worked and produced many stories from the inside. Since Anthony's release, he is continuing the road to success from the other side of the walls.
Producer for Uncuffed at San Quentin Radio
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.
Brian Asey is the father of three children: two sons and a daughter. His passion is using his extensive multimedia experience to dispel negative images with which mainstream media frequently portray the incarcerated. He directs and edits programming for SQTV, helping to choose and shape the institution TV content. Brian is a member of the San Quentin’s Day of Peace Committee, and serves as General Manager of the San Quentin Basketball Program. He is also the proud recipient of an A.A. degree from Mount Tamalpais College. He continues to be dedicated to doing whatever he can to help transform the lives of those who have negative influence in our communities and neighborhoods into positive role models.
Stories from inside California prisons