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Stories from inside California prisons
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KALW teaches people in prisons how to become reporters and audio producers. Using professional-quality equipment, they record and edit their stories from inside prison.

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We share intimate stories of our struggles and triumphs, and of the heartache and forgiveness taking place within these walls. Uncuffed is vulnerable and personal. If you can see the humanity in us, you can see the humanity in everyone.
The Producers of Uncuffed

Uncuffed is supported by Arts In Corrections, a program of the California Arts Council with funding from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

  • Just over a year ago, Uncuffed producer Tommy “Shakur” Ross walked out of the gates of San Quentin State Prison in a new fitted suit. He had been incarcerated for almost 37 years. Since getting out, he’s been to Norway, bought a new car, and started teaching audio storytelling to other formerly incarcerated people. We’ll hear from Shakur and his students in this Uncuffed special.
  • Our new group of producers at San Quentin State Prison introduce themselves, and share their favorite and most meaningful songs.
  • After being stabbed in a prison riot, Lavell Stewart faced a choice. He could seek revenge... or he could break the decades-long cycle of violence that had roots all the way back in his childhood.
  • As children, many of us dreamt of building and playing in a tree house. For Donald Vaughn, also known as “fish”, that became his everyday reality… but it was far from a dream.
  • Our new group of producers at Solano State Prison in Vacaville talk about their memories, their dreams, and what they like about making radio.
  • Formerly incarcerated co-hosts of the podcast Uncuffed visited a prison radio program in Norway. They asked residents of Oslo Prison if Norwegian prisons live up to the hype.
  • In a story from our Uncuffed team at Solano State prison, how one man's world came crashing down, and how his wife and his faith helped him literally rise back up.
  • Michael McKuin and Rodney Edinbyrd are both incarcerated at Solano State Prison in Vacaville. Together, they’ve broken the strict racial divisions of prison to play in a band.
  • In our previous episode, a team of formerly incarcerated producers visited a prison from another planet. Or at least that's how it seemed. Norway's progressive and unique prison system is wildly different from anything in the United States, and it serves as a model for folks trying to make a change here. So now we’re heading back to another Norwegian prison with horses, a marathon, and little cottages—and asking what California can learn from Norway's example.

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

    Follow us @WeAreUncuffed on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Transcripts are available within a week of the episode coming out, at www.kalw.org/podcast/uncuffed.
  • Last summer, the Uncuffed team was invited to the world’s first International Prison Radio Conference in Oslo, Norway. Formerly incarcerated producers and staff hopped on a plane (some for the first time in their lives), and joined other prison radio makers from countries like Australia, India, and the UK.

    On this special episode of Uncuffed, we're sharing a few of our favorite pieces from around the globe.

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

    Follow us @WeAreUncuffed on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Hear more from the shows featured in this episode:

    The Secret Life of Prisons, from the UK's Prison Radio Association: www.prison.radio

    Jailbreak, from the Community Restorative Centre in Australia: www.crcnsw.org.au/services/jailbreak-radio

    Ear Hustle, from PRX's Radiotopia in the US: www.earhustlesq.com

    Inside Wire, from Colorado Prison Radio: www.coloradoprisonradio.com

    Tinka Tinka Foundation in India: www.tinkatinka.org/jail-music-2

    Learn about all the programs that make up Prison Radio International: www.prison.radio/prison-radio-international