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San Quentin Radio: Volunteers find hope and meaning inside San Quentin's walls

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From CC Flickr user Håkan Dahlström, resized and recropped
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A view of San Quentin Prison from across the bay

San Quentin, the historic prison on the edge of San Francisco Bay, confines about 3,800 inmates.

726 of those are men condemned to death row. There's also the correctional officers, medical staff, cooks, chaplains, counselors and a very unique group of people: volunteers. Each month, thousands of volunteers come inside the prison to help run more than 70 rehabilitative programs.

McNamara: If they've learned no job skills or no sort of emotional skills than they had before they got in, then how do you wanna meet these guys next, coming through your kitchen window? So the idea that somebody might be steered in another direction, and that you can have a hand in that process is to me not only ethically compelling, but very practical.

San Quentin Radio is a project in which KALW editors train inmates to report stories from inside prison, with cooperation from prison officials.