From The Producers Of Uncuffed | KALW

From The Producers Of Uncuffed

KALW trains incarcerated people to become reporters and audio producers. Using professional-quality equipment, they record and edit their stories from inside prison.

Learn more about the project and subscribe in podcast players:

Listen to more stories from San Quentin Radio

Listen to more stories from Solano State Prison in Vacaville.

This project is supported by Arts in Corrections, a program of the California Arts Council with funding from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.


It's been almost a year since friends and family have been able to visit their loved ones in prison, due to the pandemic. Letters to the inside are always a lifeline. This year, more than ever. 

Meanwhile, because of COVID restrictions, the Uncuffed producers inside can't access the media centers where they record the show. So today, you'll hear from the friends and family outside of prison, reading letters to their loved ones on the inside.

Steve Drown

From the series Uncuffed:

When I first heard of Thomas “Truck” Evans, I was instantly interested. I wanted to know how a man without a truck teaches a truck driving class in a prison. It turns out he did have a truck. This man had built a simulated dash out of random scraps of cardboard and plastic containers.

Video: Uncuffed Brings Voices Out Of Prison

Oct 22, 2020
Steve Drown / Uncuffed

"Local That Works," a national competition for innovative ideas in public media, named KALW's Uncuffed as a 2020 finalist, recognizing our unique training program and podcast in California prisons.

Uncuffed placed in the top five out of more than 130 entries from around the country. Watch our video submission below to find out why:

Unconfined: Joe Kirk

Sep 15, 2020

Joe Kirk is one of thousands released early from California prisons to slow the spread of COVID-19. The world he returned to was something he never prepared for.

Unconfined is a new series of special episodes that feature Uncuffed producers navigating life after incarceration.

Unconfined: Chanthon Bun

Sep 8, 2020

Chanthon Bun caught the coronavirus at San Quentin Prison during one of the worst outbreaks in the country. On top of the usual challenges people face when they parole, Bun had to deal with COVID recovery, survivor's guilt, and the fear that ICE would put him back in a different kind of prison. 

Unconfined is a new special series that features Uncuffed producers navigating life after incarceration.


From the project Uncuffed:

How many of us have been lucky enough to turn one of our favorite childhood hobbies into a way to earn a living? Imagine being paid for the simple, innocent joy of riding a bike? One of our trainees, Jeb DeAngelis spoke to another producer, Joe Kirk, about his life-long obsession with riding on two wheels.

Bart Heird, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / cropped

From San Quentin Radio:

In prisons across the United States, incarcerated people often separate themselves by race or ethnicity. Blacks hang with blacks, whites with whites, and so forth. But at San Quentin, people of all races participate in playing in a role-playing game called Dungeons and Dragons. They defy prison politics to share in a fun activity and also escape from the stress of the prison system.

Coping With Depression In Prison

Jul 13, 2020
Steve Drown

From the series Uncuffed:

Raymond Jones is often debilitated by depression. Sometimes he doesn’t want to shower, eat, or even think. He also doesn’t like to take the drugs prescribed by the prison’s medical department, because of the way they make him feel.

The COVID-19 outbreak in prisons across California is taking an incredible toll — not only on the people inside, but on the families and friends of incarcerated people. And because of the pandemic, our producers on the inside can’t access their recording equipment. So today, you’ll hear from the friends and family outside of prison, reading letters to their loved ones stuck on the inside.

Steve Drown

From the series Uncuffed:

I met JulianGlenn “Luke" Padgett on a prison yard in 1999, and upon getting to know one another I came to consider him a friend. But during all of our conversations about politics, religion, and philosophies, I never knew that he was a ballet dancer nor that the graceful movements that he’d learned as a child quite possibly helped to save him from being “life-flighted” — helicoptered out of a riot in a maximum-security prison.

From the producers of Uncuffed and San Quentin Radio:

Close to 3,500 inmates are currently incarcerated at San Quentin. They live in cells that are 48 square feet, and a little less than eight feet tall — most of them with a cellmate. From San Quentin Radio, here’s the story of a pair of cellmates who made the choice to live together, despite a mountain of obstacles.

How Carlos Muñoz Crocheted His Way To Freedom

May 18, 2020
Steve Drown / KALW

From the series Uncuffed:

Carlos Muñoz had been incarcerated for more than 20 years when he finally found his calling—crochet. He started out in hiding, embarrassed to crochet in front of other men. But over time, he brought his art into the light. Carlos shared the wisdom he’s learned from his crochet hooks.

One Night Gone Wrong

May 11, 2020
Courtesy of San Quentin News

From the project Uncuffed and San Quentin Radio:


David Jassy is a Grammy-nominated artist and songwriter from Stockholm, Sweden. With a passion for music and a promising career ahead of him, he flew to Hollywood to work with fellow artists. But six weeks into his stay Jassy found himself facing a life sentence in prison.  How did Jassy’s tale turn from triumph to tragedy so quickly?

Flickr user tze69, used under CC-BY-2.0

From San Quentin Radio:

Chanthon Bun is one of the incarcerated men at San Quentin who escaped the regime of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia as a child. 

Incarcerated Father And Son Reunite After 22 Years

Apr 27, 2020
JulianGlenn Padgett / Uncuffed

From the project Uncuffed:

Lorenzo Fosselman Jr. and Lorenzo Fosselman Sr. hadn’t seen each other in 22 years. They both received life term sentences, and were incarcerated at different prisons. But thanks to a quirk of fate, we were able to bring Jr. and Sr. together face to face here at Solano Prison.

Ex-Marine Confronts Terminal Cancer In Prison

Apr 13, 2020
Courtesy of Raymond Brassfield

From the project Uncuffed:

Having cancer is bad enough. But what if you had it in prison? Raymond Brassfield is an ex-marine with leukemia. He’s been told it will kill him.


From the project Uncuffed:

As a child, DeWayne Locklear learned how to grow carrots, fry okra, and saute spinach. Now, he’s taken his skills to prison, where he makes gourmet food from items in the canteen.

Steve Drown

From the project Uncuffed:

While serving a sentence of life-without-parole, Stevie J. Stevenson lost touch with most of his children. Then, he found out that one of his sons had become a star: the artist Tyga, whose albums have hit number one on the rap charts.

Special: Prisoners Face Coronavirus

Mar 26, 2020

Disease can spread quickly in prisons. In this special conversation from Uncuffed, the men of Solano Prison share their thoughts on the global coronavirus pandemic, and what it would mean if it came inside.

Jawed Karim / Wikimedia Commons / used under CC BY-SA 3.0 / cropped

Most of the stories that I've produced for Uncuffed have been of a serious nature, often dealing with personal issues of national interest. But this time I wanted to do a lighter, more entertaining story, about gangster arborist Jeffrey Mercado livin' that tree life.

Episode 5: Prison’s Secret Santas

Dec 16, 2019

For those of us in prison, the holiday season can be a painful time. Many of us miss our families and our traditions. But it’s also a time when we get together with food and acts of kindness.

This is the last episode of our first season of Uncuffed. For the finale, we’re coming together for the holidays. You’ll hear from the guys at both Solano and San Quentin, and find out how we all get through this time of the year.

Free At Last, Thanks To A New California Law

Dec 9, 2019
Steve Drown / Uncuffed

From the project Uncuffed:

The Reed brothers, Jesse and Greg, came to prison as crime partners. Jesse was the shooter and his little brother Greg was just there to rob. They both got life sentences, with the opportunity to parole.

Episode 4: Maserati-E

Dec 2, 2019

In 2012, Eric "Maserati-E" Abercrombie picked up the guitar and has been performing ever since. Today, the producers talk about the music that helped them through some of the most difficult moments of their life, and what tools they use to channel and understand their own pain.

This past August, he was released, at age 25. Now, he’s performing regularly. 

Bonus: A Wild Turkey On The Prison Yard

Nov 27, 2019

A lot of people want to get out of prison. This is the story of one bird that tried to get in.

Happy Thanksgiving from Uncuffed.

San Quentin News

At San Quentin State Prison, there are a variety of spaces for incarcerated people to practice their faith or spirituality. The sweat lodge serves as a space for the Native American population.

San Quentin News


From the project Uncuffed and San Quentin Radio:

There are about a hundred people in San Quentin state prison who identify as Native American. One of those people is Eldridge Leigh Yazzie. He's Navajo and has been incarcerated for 27 years. Native Americans like Yazzie have the right to practice their spirituality in prison. But sometimes the rules of prison conflict with their spiritual practices. 

Episode 3: Yoga

Nov 18, 2019

Gordon Melvin learned how to do yoga by watching TV. Soon, he was leading classes on the yard. Today, we’re talking about vulnerability, masculinity, and what it takes to put your ass in the air.

Episode 2: Rebuilding Family Relationships

Nov 4, 2019

Cleo Cloman grew up in a two-parent household and had dreams of playing pro baseball. After a rocky relationship with his father, he lost his passion for the sport and found a new pursuit: the streets. He was convicted of murder, and spent over two decades behind bars. This is the story of how he rediscovered his love of baseball, and his father.


Content warning: this story contains descriptions of violence and abuse.

From the project Uncuffed:

In my time in prison I have noticed that a lot of the men around me are incarcerated for some form of domestic violence. Floyd Henley is one of those men. Throughout his stay, he has not only attempted to change himself, but has changed the lives of many of the people around him.

Episode 1: Sky Boii

Oct 21, 2019

Remus Sam Langi is serving 38 years to life on a second-degree murder conviction. In prison, he’s become a guitarist and songwriter. And recently, he wrote a song about the people he harmed.