..... I want to tell you about a new, year-long radio series I'm working on, exploring the four-decade legacy of mass incarceration in America that began with passage of the Rockefeller drug laws in 1973.
It's called Prison Time. All of the stories will air here at the station I'm working at in northern New York, North Country Public Radio; many of the stories will also air on National Public Radio, who's picked up the series. Prison Time also lives in a blog where the lead producer Brian Mann and I have both started to post on issues related to the many reverberations of the "Rock" laws in American society: reshaping urban neighborhoods, adding painful new textures to race relations, and rewiring the economies of rural prison towns.
The first two stories of the series aired last week here in the North Country, where many prisons were built in the Eighties and Nineties to house the surging prison populations, and will air in slightly modified versions on NPR on Valentine's Day. You can listen to the first story, which looks at the factors that led to the passing of the laws in 1973, produced by Brian Mann, as well as the story that I produced, which is a profile of a man who was sentenced fifteen years to life under the law, in the very first years they took effect.
So most of all, I just want to tell you about this series and encourage you to listen to the stories. But I also wanted to invite you to come and spend some time on the blog, and join the conversation--add to it, complicate it, enhance it--contributing a comment to any post. And please, invite others to do the same. I'd really like to bring more people who are thinking about these issues to the blog as the project gains traction and momentum.
More soon, but for now, thank you for reading, and listening. And for the work you do.
Prison Time Media Project
North Country Public Radio
Allyson West, Executive Director
California Reentry Program
P.O. Box 483
San Quentin, CA 94964