This week, we’re happy to share with our listeners an update on the most popular episode of It’s All Journalism of 2021: The Prison Journalism Project, an initiative to help people who are behind bars and have a passion for writing to find a wider audience and change the conversation about life in prison.
Our Best Of 2021 episode includes an update from Shaheen Pasha and Yukari Kane, the founders of the Prison Journalism Project.
This year saw the launch of a new correspondence-based course to teach incarcerated writers the process of journalism, starting with a reported essay course and continuing in 2022 with a “straightforward intro to journalism cohort,” says Pasha.
“We have now published more than 1,000 stories from over 400 writers across 35 states, 150 prisons,” Kane says. “The stories are better than they’ve ever been. Some writers are reporting on things that have happened inside their institution.” As a result, the Prison Journalism Project will also be launching a “duty of care” program.
“Our writers are part of our community but they don’t have the legal protections that people outside do,” Kane says. “As we ask them to do this work, it’s our responsibility to train them in how to project themselves and how to decide what stories to cover.”
They’ve also launched PJP Inside, a downloadable PDF for writers to be able to read what others involved in the project are writing, and a new website that can incorporate more graphics, highlight sections and pieces of work and showcase special projects.