A fascinating feature in the New York Times entitled “Inmates’ Newspaper Covers a World Behind San Quentin’s Walls” shines a light on one of the very few newspapers in the world published by prisoners.
The work they do is fantastic (check out their current issue), and even if you’ve never done time, the focus on the justice system, appeals, parole, and what it’s like to live through American mass incarceration is incredible. They are looking to expand their circulation and allow more inmates to get copies for free. You can donate to them here – $25 gets you a year of the print newspaper, one issue a month.
As someone who runs reddit’s main prison reform community (/r/prisonreform), I was ecstatic to learn about this, and pitched in to help them in their mission. It’s difficult to get one’s head around how strange and twisted the US prison system has becomes, with California constantly fighting off court rulings telling them to address crippling overcrowding and an inadequate health system. The state prison mental and physical healthcare apparatus have been under federal control for almost nine years now, and may never return until the state has less than 137.5% capacity (you think this wouldn’t be hard, but mandatory minimums have made the system burst at the seams).
Give ’em a look.