News of Interest

Selected news stories of interest to the Freedom Reads community.

Here’s How I Use My Story to Teach Incarcerated Kids That Writing Matters
The Marshall Project by Bobby Bostic October 20, 2023

Formerly incarcerated writer Bobby Bostic writes about why he encourages kids in prison to express themselves through writing.

The Prisoner and the Pen
Esquire by John J. Lennon September 29, 2023

John J. Lennon reflects on his career as a prison journalist and the history of the profession as its struggled against restrictive regulations and legal reform.

Listening to Taylor Swift In Prison
The New Yorker by Joe Garcia September 2, 2023

Self-declared Swiftie, Joe Garcia makes a poignant case for how the music of Taylor Swift can resonante within the walls of a prison and how access to music is crucial for helping those inside feel connected to the world and others outside.

My Neighbors in Solitary
Slate by Kwaneta Harris August 2, 2023

Kwaneta Harris offers an intimate look at the state of literacy within a Texas state prison, illustrating how systemic inequities have often led to limited access to reading and how those inside strive for and create communities of readership regardless.

A Harvest of the Heart
Prison Journalism Project by Keith C. Brooks Jr. July 9, 2023

The Volunteer Prison Community Gardening Project, run out of Buena Vista Correctional Facility, has been growing fresh produce for Cooperating Ministries of Logan County to provide fresh produce for families in need across Colorado.

The Prison Newspaper
Criminal by Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer July 7, 2023

An in depth look into the history of prison newspapers across the nation featuring an interview with Phillip Vance Smith II, editor of Nash Correctional Institution's chief publication, The Nash News.

For prisoners, the power of writing
The Boston Globe by Renée Loth July 6, 2023

The importance and transformative power of writing for incarcerated individuals.

The song that left me speechless: In Studio 111, music and poetry let youth in detention be heard
Salon by Randall Horton April 15, 2023

Radical Reversal Cofounder Randall Horton writes about creating a music studio—Studio 111—at Ross G. Bell Jefferson County Youth Detention Center, and the growth of incarcerated teen and artist Lil K.

Mellon Foundation Pledges $125 Million to Combat Effects of Mass Incarceration
Publishers Weekly by Emell Derra Adolphus February 15, 2023

The Imagining Freedom Initiative will provide $125 million to programs that "support artistic development among populations impacted by the US criminal legal system."

People in LA Jails Need Books. She's Making it Happen
LAist by Emily Elena Dugdale February 8, 2023

Former jail mental health clinician Ahmanise Sanati returns to LA County Jails with book donations, a crucial supplement in facilities with no established library system.

What's It Like to Be an Editor of a Prison Newspaper?
JSTOR Daily by Phillip Vance Smith II November 10, 2022

Phillip Vance Smith II recounts the history of The Nash News, Nash Correctional Institution's in-house publication, and what it takes to be a journalist there.

Pell Grants in Prison: A New Effort to Fund Degrees For People Behind Bars
NPR by Elissa Nadworny June 28, 2022

Starting in the 2023-24 school year, 1.5 million currently incarcerated people will be newly eligible to receive Pell Grants, increasing access to higher education for thousands of academically eligible students.