Written Inside: Stories About Prison Cells - full series
April 23, 2017 7:42 AM - Subscribe

Written Inside is a podcast about life inside a maximum-security prison cell. Adapted from essays written at Stateville Correctional Center near Chicago, these intimate stories speak to the everyday experience of being incarcerated. Each inmate’s story is voiced by a Chicago actor. Created by journalist Alex Kotlowitz and produced by WBEZ Chicago's Colin McNulty.
posted by eotvos (1 comment total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I really enjoyed this podcast. Recognizing the cardboard piano guy's roommate in a later story was really fun, and the stories seemed unusually good at balancing on the line between pointing out how incredibly bizarre and alien prison is and yet not fetishizing the inmates themselves. As some who's neither been to prison or known prisoners since high-school, I found this fascinating.

My only minor complaint is the interviews with the producers/teachers in the last episode. It's entirely possibly that my reaction is due to the fact their absolute self-assurance that they have authority to tutor poor people in human expression reflects badly on my own self-image as a teacher. But, something about the tone of the interviews felt incredibly patronizing and dismissive of the actual authors' experience. "This guy spent 20 years in a tiny cell, and then we gave him the gift of avoiding cliché and turned his life around" is pretty hard to accept without an eye-roll. It's hard to be a big fan of critical thinking and also cringe whenever incredibly privileged university faculty claim they are bestowing its gifts on the uneducated masses.

I'm glad this happened, I have no doubt the producers and teachers worked hard to make a great things happen. . . but I wish they'd left out the final interview so I could have enjoyed it without a bitter after-taste.
posted by eotvos at 10:03 AM on April 27, 2017

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