Kite Line

By Kite Line

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Kite Line is a radio program devoted to prison issues around the Midwest and beyond. Behind the prison walls, a message is called a kite: whispered words, a note passed hand to hand, or a request submitted to the guards for medical care. Illicit or not, sending a kite means trusting that other people will bear it farther along till it reaches its destination. On the show, we hope to pass along words across the prison walls.

Episode Date
July 16, 2021: Prison By Any Other Name, Part One
This week on Kite Line, we speak with prison abolitionist journalists Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law. We share the first part of our discussion on their recent book, Prison by Any Other Name: Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms. The book is an in-depth look at the various “alternatives to prison” that are held up as …
Jul 17, 2021
July 9, 2021: On Strike
This week, amid a spate of prisoners’ strikes, we share our monthly round up of prison disturbances for June 2021, compiled by Perilous Chronicle.  Prisoners are hunger striking across the continent, agitating for safer conditions, and pushing back against labor exploitation.  We share an excerpt of the story entitled Prisoners Strike Against Racism and Colonialism …
Jul 13, 2021
July 1, 2021: Stick-up on Rikers Island
This week, we continue talking to David Campbell, former anti-fascist political prisoner who recently did a year on Rikers Island. In our last conversation with David, he discussed the circumstances of how he ended up in the Rikers facility- the short of it being that he was sentenced to his time after a fight with …
Jul 06, 2021
June 25, 2021: Cory Cardinal, Rest In Power
Our episode this week is a memorial to Cory Cardinal. Regular listeners will remember Cory as the organizer of the recent hunger strikes in Saskatoon Correctional and as a past contributor to Kite Line. An inspiration to many and a tireless advocate on behalf of incarcerated people, Cory passed away earlier this month. Written and …
Jun 25, 2021
June 18, 2021: Hard-Earned Lessons
This week, Kite Line shares hard-earned lessons based on experiences of struggle on both sides of the prison walls.  Perilous Chronicle’s Ryan Fatica returns with Lauren Regan from the Civil Liberties Defense Center, who has guidelines for protestors.  IDOC Watch discuss their campaign for mass clemency in Indiana. Malik Washington talks about getting off paper …
Jun 22, 2021
June 11, 2021: Marius Mason and Eric King
Our show this week returns to June 11th, the international day of solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners. The focus of June 11th is overcoming the isolation that these long-term prisoners face, as the movements they participated in years ago give way to new struggles and new generations of radicals.  The day of solidarity works to …
Jun 11, 2021
June 4, 2021: Ongoing Threats to Eric King
We start off this week’s show with a roundup of prison disturbances compiled by Perilous Chronicle.  Afterwards, we speak with Lauren Regan, the Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center. Regan has been on the show before to discuss state repression and her efforts to support people facing political charges.  She returns today to …
Jun 06, 2021
May 28, 2021: Truth Never Dies
This week, we hear from Koby Bluitt, daughter of Leon Benson, a long time Indiana prisoner and organizer. She tells us about Leon, their relationship, and her current efforts to help him get free. We’ve covered Leon’s case on Kite Line before: a case of poor eyewitness testimony that helped convict the man of a …
Jun 04, 2021
May 21, 2021: Advice on Confinement and Release
This week, we share two stories from people reflecting on their time inside and on re-entry. Both have wise words about surviving incarceration, and the overall political context of prisons. First is David Campbell, a former political prisoner at Rikers Island in New York. We will hear more from David later, but in this episode, …
May 31, 2021
May 14, 2021: Parole Illinois, Part Two
Last week, we heard from Kim, Shari, Lauren, Pablo and Brian about Parole Illinois, a group fighting to reinstate, as they put it, “earned discretionary reentry”. This is the last of a two-part conversation with them. In 1978, Illinois abolished discretionary parole system. Today, it remains one of just sixteen states (plus the District of …
May 14, 2021
May 7, 2021: Parole Illinois, Part One
We start this episode with our monthly list of prison disturbances compiled by Perilous Chronicle, an journalistic collective that tracks prisoner protests across the US and Canada. Afterwards, we share the first part of a conversation with people working with Parole Illinois, a group campaigning for a fair and inclusive parole system. In 1978, Illinois …
May 10, 2021
April 30, 2021: Studying Against Repression
On today’s episode, we share two perspectives on the role of study, as practiced in the face of repression and directly against repression.  First, we complete our interview with Garrett Felber, with a focus on his termination by the University of Mississippi in retaliation for his outspoken criticism of its white supremacist structure and how …
May 01, 2021
April 23, 2021: Study and Struggle
This week, we share the second part of a conversation between Garrett Felber and Micol Seigel. Felber has been on the show before, discussing the Nation of Islam and its relationship to the origins of the modern prisoners’ movement. His new book, Those Who Know Don’t Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement, …
Apr 24, 2021
April 16, 2021: The Dialectics of Discipline
This week, we share the first part of a conversation between Garrett Felber and Micol Seigel. Felber has been on the show before, discussing the Nation of Islam and its relationship to the origins of the modern prisoners’ movement. His recently released book, Those Who Know Don’t Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom …
Apr 19, 2021
April 9, 2021: Even When You’re Right, You’re Wrong
In this episode, we share information about the recent disturbances in St. Louis. Afterwards, we have the second part of a conversation with Balagoon, an Indiana political prisoner who has been locked up for almost 43 years, 31 of those in isolation. In this episode, he first describes the context of the 1985 uprising in …
Apr 09, 2021
April 2, 2021: Harsh Debts
Up first, we have a comprehensive overview of prisoner protests compiled by Perilous Chronicle, who are collecting information about the many prison uprisings and disturbances now occurring regularly. They will be sharing these updates with us each month. For our feature this week, we share the first part of a conversation with Balagoon, an Indiana …
Apr 04, 2021
March 26, 2021: The Struggle for the Eurma C Hayes, Part Two
Our show this week returns with the second part of a conversation between Kite Line’s Micol Seigel and three members of the Carbondale, Illinois community:  Chastity, Kim, and Nick. They speak about the ongoing struggle for the use of the Eurma C Hayes Community center. Originally opened by the city as a space for youth, …
Mar 27, 2021
March 19, 2021: The Struggle for the Eurma C Hayes Center, Part One
For our show this week, we have the first part of a conversation between Kite Line’s Micol Seigel and three members of the Carbondale, Illinois community:  Chastity, Kim, and Nick. They speak about the ongoing struggle for the use of the Eurma C Hayes Community Center Originally opened by the city as a space for …
Mar 21, 2021
March 12, 2021: First Steps
This week, we are trying something new so that we can cover the full range of increased prisoner struggles. We will be teaming up with Perilous Chronicle at the beginning of each month to give you headlines tracking disturbances in prisons, jails, and detention centers. Perilous is a project seeking to gather and track information …
Mar 15, 2021
March 5, 2021: Paranoia is Two Steps Behind, Awareness is Two Steps Ahead
This week, we return to an important conversation about grand juries and state repression. Recently, Steve Martinez, an Indigenous and Chicano Water Protector who opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on the Standing Rock reservation in 2016, was held on charges of civil contempt of court for his refusal to cooperate with a federal grand …
Mar 07, 2021
February 26, 2021: Surviving Repression from the Bay View to Standing Rock
This week, we brought together three segments that focus on ways the system attempts to repress participants in collective struggles and those who fight for a better world. In a segment that originally aired on KPFA, we hear about the punitive measures Malik Washington is facing after speaking out about the COVID-19 outbreak in a …
Feb 28, 2021
February 19, 2021: Corcoran Does What They Wanna Do
Mwalimu Shakur, who spoke in last week’s episode about COVID-19 protocols in his facility, returns this week to share more reflections. He shares first-hand experiences of gladiator fights and organizing against the SHU (Secure Housing Unit) from the inside. Corcoran State Prison was the first prison to develop the ultra-repressive SHU.  He also talks about …
Feb 19, 2021
February 12, 2021: State Crime
This week, we followup on the COVID-19 conditions at Corcoran Prison in California and share news from the uprising in the St. Louis Jail. Afterwards, we finish a conversation between Dr. Jeffrey Ian Ross and Dr. Micol Seigel. Ross is a Professor at the University of Baltimore, and has researched, written, and lectured extensively on …
Feb 14, 2021
February 5, 2021: Convict Criminology
On January 30th, guards attacked Robert Earl Council, and beat him until he was unconscious.  Council, also known as Kinetik Justice, is a longtime imprisoned organizer and cofounder of the Free Alabama Movement.   Outside supporters have urged as many people as possible to call the Donaldson Correctional Facility and express concern for Council’s welfare.  The …
Feb 05, 2021
January 29, 2021: #CagingCOVID
This week, we share audio in support of Dan Baker and Loren Reed, and from Panagioti Tsolkas, who tells us about the important #CagingCOVID campaign and their upcoming February 1st day of action. As we’ve previously documented on Kite Line, facilities across the country have systematically failed to protect prisoners from COVID-19 and its uncontrolled …
Jan 29, 2021
January 22, 2021: Bare Essentials- Health Advocacy for Prisoners
  On Kite Line this week, we share two interviews with advocates working on the physical well-being of those locked inside. The first conversation we hear is with Olivia, who is part of a group trying to get the word out about unsafe conditions at the California Medical Facility, or CMF, a prison for inmates …
Jan 23, 2021
January 15, 2021: In the Fray
This week on Kite Line, we have a wide variety of ongoing prison news- ranging from the recent executions of prisoners in Terre Haute to a prison disturbance in St. Louis. Afterwards, we share a conversation that was sent to us from an outside supporter of the ongoing Saskatoon Correctional Facility hunger strike. In this …
Jan 18, 2021
January 8, 2021: Built on a House of Cards – Environmental Justice and Incarceration
This week, we share an urgent statement from the Free Alabama Movement about their ongoing hunger strike and economic blackout. Afterwards, we speak with David Pellow, Fabiana Lake, and Camber Wilson, who recently coauthored a report on ‘Environmental Justice Struggles in Prisons and Jails Around the World,’  via the Prison Environmental Justice Project.  Environmental justice …
Jan 08, 2021
January 1, 2021: New Year’s Kites
Happy New Year! This week, we broadcast kites from Strawberry Hampton in Illinois and Daniel Dawson in Saskatchewan, who both called in this week to update us on their conditions. Strawberry Hampton, a Black transgender woman and niece of Fred Hampton, shares the horrific abuses she has suffered inside. Hampton received a rare transfer to …
Jan 02, 2021
December 25, 2020: A System That is Quite Frankly Unjust- Compassionate Release, Part Two
Today, we broadcast Part 2 of our series on Compassionate Release. Compassionate Release is the principle that sentences should be adjusted given “particularly extraordinary or compelling circumstances which could not reasonably have been foreseen by the court at the time of sentencing”. We now continue to hear from Alison Guernsey, who tells us about the …
Dec 24, 2020
December 18, 2020: Compassionate Release, Part One
We begin this week with a follow-up conversation with Cory Cardinal, who has spoken with us on our past two episodes regarding a hunger strike at the Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre in Saskatchewan, Canada. Previously, Cory detailed his experiences during and after the hunger strike. And now, he gives us some updates and tells Perilous …
Dec 19, 2020
December 11, 2020: Like a Horror Movie- COVID’s Spread in the Prisons
This week, we hear from two people who explain the rapidly deteriorating COVID-19 situation in facilities in both Saskatchewan and Indiana. As we reported last week, prisoners at the Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre in Saskatchewan, Canada organized a hunger strike last week to protest the rapidly-spreading COVID-19 outbreak at the facility. The hunger strike lasted …
Dec 11, 2020
December 4, 2020: Caged During COVID
This week, we share two interviews with prisoners confronting rampant COVID-19 infections in their facilities. Cory Cardinal, imprisoned at the Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre in Saskatchewan, Canada speaks about the hunger strike they organized last weekend to protest the rapidly-spreading COVID-19 outbreak at the facility. Prisoners at the Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center (RGC) …
Dec 06, 2020
November 27, 2020: Careless With People’s Lives- Violence & Neglect in Florida
For our episode this week, we share more from Florida Prisoner Solidarity. Recently, they told us about the drastic retaliatory measures prisoners were being subjected to in the Florida Department of Corrections. These punishments were often given as a response for prisoners advocating for themselves in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. This week, they …
Nov 28, 2020
November 20, 2020: Punished for Self-Preservation
This week, share an update sent to us from Michelle Freeman about her husband, Vernell. Michelle’s impassioned plea on behalf of her partner is both urgent and inspiring, and we will continue to air messages from her in the future, as Vernell’s situation evolves. You can hear our episode about Vernell here. Afterwards, we speak …
Nov 21, 2020
November 13, 2020: The Diffuse Prison
This week, we return to stories of electronic monitoring also known as e-carceration. Micol Seigel talks to Cody, who says he spent about half his life locked up. He’s 26 now, and spent time in Pendleton Correctional Facility and Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, both in Indiana. He tells Seigel first hand about e-carcerations disruptions to …
Nov 14, 2020
November 6, 2020: The Value of a Degree
After news, we share a conversation between Christina and Leslie about their experiences obtaining an education while in prison. Both women reflect on the barriers to getting a degree on the inside, and how effective the degree was in helping them once they got out. They also talk about some of the differences in educational …
Nov 09, 2020
October 30, 2020: Dual Power Vs. State Violence
This week, we are airing two kites- the first from a woman advocating for her brother, Billie Allen, who is on death row here in Indiana, despite his fight to prove his innocence. We will talk to Yvette more in the coming weeks, but in this conversation, she introduces us to her brother’s case, and …
Nov 01, 2020
October 23, 2020: Juvie
This week, we are talking about youth in detention. We are laying the groundwork to continue to talk to current prisoners who were placed in facilities while young, including people who are still locked up to this day, about how the impact of incarceration since childhood has shaped them into adulthood. We start with an …
Oct 26, 2020
October 16, 2020: Isolation as Retaliation
This week on Kite Line, we share a call from a prisoner located in Seattle, who exposes his facility’s careless treatment of prisoners in the face of COVID-19, and how medical isolation and punitive isolation function similarly. Afterwards, we finish our conversation with Keith Malik Washington. Malik was recently released from prison after many years, …
Oct 18, 2020
October 9, 2020: Are Incarcerated People Disposable?
We begin this week with a short piece by WFHB reporter Aaron Comforty, who reports on an alleged instance of attempted suicide in the local jail, and one mother’s attempts to find out the status of her son. We also speak with Ted Smith, an Associate Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Louisville …
Oct 13, 2020
October 2, 2020: Keith Malik Washington is Free
After this week’s news and updates, Kite Line sits down with Keith Malik Washington, who was released from prison last month. We’ve shared many of Washington’s essays and audio dispatches over the years, as he exposed the ongoing injustices and hazards he faced alongside others behind the prison walls.  Even though Washington is now on …
Oct 02, 2020
September 25, 2020: A Loved One’s Plea for Vernell Freeman
This week, we hear from Michelle Freeman, who describes the horrifying conditions in which her husband, Vernell Freeman, is being held in Miami Correctional Facility, here in Indiana. Speaking on behalf of her partner, Michelle tells Kite Line about the repeated incidents of medical neglect and retaliatory violence Vernell has been subjected to within the …
Sep 26, 2020
September 18, 2020: Attica as a Moment of Abolitionist Imagination
Last week marked the 49th anniversary of the Attica prison rebellion. In this episode of Kite Line, we finish our conversation with Dr. Orisanmi Burton. A professor at American University, Dr. Burton introduces us to the diverse demands of the Attica rebels, as well as misconceptions about the demands and the rebellion itself. He also …
Sep 18, 2020
September 11, 2020: A Positive Demand for Another World- Reflections on the Attica Prison Uprising
This week marks the 49th anniversary of the Attica Uprising, when 1300 prisoners in New York state overcame physical, social, and political barriers to accomplish their revolt. We spoke with Orisanmi Burton, a professor at American University, who has interviewed many participants in the uprising and is currently preparing a book on the event. Professor …
Sep 11, 2020
September 4, 2020: “If They Kill Me in the Hole, I’ll Go Out Satisfied” – ICE Detainees Protest Conditions at Winn
This week, we share important news from around the Midwest and more updates from the struggles in Louisiana’s immigrant detention centers.  Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson is facing threats on his life inside the Indiana Department of Corrections.  An abolitionist in Madison, Wisconsin has chosen to enter solitary confinement rather than violate his ethics and testify against …
Sep 04, 2020
August 28, 2020: Eye of the Storm- Hunger Strikers in Louisiana’s ICE Detention
ICE detainees are a week into a hunger strike at Pine Prairie, Louisiana.  This week, we broadcast audio of a call between an anonymous Pine Prairie ICE detainee, and a member of Perilous Chronicle. More information on the struggle there can be found at The strike at Pine Prairie is not an isolated incident, …
Aug 28, 2020
August 21, 2020: George Jackson and the Legacy of Revolt
Today, August 21st, is the 49th anniversary of George Jackson’s murder by San Quentin guards.  Jackson was a leading theorist and militant in the prisoners’ movement which had emerged over the previous decade in close relationship to the rise of Black Power.  His books, Soledad Brother and Blood in my Eye, remain touchstones for prisoners’ …
Aug 21, 2020
August 14, 2020: The Crisis Behind a Hot American Summer
This week, Bella Bravo speaks to Zhandarka Kurti and Jarrod Shanahan. Kurti is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Tennesee in Knoxville, and also works with Face to Face Knox, a campaign to restore in-person visitation to Knox County detention centers.  Shanahan is an assistant professor of criminal justice at Governors State …
Aug 14, 2020
August 7, 2020: The Same Amount of Work for an 8th of the Credit- Academic Bias Against Prisoners
This week marks our 4-year anniversary, and we would like to thank all those who have contributed their stories, labor, and expertise to Kite Line, making it possible to air news and experiences of incarceration for 211 consecutive episodes. Thank you! — In this episode, we share news from a major prison riot in Georgia, …
Aug 07, 2020
July 31, 2020: Our Cries Are Falling on Deaf Ears- Prisoners in Florida Speak Out
This week, we share the voices of three prisoners in Florida. Choosing to speak anonymously due to repression, they told us about horrible conditions inside the Florida prison system. They explain the racial injustice in the prison system, the importance of letting lifers out, the prevalence of moldy, rancid food, poor hygiene in the face …
Jul 31, 2020
July 24, 2020: For the Sake of Knowledge Alone
We return this week to the second part of the conversation between Kristina Byers and Anastazia Schmid. Schmid is an award-winning, formerly incarcerated scholar who went to extraordinary lengths to complete her education on the inside. We last heard Schmid describe the impact of Ball State University, which she attended while in the Indiana Women’s …
Jul 24, 2020
July 17, 2020: What’s Going on is Nothing New- Prisoners on State Violence and the Rebellion
We will continue the final installment of the interview between Kristina Byers and Anastazia Schmid next week, as they talk about barriers to education while incarcerated. This week, though, we received urgent calls. Faheem Shabazz is a longtime whistleblower and militant inside the Indiana prison system, who was released in 2018. He has been targeted …
Jul 18, 2020
July 10, 2020: When Success is an Anomaly
This week, we broadcast an interview digging into the problem of barriers to higher education during incarceration. This interview is between Kristina Byers and Anastazia Schmid, both  former inmates at the Indiana Women’s Prison. Anastazia speaks to the difficulties accessing a successful educational experience behind prison walls. These interviews conducted on the barriers to higher …
Jul 10, 2020
July 3, 2020: From Watts to Minneapolis, The Arc of Anti-Police Protest
In this episode, we have two updates from prisoners in California on their conditions amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Afterwards, we speak with Max Felker-Kantor, historian and professor at Ball State University. Felker-Kantor’s particular focus of study is policing and anti-police violence post WWII. He’s been on Kite Line before, talking about the history of policing …
Jul 04, 2020
June 26, 2020: The High Stakes of Institutional Racism During COVID-19
This week, we share a phone conversation between Kijana Tashiri Askari and C, one of their outside supporters. Askari is incarcerated in the California Medical Facility- a male-only state carceral medical institution.The recorded this conversation earlier this week, about the conditions Kijana and others are facing, including improper COVID-19 protocol on the part of the …
Jun 26, 2020
June 19, 2020: Nothing Can Be Changed Until it is Faced
The whole country is in upheaval as a vast Movement for Black Lives continues to challenge white supremacy and the institutions of policing and prison. As monuments fall and precincts are seized in Minneapolis to Seattle, the lies and hidden truths of American society are being revealed. We’ve been reminded of James Baldwin’s line that …
Jun 19, 2020
June 12, 2020: Beyond Reform
In the wake of uprisings across the world in response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, this week’s episode shares thoughts on these revolts and their demands, along with considerations on police reform. We broadcast a June 11th message from Marius Mason’s lawyer, a call from long-term prison rebel …
Jun 12, 2020
June 5, 2020: Re-Entry into an Uprising
On this episode, we have a letter from a prisoner at Pendleton Correctional Facility about his experiences with COVID-19 there. We share a short PSA about street safety during protests, and a message from Keith “Malik” Washington. On June 3rd, Bloomington residents occupied the courthouse square in order to support the movement for black lives.  …
Jun 05, 2020
May 29, 2020: The COVID Prison Project
This week, we broadcast updates on a riot in Macon State Prison, and two calls from mothers of prisoners at Westville Correctional Facility. After a rebellion by prisoners on April 22, over a dozen prisoners have been moved to a new segregation unit and are being subjected to a variety of tortures and abuse. The …
May 30, 2020
May 22, 2020: You Haven’t Demonstrated Enough For This Opportunity
Welcome to the 200th episode of Kite Line. This week, we revisit the important intersection of incarceration and higher education. Barriers to higher education are a key way the incarcerated and the formerly incarcerated are trapped by the system in a cycle of unemployment, low-wage work, and recidivism. We are proud to again host an …
May 24, 2020
May 15, 2020: Barriers to Higher Education
This core of this week’s Kite Line is a conversation between Anastazia Schmid and Jennifer Fleming about trying to get an education before, during, and after incarceration. You’ve likely heard Anastazia before on Kite Line, both while she was inside at the Indiana Women’s Prison, and since she was released last year. We will be …
May 15, 2020
May 8, 2020: COVID-19 Kites
The country might be locked down, but struggles inside prisons and out continue to develop chaotically and unexpectedly intersect with the COVID-19 crisis.  Prisoners in Stateville in Illinois report that they continue to suffer from a full lockdown, restricting their programming and access to phones.  Yet, guards are patting them down without washing their hands …
May 08, 2020
May 1, 2020: System of Lies
This week, we continue our coverage of the coronavirus within the prison system with three messages from the inside. First, we have some audio sent to us from Oakland IWOC, who recorded a statement from Eric Wayne, housed in the Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County. Afterwards, Abu Faheem Shabazz reports on the coronavirus situation …
May 01, 2020
April 24, 2020: The Deepening Crisis
Across the country, politicians and businessmen are calling for the economy to reopen, regardless of the consequences.  At the exact same time, the corona virus is spreading nearly uncontrolled inside America’s prisons and jails, with concentrations of infections spiking from Rikers Island in NY to the Marion Correctional Facility in Ohio, where 73% of prisoners …
Apr 24, 2020
April 17, 2020: Breaking the Rules to Survive
For this week’s episode, we continue airing messages about the coronavirus from prisoners around the country. You can call in on behalf of a loved one, or they can call in to record a message at (765) 343-6236. This week, we hear from prisoners in Wisconsin, Louisiana, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio about how the coronavirus …
Apr 17, 2020
April 10, 2020: Free Them Now- Protests and Planning in the Face of COVID-19
This week, we continue our coverage of the pandemic’s impact on prisoners across the country.  A COVID-19 uprising broke out in Washington state this week.  On April 8, 100 prisoners refused to comply with orders to disperse a protest, and were attacked by so-called “less lethal weapons” like rubber bullets and pepper spray.  They had …
Apr 10, 2020
April 3, 2020: The Guys in Here are Terrified: More Updates on the Coronavirus Pandemic in Prison
Prisoners across the US, and the world, face terrifying prospects as COVID-19 spreads almost uncontrolled inside the prison walls. It’s now or never as they and their loved ones struggle for their release, for adequate sanitation inside, and to self-organize pandemic response in the absence of serious measures by guards and administrators. We hear from …
Apr 05, 2020
March 27, 2020: Coronavirus Dispatches From the Prisons
This week, we continue to air urgent messages from people on the impact of the coronavirus on prisoners around the world and closer to home. We start off with a call from a prisoner at Waupun Correctional, in Wisconsin, where an outbreak of COVID-19 has been reported. We share a statement from someone in Brazil …
Mar 27, 2020
March 20, 2020: COVID-19 Updates From the Inside
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to change life on the outside for people all over the world, the prison population stands to suffer immensely in these times. Last week, we spoke to someone in Italy, who described the riots and protests inside and outside the prisons in areas around that country. This week, we are …
Mar 20, 2020
March 13, 2020: Red Zone- Prison Revolts Across Italy in the Wake of COVID-19
The entire country of Italy is now a “red zone,” not quite quarantined, but facing serious restrictions to movement and public gathering due to the coronavirus. Prisoners were told that they would lose all family visitation, even though the Justice Ministry was not taking any other steps to offer them medical care or prevent transmission …
Mar 13, 2020
March 6, 2020: Setting Us Up For Failure- Stories of Electronic Monitoring
This week, we return to the Breakaway Recovery House to share a conversation between Micol Seigel and four of the women who lived there: Hillary, Janet, Britney, and Kelsey. All four women interviewed have been on electronic monitoring at some point. They tell stories about their experiences under e-carceration, and the problems they suffered. From …
Mar 06, 2020
February 28, 2020: Juvenile Waived Into Adulthood
The Indiana legislature is currently debating SB 449, which would expand the range of situations that would send children to adult court and adult prison.  As of 2017-2018, 69% of the cases where children were sent to adult court involved African American youth.  Under the proposed bill, children as young as twelve could be sent …
Feb 28, 2020
February 21, 2020: The End of Policing
This week, we focus on the history of police in the United States, and the concept of community policing. Alex Vitale, author of the new book, “The End of Policing” shares his research about the origins of modern police, and the inadequate ways that police respond to community issues. Prison abolition often focuses primarily on …
Feb 21, 2020
February 14, 2020: The Penal System is Bleeding Out
In this week’s episode, we start off with a call for action from Jailhouse Lawyers Speak. JLS is calling for a new set of actions from August 21- September 9, 2020. After we hear from them, we share the story of Nick, a long-time Bloomingtonian who passed through both private prisons and those run by …
Feb 14, 2020
February 7, 2020: Kites from Khalfani Malik Khaldun and Muti Ajamu-Osagboro
This week focuses on call-ins from two prisoners: Khalfani Malik Khaldun in Indiana, and Muti Ajamu-Osagboro in Pennsylvania. First, we hear from Muti. Muti Ajamu-Osagboro is a prisoner currently incarcerated in Pennsylvania. Muti was sentenced to life without parole as a teenager. Despite the fact that the US Supreme Court has decided that it is …
Feb 07, 2020
January 31, 2020: Combat and Incarceration, Part Three
This week’s episode ends our series of conversations with Valrice “Whop” Cooper. Whop is the legendary cornerman who learned his craft training prisoners in the Louisiana DOC’s boxing program. For this episode, they discuss how he was punished inside the prison system for standing up for his trainees, how these athletes stay fit behind prison …
Jan 31, 2020
January 24, 2020: Combat and Incarceration, Part Two
This week continues our set of conversations with Valrice “Whop” Cooper, the legendary cornerman who learned his craft training prisoners in the Louisiana DOC’s boxing program. For this episode, we discuss how he got into the game, the politics behind such programs as the PAL, or Police Athletic League, and what it takes to succeed …
Jan 24, 2020
January 17, 2020: Combat and Incarceration, Part One
This week starts our series of conversations with Valrice “Whop” Cooper, the legendary cornerman who learned his craft training prisoners in the Louisiana DOC’s boxing program. For this episode, we discuss his thirty-five-year prison term that began in 1976 at the age of 17, and how coming into contact with the Black Power movement- one …
Jan 17, 2020
January 10, 2020: Weed and Seed
The Federal government rolled out the weed and seed program in the early 1990s in response to a new wave of urban uprisings. It placed social services under police control, so that cops could first “weed,” (i.e. remove undesirable elements) and then “seed” by distributing resources, following a classic model of counter-insurgency. Two decades were …
Jan 10, 2020
January 3, 2020: #MeToo in Prison
Our episode this week finishes the conversation between Rojas, Meg, and Cyrus. Last week, they spoke about the conditions of transgender and gender non-conforming prisoners in the prison system. They continue talking about efforts to support transgender and GNC prisoners inside and outside of the walls. Additionally, they talk to each other about exciting upcoming …
Jan 03, 2020
December 27, 2019: Resilient Inside and Out- A Conversation with Gender Non-Conforming Prison Organizers
Our episode this week is a conversation between Rojas and Cyrus, two advocates with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners.  CCWP is an organization that exists, in their words, to “monitor and challenge the abusive conditions inside California women’s prisons. We fight for the release of women and trans prisoners. We support women and trans …
Dec 27, 2019
December 20, 2019: Counterinsurgency on the Inside
On our show this week, we hear from Dennis Boatright, a co-organizer with MAPS- Michigan Abolition and Prisoner Support. Boatright presents ‘From Convict to Inmate’, tracing the counter insurgent and repressive measures- such as isolation, book restriction, and even the colors used within the facilities- used by the Michigan Department of Corrections to neutralize and …
Dec 20, 2019
December 13, 2019: Recidivism in the First Person
For the first part of this week’s episode- we hear from Onishona. In this interview, she tells us about her experiences with recidivism and problems with re-entry. She also talks about the role books, and specifically how books about mass incarceration, such as The New Jim Crow, shaped her prison experiences. After her interview we …
Dec 13, 2019
December 6, 2019: Winning Back Your Voice
This week, we speak with two writers, Laura Lasuertmer and Wendy Lee Spacek. Spacek and Lasuertmer run a writing workshop in the local jail. They tell us about the writing program, what led them to do this project, and its impact on folks in the inside. Then, we share a selection of writings that came …
Dec 06, 2019
November 29, 2019: Breakaway Recovery House
This week, we visit the women of the Breakaway Recovery House. Located in New Albany, Indiana, this halfway house is the residence for 14 formerly incarcerated women. In last week’s discussion of e-carceration, Breakaway was mentioned as a resource enabling women to transition to life on the outside. Recently, Micol Seigel visited Breakaway, and talked …
Dec 01, 2019
November 22, 2019: The Human Cost of E-Carceration
This week, we share a recent round table on e-carceration here in Bloomington. This event was part of a series across southern Indiana, as community members hurt by e-carceration and their families come together to discuss their experiences and work together to understand this complex web of social control. E-Carceration involves local jails, county governments, and …
Nov 22, 2019
November 15, 2019: More Kites from the Inside
This week, we share two messages sent to us from the inside. We hear from Shaka Shakur about the issues he has been facing since being transferred to Virginia from Indiana. Afterwards, we play a statement by Khalfani Malik Khaldun recorded from the inside prior to his 50th birthday. We finish up this episode with …
Nov 15, 2019
November 8, 2019: Inside/Outside Prisoner Solidarity with Willis X
After hearing statements of solidarity with striking South Carolina prisoners, we share stories and reflections from Willis X, a former prisoner of 23 years, who became an advocate for others still inside.  He talks about his false conviction, and eventually winning his freedom after being sentenced as a teenager. He lives in Michigan, where he …
Nov 08, 2019
November 1, 2019: Families Speak Out Against the Gladiator Fights, Part Two
As we covered last week, prisoners in California have been subjected to a new and disturbing round of gladiator fights – conflicts between prisoners instigated by guards for their own amusement or to break down solidarity between different groups on the inside.  This week, we continue sharing a powerful conversation with three women whose husbands …
Nov 01, 2019
October 25, 2019: Families Speak Out Against the Gladiator Fights, Part One
Prisoners in California have been subjected to a new and disturbing round of gladiator fights – conflicts between prisoners instigated by guards for their own amusement or to break down solidarity between different groups on the inside. This week, we will begin sharing a powerful conversation with three women whose husbands have suffered from this …
Oct 25, 2019
October 18, 2019: Updates From the Inside
For this episode, we share calls from folks on the inside. First, we have the statement from the striking prisoners at the Clallum Bay Correctional Facility in Washington State. After their statement, Abu Faheem Shabazz calls in to talk about conditions at Westville Correctional Facility, followed by Myron Walker talking about education at Putnamville Correctional …
Oct 18, 2019
October 11, 2019: Writing Our Histories- A Conversation with Anastazia Schmid, Part Three
This week, we finish our conversation with Anastazia Schmid. This time around, she talks about labels- and the media’s role in the stigmatization of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. Schmid also talks to us about the Indiana Women’s Prison History Project, and other ways of presenting her historical research, especially outside of the academic setting, …
Oct 11, 2019
October 4, 2019: Apparatuses of Control, from Prison to Gynecology- A Conversation with Anastazia Schmid, Part Two
We return this week to our conversation with Anastazia Schmid. Speaking to her just weeks after her release, she talks about stigma and control- both for women and for the incarcerated. After spending 18 years in Indiana prison, her case was recently overturned- due largely to her own tenacity. During this part of the conversation, …
Oct 04, 2019
September 27, 2019: Truth and Trauma- A Conversation with Anastazia Schmid, Part One
This week, we share the first part of an interview with Anastazia Schmid. Schmid has appeared on Kite Line before, analyzing women’s health care in the prison system. Now, she joins us on the other side of the walls, talking through her release and subsequent support, and the meaning of truth in light of trauma. …
Sep 27, 2019
September 20, 2019: Bridging the Gap- H.H. on Inside/Outside Coordination
This week, we hear a talk by H.H., who spoke recently at the Bend the Bars conference in Lansing, Michigan. H.H. shares his story, including the inside scoop on the Kinross prison uprising on 2016 and its aftermath. He was only released last month, after being in prison from age 17 to 48. H.H. also …
Sep 20, 2019
September 13, 2019: Children in Immigrant Detention
First, we hear some prison news and reflect on the anniversary of the Attica prison rebellion. Then, we hear more from last month’s Bend the Bars conference, which was held in Lansing, Michigan. In a compelling panel called “Fighting Immigrant Detention Centers”, organizers with the Little Village Solidarity Network explain the processes that children go …
Sep 13, 2019
September 6, 2019: The Business of Incarceration- A Conversation with Craig Gilmore
This week, we speak on the phone with writer and prison abolitionist Craig Gilmore, who begins by discussing his recent piece in Commune Magazine. The article, “The Business of Incarceration” is a review of American Prison, a critically acclaimed 2018 book by Shane Bauer. In his conversation with us, Gilmore critiques the book’s thesis on …
Sep 06, 2019
August 30, 2019: Three Years of Prison Insurgency
It’s been one year since the August 2018 National Prison Strike. This week, we feature a talk from Ben Turk and Amani Sawari- both of whom were important outside supporters of last year’s national Prison Strike. This talk took place at Bend the Bars 2019, a prison abolitionist conference focusing on the initiatives of prisoners …
Aug 30, 2019
August 23, 2019: A History of Cook County Jail
For this week’s episode, we share a conversation between Melanie D. Newport and Anne Gray Fisher. They talk about the history of Cook County Jail- the largest facility in the country. Melanie D. Newport is an Assistant Professor of US History at the University of Connecticut-Hartford. Her work explores the criminal justice system in the …
Aug 23, 2019
August 16, 2019: Not Better Than Jail
This week, we share a panel that took place last week in Indianapolis. As we heard last episode, Indiana Against E-Carceration has been organizing to educate the public about the issues surrounding electronic monitoring. They are struggling to prevent the grim possibility that sentencing and jail “reforms” set for 2020 will lead to an explosion …
Aug 16, 2019
August 9, 2019: Resistance to E-Carceration
This week, we share a statement from former political prisoner Ray Luc Levassuer about the recent death of his comrade, Tom Manning. Then, we speak with Micol Seigel about e-carceration, otherwise known as electronic monitoring. Seigel works with the group Indiana Against E-Carceration, who have a series of upcoming events lifting the voices of people …
Aug 09, 2019
August 2, 2019: Retaliation 101
This week, we hear from two people- Faith, who talks to us about the practice of inmate lending- and Jason Renard Walker, who speaks on the retaliation he is facing inside. We spoke to Faith at the Fight Toxic Prisons convergence recently, and she told us about the practice of inmate lending, where prisons bid …
Aug 02, 2019
July 26, 2019: Ona Move- Reflections From a MOVE Family
This week, we hear reflections from members of the MOVE Organization. Speaking at the 2019 Fight Toxic Prisons convergence, they give their thoughts on the past and current struggles of MOVE family members behind bars.  Mike Africa, Jr., who was born in prison, speaks about the MOVE Organization, and having his parents on the inside …
Jul 26, 2019
July 19, 2019: Fight Toxic Prisons 2019
This week we share two presentations from the recent Fight Toxic Prisons convergence. Held this past month in Gainesville, Florida, Fight Toxic Prisons is in its fourth year of an annual conferences that focus on the intersection of mass incarceration and the environment. Our first segment features Jamani and Jordan, who speak about the environmental …
Jul 19, 2019
July 12, 2019: Prison in the Climate Crisis
This week, we share an interview with Julie, a researcher who studies the effects of climate change on prisoners.  The conversation was held at last month’s Fight Toxic Prisons conference, and focused on her work on how intensifying extremes of heat and cold impacts prisoners’ health. As this interview is broadcast, a hurricane is bearing …
Jul 12, 2019
July 5, 2019: Close Dekalb County Jail
This week, we spoke with participants in the struggle to close Dekalb County jail in Atlanta, Georgia. They walked us through the launch of the movement there, when prisoners smuggled out photos of horrendous conditions inside, which were posted on social media by family members. Since then, a wide range of people have worked to …
Jul 05, 2019
June 28, 2019: The Case and Current Life of Leonard Peltier
Over the past year, the political prisoner support movement has won an exciting number of releases, with long-term political prisoners from MOVE and the Black Panthers finally gaining their freedom.  But many other political prisoners remain behind bars, and their supporters are not slowing down.  Leonard Peltier is a member of the American Indian Movement …
Jun 28, 2019
June 21, 2019: Participating in Strikes on the Inside and Out
Kevin Steel speaks to us about being sentenced to twelve years in prison at the age of 17.  Speaking to us from the 4th annual Fight Toxic Prisons conference- which you can hear at points in the background- Kevin touches on a lot of different topics, including the Influence of the Black Panthers and other …
Jun 21, 2019
June 14, 2019: Summer of Kites 2019
This week, we have several kites, or messages, from people inside and outside of the prison walls. First, we have a statement that was recorded for us on behalf of Keith Malik Washington, who is housed in a Texas prison. In his statement, he talks about the negative health impacts of prison, along with other …
Jun 14, 2019
June 7, 2019: Be Like Water- J11 Reflections on Marius Mason’s Journey Through Federal Prison
This week, we speak to two long-term supporters of Marius Mason, a long-term anarchist prisoner. He is currently held in a federal women’s facility in Danbury, Connecticut, despite years of struggle inside for recognition of his identity as a transman, and his advocacy for other trans prisoners to be able to access support and medical …
Jun 07, 2019
May 31, 2019: Youth and Gender on the Inside, Part One
This week, we cover some sensitive topics on the show. We speak with Fable, who tells her story of incarceration when she was barely 18 years old. Fable shares her complicated experiences with mental health, sexuality and gender, consent, and violence in prison. In a prison system where many young people spend formative periods of …
May 31, 2019
May 24, 2019: Migrant Bodies, Uncaring Medicine- The Lethal Politics of Detention
On May 20th, Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez became the fifth child to die in border patrol custody since December. He was 16, and had been held for a week in a border patrol outpost that lacked proper provisioning. He had fled Guatemala, currently wracked with drought and violence, and reached the U.S. on May 13- …
May 24, 2019
Kite Line- May 17, 2019: Prisoners Write, Prisoners Speak
This week, we air part of a conversation with Brandon Ackerson, a 36-year-old survivor of an 18 year prison sentence in the Indiana prison system. Newly released, he talks about using the skills he learned and honed during life in the DOC, in which he became a successful writer while in the Indiana Prison Writers’ …
May 17, 2019
May 10, 2019: Appealing the Death Penalty- A Conversation with Zolo Azania, Part Two
This week, we return to our conversation with Zolo Agona Azania, who was recently released after surviving decades on Indiana’s death row.  In the second part of the conversation, he talks about researching the death penalty and appealing his death penalty sentence. The efforts of Azania, his lawyers and supporters helped to successfully free him …
May 10, 2019
May 3, 2019: The Arc of Prison Struggles in Indiana- A Conversation with Zolo Azania, Part One
We recently sat down with Zolo Agona Azania, who was recently released after surviving decades on Indiana’s death row.  In this first section of the interview, he covers his early experiences in prison, the role of imprisoned Black Panthers in mentoring him, and the cycle of prisoners struggles that lasted in Indiana from the late …
May 03, 2019
April 26, 2019: Impacts of the Prisoners’ Movement, Part Three
This week, we finish our conversation between Toussaint Losier and Micol Seigel. This is part three of a series in which we hear Losier, author of Rethinking the American Prison Movement, speak to Seigel about his research while writing his book, in which he builds a cohesive picture of the long history of incarceration. In this final …
Apr 26, 2019
April 19, 2019: Impacts of the Prisoners’ Movement, Part Two
This week continues the conversation between Toussaint Losier and Micol Seigel. This is part two of a series in which we hear Losier, author of Rethinking the American Prison Movement, speak to Seigel about his research while writing his book, in which he builds a cohesive picture of the long history of incarceration.  In this episode, …
Apr 19, 2019
April 12, 2019: Impacts of the Prisoners’ Movement, Part One
This week, we have a conversation between Toussaint Losier and Micol Seigel. This is part one of a series in which we hear Losier, author of Rethinking the American Prison Movement, speak to Seigel about his research while writing his book, in which he builds a cohesive picture of the long history of resistance to …
Apr 12, 2019
April 5, 2019: Communication is a Human Right- More Reflections from Mark Cook
This week, Kite Line welcomes the continued contributions of Mark Cook, who we recorded in conversation with Alejo Stark.  Mark is a former prison rebel, dating back to ambitious organizing on the inside in the 1960s.  Following his release from prison, he co-founded the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party and later went underground …
Apr 05, 2019
March 29, 2019: If You Care, Grow Your Hair- Prison Rebellion Strategies from the 1960s
  This week, Kite Line welcomes the contributions of Mark Cook for a second time.  Mark is a former prison rebel, dating back to ambitious organizing on the inside in the 1960s.  Following his release from prison, he co-founded the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party and later went underground with the George Jackson …
Mar 29, 2019
March 22, 2019: Policing Los Angeles, Part Two
Last week, we heard the first part of a lecture by Max Felker-Kantor on policing in Los Angeles, from the Watts Rebellion in the 60s to the brutal police beating of Rodney King in the 90s. This week, he continues to talk about the police murder of Eula Love, and how her death affected the …
Mar 22, 2019
March 15, 2019: Policing Los Angeles, Part One
This week, we air the first of two episodes tracking the rise of police racism and militarization in Los Angeles, from the Watts Uprising of 1965 to the 1992 L.A. Riots after Rodney King’s beating. Max Felker-Kantor, author of the book, Policing Los Angeles, walks us through the changes in policing, as well as the …
Mar 15, 2019
March 8, 2019: Voices From the Grassroots
This week, we interview a participant in Perilous, a new prison history project. Perilous launched its website earlier this year, with a goal of compiling all the grassroots, collective mobilizations that have happened in US prisons since the prisoners’ movement seriously kicked off again in 2010. With this interview, we got a sense of their …
Mar 08, 2019
March 1, 2019: Gladiator Fights in the California Prison System
In the past months, the California prison system, or CDRC, has been convulsed by hunger strikes and a series of so-called “gladiator” or “dog fights,” in which guards pit prisoners against each other.  Brook, an organizer with the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee in Oakland, spoke with us to provide vital context for understanding this volatile …
Mar 01, 2019
February 22, 2019: Prison Poetics
First, we have updates on the Vaughn 17 and hunger strikes and noise demonstrations from immigrant detention centers around the country. After the news, we share a conversation with Phillip Roberts and Debra Des Vignes.  Des Vignes is the founder of the Indiana Prison Writers Workshop, and Roberts participated in the project for almost a …
Feb 22, 2019
February 15, 2019: Turn Up the Heat- MDC Protests in New York
This week is an interview with Samantha Johnson, from No New Jails in Brooklyn, New York. As we reported recently, the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn recently was the target of large scale demonstrations, after prisoners expressed to their loved ones on the outside that they were being denied basic human needs such as heat, …
Feb 15, 2019
February 8, 2019: Life on Pause
This week, we share two different reflections on time inside, focusing on how prison interrupts life, education, and development. The first is the conclusion of Chantal’s account of her weeks inside a French immigrant retention center after her arrest during Yellow Vest clashes in Paris. She describes her and other prisoners’ efforts to pass the …
Feb 08, 2019
February 1, 2019: Medical Neglect and Resistance- Arrested With A Yellow Vest, Part 3
This week, we hear more from Chantal, who tells us about her time detained in France in December. We also cover breaking news on hunger strikes in immigrant detention centers across the US, as well as the victory of hundreds of hunger strikers in Corcoran prison in California.  Medical malfeasance by prison officials, and the …
Feb 01, 2019
January 25, 2019: Arrested With a Yellow Vest, Part Two
This week,we hear a statement regarding a hunger strike that took place in France this month. On January 8th, detainees at the same immigration retention center that Chantal, the subject of this week’s Kite Line, was held in released a statement announcing that they had begun a hunger strike, and calling on detainees in other …
Jan 25, 2019
January 18, 2019: Arrested With a Yellow Vest, Part One
In this episode, we read a statement by Keith Lamar, also known as Bomani Shakur, who just had his execution date set.  In his statement, Keith wrangles with the violent death the state of Ohio is seeking to inflict on him, but also with the vast challenges and ruptures that we as a whole face …
Jan 18, 2019
January 11, 2019- Paths Out of Prison: E-Carceration or Liberation
Since the Ferguson uprising in 2014, the Black Lives Matter movement has shone a light on a range of American institutions, revealing their white supremacist origins and functions.  In addition to police and the discriminatory mortgage market, cash bail is one of the most important of these institutions to be revealed and resisted.  Community bail …
Jan 11, 2019
January 4, 2019: Healthcare Across Borders- A Conversation From a Women’s Prison in Brazil
We are completing our series on Brazilian prisons by airing an interview between Beny and Rosângela, who wanted to discuss her experiences with health care there.  Her account of  deprivation of care, along with the over application of psychiatric drugs, will be familiar to anyone who has spent time inside an American prison.  She likewise …
Jan 04, 2019
December 28, 2018: Systemic Inequality from Brazil to Barretal
This week, we share an update from the U.S./Mexico border, as well as two more illuminating conversations from inside the Brazilian prison system. First, we hear from Luce, who has just returned to the U.S. after doing legal aid for unaccompanied minors at the Barretal migrant shelter in Tijuana. As we mentioned in last week’s …
Dec 28, 2018
December 21, 2018: Life After Prison in Brazil
This week, we have the first of several interviews that were conducted this fall in São Paulo, Brazil. Kite Line contributor Micol Seigel was there to teach a course on American prison history at the state university.  Seigel’s academic host introduced her to an activist civil servant at the Secretariat of Penal Administration, who connected …
Dec 21, 2018
December 14, 2018: Staying in Touch- a Conversation with Leon Benson
This week, we speak more with Leon Benson, who calls us from inside the Pendleton Correctional Facility here in Indiana. Benson shared his story with us in the past several Kite Line episodes, and now he talks to us about the conditions inside the prison.  Benson demonstrates the importance of prisoners being ableto form bonds …
Dec 14, 2018
December 7, 2018: Otay Mesa Detention Resistance
A new movement of refugees fleeing violence and starvation in Central America began to reach Tijuana last month, in the hopes of applying for asylum in the United States.  Comprised of multiple, self-organized caravans, the refugees passed through incredible hardship and risk before thousands were temporarily settled in the Benito Juarez shelter – a sports …
Dec 07, 2018
November 30, 2018: Leon Benson in His Own Words, Part Two
This week, we are continuing our talk with Leon Benson, who speaks to us from inside Pendleton Correctional Facility here in Indiana. He’s been inside since 1998, for a murder conviction and he has been trying to clear his name and win his freedom ever since. Benson was incarcerated at 23 years old, and talks …
Nov 30, 2018
November 23, 2018: Leon Benson in His Own Words, Part One
This week, we hear from Leon Benson, who calls us from inside an Indiana prison. You might remember some of Leon’s story from a Kite Line episode we aired in December of last year, called “You Can’t Force the State to Abide by the Law” in which his sister, Valerie, introduced Leon’s story. Leon’s been …
Nov 23, 2018
November 16, 2018: A Life in Resistance- A Conversation with Kathleen Rumpf
This week, we listen to Kathleen Rumpf share her stories of her time inside FMC Carswell, a United States federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas for female inmates with special medical and mental health needs. Kathleen shares her experiences and wisdom from her time with the Catholic Workers, where she participated in the plowshares movement, …
Nov 16, 2018
November 9, 2018: Naming Disability
Today, we are sharing the next part of an interview with Talila Lewis and Dustin Gibson, two organizers and researchers addressing the intersection of disability and incarceration.  You heard their interview about the impact of prison on the Deaf community, and the organization they work with, HEARD- Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the …
Nov 09, 2018
November 2, 2018: Being Heard- Prison and the Deaf Community
Today, we are sharing an interview with Talila Lewis and Dustin Gibson, two organizers and researchers addressing the intersection of disability and incarceration.  After TL describes the high stakes of being deaf in prison, they move on to sketch out the ways that children of color are disabled across society and pushed towards feeling inept …
Nov 02, 2018
October 26, 2018: The Long History of Black Resistance and Mass Incarceration
In this interview, Elizabeth Hinton sketches the relationship between the civil rights movement, urban uprisings and the beginning of the “War on Crime,” with a focus on the Harlem Riot of 1964, and the1 965 Watts Rebellion, which was triggered by police brutality and became a key law-and-order talking point.  She then moves through a …
Oct 26, 2018
October 19, 2018: Voices of the Formerly Incarcerated, Part Three
This week, we share the final story from the Voices of the Formerly Incarcerated panel that took place during the Fight Toxic Prisons conference in Pittsburgh. After we hear updates on Kevin Rashid Johnson and Keith Malik Washington, we close with anecdotes from Wendell Caldwell. Caldwell speaks on his time inside, its impact on his …
Oct 19, 2018
October 12, 2018: Voices of the Formerly Incarcerated, Part Two- Angola Prison’s Racist History
This week, we hear from Curtis Ray Davis II, who talks about the racist history of Angola Prison- the Louisiana State Penitentiary. After we read a statement from hunger striking prisoners in Orange County, we then hear a moving account from Davis. He talks about Louisiana’s non-unanimous verdict, which essentially nullifies the votes of non-white …
Oct 12, 2018
October 5, 2018: Voices of the Formerly Incarcerated, Part One
This week, we hear the stories of three men who share their experiences from years being on the inside. Khalid Raheem discusses his experiences with the Black Panther Party, solitary confinement, and educational options in prison. Carrington Keys talks with us about the Dallas Six case, and how racist prison guards not only failed to …
Oct 05, 2018
September 28, 2018: The Prisoners’ Movement in the Heartland
This week’s episode covers the situation in the Midwest. We hear from Ben and Aaron, who work on supporting prisoners in Ohio and Indiana, respectively. Ben informs about Ohio prisoners who are still facing repercussions from the 1993 Lucasville uprising. We’ve introduced Lucasville in previous episodes of Kite Line, including an early episode focusing on …
Sep 28, 2018
September 21, 2018: We Know What We Need to Do- Words in the Face of Repression
Across the country, thousands of prisoners are facing consequences for their participation in the national prison strike.  Some are being denied contact with the outside world, others have lost access to hot food.  Others have faced violence.  For many, outside solidarity has meant the difference, like the prisoners at an Indiana prison facility who were …
Sep 21, 2018
September 14, 2018: Reasons to Fight- Life Inside South Carolina Prisons
This week, we are sharing the words from a prisoner who contacted us from inside the South Carolina prison system. In addition to his thoughts on the recent National Prison Strike, of which news still continues to trickle in, he talks about what prisoners are experiencing every day.  From severe medical neglect, inedible food, and …
Sep 14, 2018
September 7, 2018: The Attica Liberation Faction
This week we are honoring the anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprising of 1971. The current National Prison Strike began on August 21st, the anniversary of George Jackson’s assassination, and is slated to end in two days, on September 9th. We have updates on the prison facilities across the country and their participation in the …
Sep 07, 2018
August 31, 2018: Strike Solidarity From Inside South Carolina’s Prisons
The National Prison Strike is on its second week. Shutdowns have been confirmed in five Florida prisons, with new strike activity in Georgia, California, and Maryland. Although information is slow to come in, we know of a hunger strike in Indiana, commissary boycotts in South Carolina, and solidarity demonstrations across the country. This week, we …
Aug 31, 2018
August 24, 2018: The Real Dragon- George Jackson’s Legacy and the National Prison Strike
This week, we’re sharing selections from an historic interview with George Jackson, whose assassination on August 21, 1971, at the hands of San Quentin prison guards, remains a reference point for the US prisoners’ movement.  Indeed, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak called for the 2018 strike to begin on this date in his memory. George Jackson spent …
Aug 24, 2018
August 17, 2018: What Prisoners Want- Recent Movements and Current Demands
Next week, on August 21, is the start of the 2018 National Prison Strike. Anticipated to be the largest in U.S. History, this strike comes after many years of various strikes, work stoppages, boycotts, and other forms of rebellion.  In this episode, we hear about the intended transfer of 3,200 Puerto Rican prisoners to Arizona, …
Aug 17, 2018
August 10, 2018: Strike Season Part Two- First Sparks
As the 2018 National Prison Strike quickly approaches, we have news of hunger and work strikes already underway. We have updates on the successful, 108 day hunger strike of Mapuche Shaman Celestino Cordova, who had been denied access to his ceremonial altar while in Chilean prison. We also get updates from Siddique Abdullah Hasan and …
Aug 10, 2018
August 3, 2018: Strike Season
As we approach the August 21st launch of the national prison strike, Kite Line is focusing on the historic and recent precedents for the current prisoners’ movement.  This strike, called by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak along with a growing coalition of grassroots prisoners’ groups, is grounded in four decades of organizing, symbolized by George Jackson’s state …
Aug 03, 2018
July 27, 2018: Communities Within and Beyond the Prison Walls
In last week’s episode, we introduced Johdy Polk, who spoke to us about her time behind the prison walls, and urged audiences to see the other ways that people are confined by society.  Now, we continue to hear more of Johdy’s story- about the relationships she built while on the inside, her transition to daily …
Jul 27, 2018
July 20, 2018: Tear Down the Inner Prisons
This week, Johdy Polk, from Gainesville, Florida, describes her time inside a women’s prison, while sharing cutting observations on growing up as a black woman in a white supremacist society. She also makes an urgent call to tear down our inner prisons, a call that we think resonates with the torrent of news we are …
Jul 20, 2018
July 13, 2018: Anti-Detention Occupations from Australia to America, Part Two
Last week, Aren Aizura guided us through the history of colonialism in Australia, including racist measures to control non-white immigration, and later, in the 1980s, the implementation of mandatory detention for refugees. He focused on his experiences in an occupation outside the remote Woomera Detention Center, and the way that supporters on the outside grew …
Jul 13, 2018
July 6, 2018: Anti-Detention Occupations from Australia to America
In light of the ongoing struggles across the country against deportations, family separations, and ICE detention centers, we are sharing an interview we did last year about struggles in Australia against refugee prison camps. In 2002, imprisoned refugees inside Australia’s remote Woomera immigration prison coordinated protests with 2500 supporters who had pitched a No Borders …
Jul 07, 2018
June 29, 2018: They’re Not Detention Centers, They’re Prisons
For this episode, we are returning to the conditions in immigrant detention centers. Alejandra spoke at the Fight Toxic Prisons conference in Pittsburgh, which was held earlier this month. Growing up in California, she was the only child in her family to be undocumented. As an adult in Arizona, she had a minor arrest that …
Jun 29, 2018
June 22, 2018: The Stakes of #SurroundICE
This week, we will focus on a specific story about an immigrant detention case in Pittsburgh- and hear firsthand from family impacted by these harsh repercussions for undocumented immigrants. Martin Esquivel-Hernandez was detained after a traffic stop, held by ICE, and eventually deported, leaving his family behind in Pennsylvania. Today, we will hear his story …
Jun 22, 2018
June 15, 2018: Families Fighting the Prisons
First, we hear part of a panel from the recent Fight Toxic Prisons conference, which was held last week in Pittsburgh. Saleem Holbrook shares his experiences after doing nearly three decades inside, with a focus on what it’s like to organize behind the walls. Coming into the system when he was young, he describes the …
Jun 15, 2018
June 8, 2018: Summer of Kites
This week’s episode is packed with news of struggles and repression. We start with coverage of Indiana prisons and two prisoners who need outside support right now. More information on these requests for help from Indiana prisoners can be found on our website, Then we get updates and two statements from prisoners in Florida continuing …
Jun 08, 2018
June 1, 2018: Carceral Capitalism, Part 3- The Prison Abolitionist Imagination
This week, we are returning to the topic of Carceral Capitalism. We interviewed the poet and author Jackie Wang in episodes 89 and 90 of Kite Line. You can access those on our website, There, Wang discusses the relationship between the growth of municipal debt and the emergence of fine farming and other ways …
Jun 01, 2018
May 25, 2018: The Causes and Costs of Sex Offense Laws
In this episode, we hear from Timothy Stewart-Winter, an Associate Professor at Rutgers University with a background studying sexuality and incarceration. Stewart-Winter wrote the book “Queer Clout: Chicago and the Rise of Gay Politics” and co-directs the Queer Newark Oral History Project. In this episode, they speak about the policing of sexuality and some of …
May 25, 2018
May 18, 2018: The Sex Offender Stigma
This week, we share the first part of a conversation we had with “Joe”. After doing ten years in prison for a sex offense conviction, Joe is now outside and navigating the difficult tightrope that many people convicted of such crimes must walk. A difficult topic to even discuss, Joe expresses the way being on …
May 18, 2018
May 11, 2018: Michelle Jones on the Collateral Consequences of Incarceration
This week, we share a moving keynote speech recently given at the University of Michigan by Michelle Jones. Jones has been featured on multiple episodes of Kite Line, who shared some of her experiences at the Indiana Women’s Prison, particularly issues of mental and physical health on the inside. Now, she speaks of the extensive …
May 11, 2018
May 4, 2018: Are Prisons Obsolete? Part Two
Last week, we began hearing the voices of prisoners on the topic of Angela Davis’s book, Are Prisons Obsolete? Up first, we have Anastazia Schmid’s response to the book, followed by Angaza Iman Bahar reading his response to us from Miami Correctional Facility.
May 11, 2018
April 27th, 2018: Are Prisons Obsolete? Part One
This week, we start in on the topic of Are Prisons Obsolete Over the next couple of Kite Line episodes, we will be sharing the words and writings of prisoners- many of whom have been featured on previous episodes- and their responses to Angela Davis’s book, “Are Prisons Obsolete” For context, the Abolition Study Sessions …
May 11, 2018
April 13, 2018: Carceral Capitalism, Part One
For this week’s episode we share the first part of a conversation between Micol Seigel and Jackie Wang. Wang is the author of the recent book, Carceral Capitalism. Today, she shares what led her to carceral studies, and the themes in her new book. She speaks about how having an incarcerated sibling shaped the trajectory …
Apr 22, 2018
April 20, 2018: Carceral Capitalism Continued and Operation Push Updates
This week, we start by finishing the discussion between Micol Seigel and Jackie Wang. You can hear more of their conversation on carceral capitalism in last week’s episode. After that segment, we share a series of letters and updates from Operation PUSH, which is still ongoing in some parts of the Florida prison system, and …
Apr 22, 2018
April 6, 2018: Speaking From Experience
We begin this week with a letter from a prisoner at Pendleton Correctional Facility. He writes about the educational programs available in the prison. He works through some of the problems prisoners encounter when trying to get a meaningful vocational training or degree on the inside. And then, we hear more from Abu Faheem Shabaz, …
Apr 06, 2018
March 30, 2018: Coming of Age While Inside
This week we share the first of two episodes on Jay Smith’s story, also known as Abu Faheem Shabaz, who was recently released from the Indiana Department of Corrections after spending years inside. As he states, Shabaz was part of the carceral system since childhood, and he describes coming of age within the walls of …
Apr 02, 2018
March 23, 2018: Carceral Repression Vs. Community Resilience
This week, we are airing selections from a panel discussion that took place earlier this month here in Bloomington. Andrea Ritchie and Victoria Law, both of whom were featured on Kite Line earlier this month, sit alongside Andrea Sterling at a panel called “Building Community Resilience”. In it, these women discuss the myriad ways that …
Mar 23, 2018
March 16, 2018: Women’s Resistance Behind Bars
This week, we speak with Victoria Law- a freelance journalist, mother of a New York City high school student, author of the book Resistance Behind Bars, the co-author of the forthcoming book Your Home Is Your Prison, as well as the editor of Tenacious, a journal of art and writing by incarcerated women.   She …
Mar 16, 2018
March 9, 2018: State Violence Against Women of Color
This week, we share a conversation we had with Andrea Ritchie, an attorney and activist whose work focuses on police violence against the queer community and women of color. She speaks about current political conditions, and the concepts in her most recent book, Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color. …
Mar 09, 2018
March 2, 2018- Reflections in Defiance: Kites From Florida, Indiana, and Greece
This week is focused on words from prisoners sent or smuggled from inside. From the jail in Evansville, Indiana, to letters from participants in Operation PUSH- the still-ongoing prison strike across the Florida department of corrections- to a collection of poems from our local jail, prisoners are finding ways to share their individual experiences and …
Mar 03, 2018
February 23, 2018: Conscious in Confinement
In this episode, we share a phone call and three short essays from Timothy Smith. Smith spoke to us from inside Cook County Jail, the most recent place he has been held over ten years in custody. Timothy has been at a several institutions around Illinois, and describes entering prison and specifically Menard Correctional Center. …
Feb 23, 2018
February 16, 2018: The Long History of Black Radicalism on the Inside, Part Two
This week, we return to the history of black radicalism within the prison system. You can hear more from Dr. Micol Seigel and Dr. Garrett Felber about this in last week’s episode. Early in this episode, the prisoner reporting on Operation PUSH, the sit-down strike in Florida’s prisons, mentions being transferred to a different area …
Feb 16, 2018
February 9, 2018: The Long History of Black Radicalism on the Inside, Part One
This week, we are changing our format slightly.  After hearing a letter from a prisoner involved in Operation PUSH, we are broadcasting an interview between Dr. Micol Seigel and Dr. Garrett Felber on the role of the Nation of Islam in prison life and prisoners’ struggle. Beginning in the middle of the last century, the …
Feb 10, 2018
February 2, 2018- The Past Isn’t Passed: Cycles of Violence and Exploitation
This episode, we start out with a statement from Anastazia Schmid, a prisoner in the Indiana Women’s Prison. She walks us through a brief history of how prisons, and specifically the modern practice of prison slave labor, came about. She also talks through some basics of how prison serves to isolate those on the inside, …
Feb 02, 2018
January 26, 2018: More Insights from the Local Jail
In this episode, we start with updates from Operation PUSH. After that, we continue hearing from Craig, who spent significant time in the Monroe County jail. You can hear the first part of Craig’s interview in last week’s episode. He spoke about his experiences in the various parts of Monroe County Jail, and also his …
Jan 26, 2018
January 19, 2018: Inside the Local Jail
First off, we include an update from outside supporters of Operation PUSH, the strike in Florida prisons that is now in its fifth day. We will continue to give updates on the situation in Florida’s prisons as they arrive. After the news, we share the first part of Craig’s story, who was recently released from …
Jan 19, 2018
January 12, 2018: Shine A Light- Tensions Spreading in the Prisons
This week, we feature two snapshots from fast-developing situations inside the prison system. First, we share an anonymized statement from a prisoner participating in final preparations for Operation: PUSH, the statewide strike inside Florida prisons next week. Second, we broadcast an analysis by a Michigan prisoner of the recently instated mail ban there, which is …
Jan 12, 2018
January 5, 2018: Operation PUSH
In this week’s episode, we speak with Karen Smith in Florida, who gives us insights into Operation PUSH. Kicking off in just 10 days, Operation PUSH is a prisoner-organized work stoppage inside Florida’s sprawling Prison System. In their own words, Operation PUSH is “asking all prisoners within the Department of Corrections to take a stand …
Jan 05, 2018
December 29, 2017: You Can’t Force the State to Abide by the Law
In this week’s episode, we hear from Valerie Buford, the sister of Leon Benson, a prisoner here in Indiana. Valerie talks about the circumstances that lead to Leon being imprisoned on a murder charge since 1998. Through her story, you can hear how difficult it is to navigate the legal system, especially with few financial …
Dec 29, 2017
December 22, 2017: Rightlessness
This week we speak with Naomi Paik about her 2016 book, Rightlessness. Her work addresses the most pressing contemporary issues, drawing together the brutal state of exception imposed on Haitian and Muslim prisoners in Guantanamo with the historical experience of Japanese internment camps and the current anti-immigrant drive. She focuses on the spaces – whether …
Dec 22, 2017
December 15, 2017: PREA, Part Two
This week features our second segment on PREA- the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Last week, we heard from Irene, who is being held in the Indiana Women’s Prison. She described her run-ins with PREA, leading to a broader analysis of the failure of prison bureaucracies to meaningfully respond to real abuse. At the same time, …
Dec 15, 2017
December 8, 2017: PREA, Part One
This episode is the start of our conversation about PREA, the Prison Rape Elimination Act. PREA was passed in 2003 with unanimous support from both parties in Congress. The purpose of the act was to “provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to …
Dec 08, 2017
December 1, 2017: Feminist Organizing in Prison
This week, we share part of a talk from two women organizing with prisoners. They speak candidly about the basics of supporting prisoners, and include some of the dynamics they noticed while working with those on the inside. We have more to share from these women committed to such solidarity, but we are offering this …
Dec 01, 2017
November 24, 2017: Transitions to the Outside
In this episode we give follow-up information about the hunger strike at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. Then, we finish a conversation with Salomon X, a former prisoner in southern Illinois. Two weeks ago, he shared stories of different issues he faced in a variety of facilities. Now, he continues talking about his experiences behind …
Nov 24, 2017
November 17, 2017: Two Weeks Into the Hunger Strike at Wabash Valley
In Wabash Valley, Shaka Shakur is maintaining his hunger strike, demanding an end to guard abuses and the isolation of active prisoners in camera cells. We spoke with his wife, Akili Shakur, who provided context for the struggle undertaken by Shaka and other prisoners, along with background on his imprisonment and the role of guards …
Nov 17, 2017
November 10, 2017: 23 Hours In & One Hour Out- The View From Menard
This week, we share the words and experiences of Salomon X, a former prisoner in Illinois. In the first of two episodes with Salomon, he describes poor conditions and exploitation in the Menard prison, site of many recent struggles, and compares it with other facilities. Many of his memories will be recognizable to Hoosiers; elsewhere, …
Nov 10, 2017
November 3, 2017: Appalachian Prison Resistance
This week, we speak with Lill, a resident of Whitesburg, Kentucky. Whitesburg is located in Letcher County the proposed home to a new federal prison to be built on a mountaintop removal site. We have previously covered the strong local organizing in Letcher County that had helped put a stop to this toxic proposal. In …
Nov 03, 2017
October 27, 2017: Fighting the Mail Ban
Last April, the Indiana Department of Corrections banned all correspondence to it’s 25,000 prisoners, except that which is handwritten on lined white paper. The official explanation is that this is an attempt to block trafficking of synthetic marijuana which can be applied to paper. But many prisoners and advocates have pointed to a long series …
Oct 28, 2017
October 20, 2017: The Rise of Mass Incarceration, Part Two
Our news this week focuses on the prisoners who are fighting California’s wildfires for as little as a dollar an hour while actually fighting fires. In total, about thirty-eight hundred male and female inmates are fighting fires in California. They constitute around thirteen percent of the state’s firefighters. Their low salaries save taxpayers a hundred …
Oct 20, 2017
October 13, 2017: The Rise of Mass Incarceration, Part One
This week we share the first part of a lecture by Elizabeth Hinton delivered at IU on October 12.  In her talk, she traces the creation and rise of mass incarceration as a strategy of America’s ruling class.  Her historical research, which culminated in a book last year called “From the War on Poverty to …
Oct 13, 2017
October 6, 2017: Prison and the Press, Part One
This week is the first episode of several about the intersection between the media and prison struggles. In January of 2015, journalist Barrett Brown was sentenced to 63 months in prison for his role reporting on Anonymous’ hack of Stratfor, a private security and espionage company. Today, we are sharing a talk he gave at …
Oct 06, 2017
September 29, 2017: Prison Imperialism
The phenomenon of mass incarceration has made the United States the world leader in carceral punishment. With only four percent of the world’s population, the United States accounts for 20% of the world’s incarcerated persons. In fact, the U.S. Is the pioneer of mass incarceration and the attendant police militarization and prison industry that are …
Sep 29, 2017
September 22, 2017: Fighting Words
This week, we have two contributions –one closer to home and one many more miles away- but both aim to describe an unfair relationship of power each contributor’s community faces. We first hear an essay from a prisoner in Southern Illinois, followed by a statement sent to us from a member of the community of …
Sep 22, 2017
September 15, 2017: Prison Lives Matter
This episode is an interview with Kwame Shakur, who is currently incarcerated at the Pendleton Correctional Institution. On August 11th , Indiana prison activists held a demonstration at the state capitol building in Indianapolis opposing new Indiana department of corrections regulations restricting incoming prisoner mail. The new policy prohibits all mail which is not hand …
Sep 15, 2017
September 8, 2017- Family Values: A Conversation with Ray Luc Levasseur
In this episode, we continue our conversation with Ray Luc Levasseur. He is a former underground combatant with the United Freedom Front, which carried out a campaign of attacks from 1975-1984 against South African Apartheid and US intervention in Central America. He spent 13 years in solitary confinement after his capture. This week, he shares …
Sep 08, 2017
September 1, 2017: Lines Should Be Drawn- Ray Luc Levasseur on Fighting Jim Crow and Surviving Federal Supermax
Ray Luc Levasseur is a former underground participant in the United Freedom Front, which carried out a campaign of attacks from 1975-1984 against South African Apartheid and US intervention in Central America. He spent 13 years in solitary confinement after his capture. In the first episode of our series on Ray Luc’s experiences in prison …
Sep 01, 2017
August 25, 2017: Kara Wild- From the Midwest to a French Prison
This week’s story is that of Kara Wild. An anarchist prisoner from Chicago, Kara is a trans woman who has been in a French prison for over a year and a half. We first give some background on her case, and then hear from her friends and loved ones, who share some stories about Kara. …
Aug 25, 2017
August 18, 2017: Prisoner Perspectives on Reform
We cover a range of news in this week’s episode- from a brief history of Black August and the upcoming August 19th prison demonstrations, to current prison conditions in regards to education, visitation, and forced sterilization. We then read a letter from prisoner Keith Malik Washington about the continued suffering from extreme heat in Texas …
Aug 18, 2017
August 11, 2017: Prisoner Perspectives on Collateral Damage
We start this episode with a message from Angaza, a prisoner in the IDOC system who describes recent unfair changes in prison correspondence and what people on both the inside and outside are trying to do about it. As of April first, the Indiana Department of Correction is no longer accepting any correspondence for inmates …
Aug 11, 2017
August 4, 2017: “They haven’t deterred our work” Ramona Africa on the MOVE 9 and State Violence
This week, we share a conversation with Ramona Africa, who talks about the MOVE 9 case, the 1985 police bombing of the MOVE house, and the relationship between this history and contemporary struggles against prisons and police violence. We also hear updates on the struggle at the medium security facility in St. Louis, called the …
Aug 04, 2017
July 28, 2017: The Workhouse
In this episode of Kite Line, we cover the recent demonstrations outside the Workhouse in St. Louis, Missouri. On July 21, police there used pepper spray to disperse 300 people protesting conditions in a medium-security jail called the Hall Medium Security Facility, known popularly as the Workhouse. The demonstrators demanded that the jail be closed, …
Jul 28, 2017
July 21, 2017: Communication and Resistance
Maintaining contact with long-term prisoners is key to both their survival and to ongoing struggles across the prison walls. In this episode, we hear a statement from Cindy Crabb, supporter of long-term anarchist prisoner Marius Mason, who will soon enter his 9th year of incarceration. Cindy stresses the need for us on the outside to …
Jul 21, 2017
July 14, 2017- Mark Cook Reflects on Solidarity Across the Walls
We return for our final episode with Mark Cook, former political prisoner and member of the Black Panther Party and the George Jackson Brigade. After hearing some news and a request from a supporter of Indiana prisoner Khalfani Malik Khaldun, we hear from Mark Cook about the impact of outside solidarity. Not only did outside …
Jul 14, 2017
July 7, 2017- Out Again, Everything Continues- More Stories from Mark Cook
This week, we return to our interview with Mark Cook. You can hear more about his history in last’s week episode. Now, Mark leads us through several very interesting and entertaining stories from his own release, to his project providing jobs for people as they get released from prison, and other ambitious plans launched with …
Jul 07, 2017
June 30, 2017- Recalling Past Struggles
This week is the first part of our interview with Mark Cook. Mark served 24 years in prison for his participation in a bank robbery and jail break associated with the George Jackson Brigade in Seattle. He co-founded the Walla Walla chapter of the Black Panther Party, and Mark continued his activism throughout his captivity. …
Jun 30, 2017
June 23, 2017: Toxic in Texas
This week takes us to Texas, where we hear from Candice Bernd, speaking at the 2nd Fight Toxic Prisons Conference, which took place earlier this month in Denton, Texas. Candice talks about the intersection between environmental activism and the carceral system. In Texas, prisoners are subjected to extreme conditions, and some prisoners have filed a …
Jun 23, 2017
June 16, 2017: Memories of Boo
This week, we return to the story of Clinton “Boo” Gilkie, who died one year ago- on June 7, 2016- in the Monroe County Jail.  We discussed the circumstances of his death in our episode 2 weeks ago, and recommend that you to listen this episode of Kite Line for more context. Our interview today …
Jun 17, 2017
June 11th, 2017- Ongoing Support for Marius Mason and His Family
This week on Kite Line we feature Arianna Staiger, daughter of Marius Mason, an anarchist prisoner who used to live and organize in Bloomington. Ariana speaks about how she experienced Marius’ arrest and persecution, her thoughts on ongoing support and about June 11, a day set aside every year to support and honor Marius and …
Jun 10, 2017
June 2, 2017- The Premature Death of Boo Gilkie
June 7th marks the one year anniversary of the death of Clinton Gilkie, and so we devote our June 2nd and June 16th episodes of Kite Line to his story and his memory. Clinton “Boo” Gilkie was held in the Monroe County Jail since he was 16 after a failed robbery using a toy gun. …
Jun 02, 2017
May 26, 2017- The Death Penalty
The death penalty is the barest, most explicit aspect of state violence. Relatively few people are sentenced to death, and even fewer are actively, legally killed by the state but the death penalty persists as an assertion of the sovereign right to take life or to let live. This week on Kite Line, we’ll begin …
May 28, 2017
May 19, 2017- Steps Forward
This week we share news and stories from two people who have been caught up in very different ways in the web of prison. Both Bresha Meadows and Patrick Pursely have recently made steps forward in escaping this web, and we are excited to share news from them. Listen in for updates on reduced charges …
May 23, 2017
May 12, 2017: Addiction, Sobriety, and Recidivism
This week we feature an interview with Patrick, who reflects on his experience with addiction and prison. His story is both deeply personal and analytic, illuminating systemic connections and paths forward. We also share a long letter from a current Indiana prisoner, who makes an urgent plea to all of us for contact and for …
May 17, 2017
May 5, 2017: Commissary
For prisons to function smoothly and profitably, the major tools of control – violence, surveillance, separation – must be complimented by a host of less obvious instruments and technologies. These include censorship in the mail room, the cultivation of racial tension, integration of prisoner labor into facility maintenance, cafeteria operations, and private contracting, among many …
May 13, 2017
April 28, 2017: Dismantling Barriers to Life
This week features a variety of conversations that we are sharing with you through a partnership with StoryCorps. The event, Dismantling Barriers to Life, was about the impacts of mass incarceration. Dismantling Barriers to Life was hosted last month in Chicago, and these are some of the stories collected for the event. We hear people …
May 02, 2017
April 21, 2017: Recovery From Above, Recovery From Below- The AIR Dorm
This week, we focus on the closing of a volunteer-run dorm in the Monroe County Jail. The Addicts in Recovery, or AIR Dorm, has been a unique part of the local jail programming for several years. The AIR program provides a place for selected inmates to participate in intensive addiction recovery programs (addiction treatment, anger …
Apr 25, 2017
April 14, 2017- Bresha Meadows, Domestic Violence, and the State
Content Warning: This episode contains strong imagery about domestic violence and other abuse. This week, we examine the intersections between domestic violence, along with other forms of gendered violence, the courts, and the prison system. To begin, we share thoughts from a collaborator about Bresha Meadows – a teenager facing murder charges after killing her …
Apr 15, 2017
April 7, 2017- How to Write to Prisoners
Our focus for this episode is writing to prisoners. After some prison-related news, we speak with Lukah Revolt, who explains how she went from writing a few political prisoners to writing more than 30 people on the inside. Lukah explains the basics of sending a letter inside, and why it is important to communicate with …
Apr 12, 2017
March 31, 2017- Jailhouse Law
This episode is a conversation with Steve Garrett, who during his time in Ohio’s prison system, used the legal loopholes and statutes he learned to challenge the State on its own terms. He shares stories with us about how he used the law to his advantage.
Apr 11, 2017
March 24, 2017- Cyclical Confinement: Homelessness and Incarceration
In this episode, we speak to people with experience with both homelessness and incarceration. Often, there is a cyclical relationship between these two situations. We speak with Forest Gilmore, the director of the Shalom Center here in Bloomington. Forest talks about various barriers that both people who experience homelessness and those who have been incarcerated …
Mar 30, 2017
March 17, 2017- Woomera: Escaping From an Immigrant Detention Center, Part Three
This week concludes our series on the mass escape from the Woomera immigrant detention center in 2002. Aren Aizura, who helped organize the solidarity camp outside the prison over Easter weekend of that year, tells us more about the aftermath: follow-up organizing with captive refugees, and the Australian government’s push to move the prisons to …
Mar 17, 2017
March 10, 2017- Woomera: Escaping From an Immigrant Detention Center, Part Two
In the second episode of our series on the mass escape from the Woomera refugee detention center in Australia, Aren Aizura parses out the stakes of the protest camp, its participants, and the escalation to the breakout.  From there, Aren moves to the escape itself, the emotional meeting between refugees and outside supporters, and the …
Mar 12, 2017
March 3, 2017- Woomera: Escaping From an Immigrant Detention Center, Part One
In 2002, imprisoned refugees inside Australia’s Woomera immigration prison coordinated with 2500 outside supporters who had pitched camp outside the facility.  Their coordination allowed them to stage a mass breakout.  This is the first of three episodes dedicated to telling this story, from an interview with a participant in the solidarity camp. It’s a vital …
Mar 04, 2017
February 24, 2017- Support Communities
This episode, we focus on two individuals who are working to organize support systems for communities that are directly affected or targeted by law enforcement and incarceration. First, we continue our conversation with Akili Shakur, wife of prisoner Shaka Shakur, who works to organize support groups for family members of prisoners. Then, we hear from …
Mar 02, 2017
February 17, 2017- Families and Prison, Part Three
Our focus for this episode returns to the impact of incarceration on families. First we have a discussion between our friend Lucy and one of her fellow classmates at Indiana University, Rafael Green, III. Rafael describes having multiple family members in prison during his childhood, and the way that affected both his childhood, and the …
Feb 27, 2017
February 10, 2017- Education in Prison, Part Two
We return to the topic of education within the prison system. After some prison news, we hear a statement written by someone who taught in prisons in the Midwest. Then we return to Micol Seigel’s discussion with Jarrod Wall, who tells us about getting a degree while incarcerated, and the effects/benefits of education while incarcerated, …
Feb 12, 2017
February 3, 2017- Off Paper
In this episode, we introduce a new topic, going “off-paper.” When prisoners finish their time and re-enter the free world, they confront a whole host of barriers and questions that extend the hold that institutions have on them well past their “on-paper” sentences. To begin, we hear a recently released anarchist prisoner who reflects on …
Feb 05, 2017
January 27, 2017- Histories of Resistance in Ohio’s prisons
We go to the neighboring state of Ohio this week in order to dig into the history of Midwestern prison resistance. We share more of the story of Siddique Hasan – one of 5 prisoners on death row for their role in the 1994 Lucasville Uprising – as well as his organizing and his case. …
Feb 04, 2017
January 20, 2016 – Education in Prison
This week’s episode focuses on the importance of education in prison. We speak with Dr. Scarlett Brooks, who has taught English and writing in several inmate education programs . We also hear some reflections from Maureen, who has experience teaching art in Indiana Prisons. Later, we share a letter written by Zolo, a long-time inmate …
Jan 23, 2017
January 13, 2017- The Muse on the Inside
Our topic this week is creativity behind bars. We showcase poetry from prisoners working with the Indiana Prisoners’ Writing Project, a piece by Shaka Shakur, entitled “Black Pain”, and a song by local musician Billy Young. Shakur is currently serving time in the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility here in Indiana. Billy Young will speak with …
Jan 16, 2017
Friday, January 6, 2017- Childbirth in Prison
This week, we hear some prison-related news and then return to the topic of pregnancy in prison. We continue our discussion with Dr. Alicia Suarez, a sociologist who researches pregnancy and childbirth as it relates to incarcerated women. She continues the discussion from our Pregnancy in Prison episode, and walks us through the process of …
Jan 16, 2017
Friday, December 23, 2016- Pregnancy in Prison
Our episode focuses on the experience of being pregnant while in prison. First, we hear prison-related news. Then, we speak with Dr. Alicia Suarez, PhD, who teaches at DePauw University. Suarez researches pregnant prisoners at the Indiana Women’s Prison, and speaks with us about the daily life and issues facing these women. In our next …
Jan 16, 2017
December 30, 2016- Spaces of Exception; Resilience in Prisons and on Reservations
This week, we explore various spaces of exception. We spoke with Matt Peterson, a documentary filmmaker and contributor to a multimedia project called the Native and the Refugee. Along with Malek Rasamny, he has worked in both native reservations and Palestinian refugee camps, drawing links between each as spaces of exception, excluded from the national …
Dec 30, 2016
December 16, 2016 – Community Policing
This week, we are sharing a conversation we had with Kristian Williams, author of Our Enemies in Blue and American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination. Kristian spoke at IU earlier this month on the history of policing in America, but we were eager to pick his brain about the intersections of police, racism, …
Dec 18, 2016
December 9, 2016 – Immigration and Incarceration
This week’s episode begins to explore the intersections of borders, documentation, and incarceration. We look at the history of U.S. immigration policy, and how immigrant detention has become such a racialized institution. We also hear from a local latinx poet, and learn about local initiatives led by undocumented communities across the state.
Dec 10, 2016
December 2, 2016- Dignity in Detention, from Standing Rock to the Spanish State
Our focus this week is on Red Fawn Fallis, currently detained in North Dakota after her arrest on October 27, at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. We speak to a member of the International Indigenous Youth Council- and longtime friend of hers, Mia Stevens, about Red Fawn’s situation. We hear updates on the ongoing repression …
Dec 02, 2016
November 25, 2016 – Female Survival in Prison
This episode is the second installment exploring women within prisons. First, we get updates on struggles in Bulgaria and Turkey, hear about proposed changes to solitary confinement, and learn about the case of Red Fawn, a Colorado woman arrested at the Standing Rock occupation against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Micol Seigel interviews two women, Michelle …
Nov 25, 2016
November 18, 2016 – Families and Prison, Part Two
This week’s episode is the second installment of our Families and Prison series. We speak with April, a formerly-incarcerated mother who works with House of Hope in Martinsville, Indiana. She shares her experiences and thoughts about the issues facing women in prison, as well as the work she has been doing since her release. We …
Nov 18, 2016
November 12, 2016 – Families and Prison, Part One
This week is our first installment of a series covering the impact of prison on families. This episode focuses on Wendi Middleton, who works in the Indiana Women’s Prison with her organization Angel’s Wings, which provides a variety of services to incarcerated women, from newly pregnant mothers to women who became prisoners while being the …
Nov 13, 2016
November 4, 2016 – Sekou Kambui
This week, we return to the experiences and stories of Sekou Kambui, who was incarcerated for 47 years in Alabama prisons. He was originally charged due to his commitment to Black liberation and organizing in the deep south. In this interview with James Kilgore, we get a picture of the New Afrikan practices of self-education …
Nov 04, 2016
October 28, 2016 – Hunger and Work Strikes
We learn about the Chicago Community Bond Fund, a group that bails people out of Chicago’s Cook County Jail and strives to end pretrial detention. James Kilgore speaks with Alfred Woodfox and Robert King of the Angola 3. Rounding out this week’s episode, we have part of Kilgore’s interview with Sekou Kambui, a longtime New …
Oct 31, 2016
October 21, 2016 – The Bomani Episode
The Bomani Episode This week, we focus on a topic that is close to many of us on the outside: the story and struggle of political prisoner and Ohio death row inmate Bomani Shakur (known to the state as Keith Lamar). We begin our episode with an update on Marius Mason, news from the Kinross …
Oct 24, 2016
October 14, 2016: Habeas Corpus
The focus this week is on the impact of habeas corpus both for prisoners and their loved ones. We begin with news on a call-in effort for queer and trans prisoners in Michigan, followed by updates on the death due to neglect of a Michigan prisoner and the forced transfer of an Alabama prisoner. We …
Oct 17, 2016
October 7, 2016: The YIMBY Episode
Welcome to the YIMBY episode: Yes In My Backyard. We focus on some positive projects in our area that affect those experiencing incarceration, addiction, and poverty. We have updates on the National Prison Strike, read a letter from an inmate in the Monroe County Jail, and hear letters from prisoners requesting friends in the form …
Oct 07, 2016
September 30, 2016: Women, Health and Prison, Part One
This week is our introduction to the topic of women, health, and prison. We speak with some prisoners about their experiences with mental health in prison, and hear additional commentary from outside sources, hoping to lay the groundwork for future episodes about the subject.
Sep 30, 2016
September 23, 2016: Dear Marius
We begin our show with updates on the National Prison Strike, and then devote the entire episode to Marius Mason, a friend and former Bloomington resident currently serving a 22 year sentence for acts of ecological defense. We hear messages from people to and about Marius, listen to some of Marius’s music and poetry, and …
Sep 26, 2016
September 16, 2016: National Prison Strike Updates
This week on Kite Line, we follow up on what’s happening nationally and internationally in regards to actions for the National Prison strike, both on the inside and outside. We talk to a supporter of Kara Wild, a US trans woman who is currently being held indefinitely in a French jail. We report on call-in …
Sep 19, 2016
September 9, 2016: The National Prison Strike
In this episode, we focus on the September 9th National Prison Strike. We hear the Free Alabama Movement’s initial call for the strike, learn a bit about prison labor and Whole Foods, get an update on Siddique Hasan’s ongoing hunger strike, and talk with people involved in organizing against a proposed prison in Letcher County, …
Sep 15, 2016
September 2, 2016: Bend the Bars
This week, we recorded at Bend The Bars, a conference in Columbus, Ohio, that brought together former prisoners, various organizations, and people who are interested in prisoner support. First off, we read a letter from an inmate at the Monroe County Jail. We learn about the upcoming September 9th National Prison Strike, speak with attendees …
Sep 02, 2016
August 26, 2016: Prison Ecology #2
This week, we hear some prison related news, and then return to the theme of Prison Ecology. There is more from the panel at the Fight Toxic Prisons convergence in Washington, DC., Jasmine Heiss from Amnesty International, and former eco-prisoner Eric McDavid.
Aug 29, 2016
August 19, 2016: Prison Ecology
In the third episode of Kite Line, we focus on prison ecology. We talk with organizers of the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons as well as a member of the Letcher Governance Project in Letcher County, Kentucky. We hear from Ramona Africa from the Philadelphia-based organization, MOVE – she is the sole adult survivor of …
Aug 19, 2016
August 12, 2016
In the second episode of Kite Line, we hear from Bomani Shakur, a prisoner on death row in Ohio, have our second installment of Prison 101 with Professor Micol Seigel, get an update about repression against Siddique Hasan in response to the upcoming September 9th prisoner strike, and we learn about the hunger strike that …
Aug 12, 2016
The Debut Episode – August 5, 2016
This first episode of Kite Line is an introduction to some of the issues we want to cover here on the show. We give updates on prison news, Professor Micol Seigel describes the basic functions of prison, and Professor Jakobi Williams reflects on the history of racist police violence and the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Aug 05, 2016