Spoiler Alert: I’m about to mention something from the August 9 episode of Ear Hustle, titled Catch A Kite. You’ve been warned.
I suspect that I wasn’t the only Ear Hustle fan to be deeply disappointed by the last 45 seconds of Episode 5. It really sucked to hear that production of the podcast is currently on hold due to a lock down situation at San Quentin prison.
Here’s a clip of Ear Hustle co-host Nigel Poor explaining:
It is a serious understatement to say that Ear Hustle has been a smashing success. It’s probably the most popular podcast launch since S-Town earlier this year.
As it is, episodes of the show only come out every 2 weeks, which is painful for those of us who are hungry for a “look” at life behind bars.
With this in mind, I went in search for more episodes about life in prison, the workings of the justice (often in-just) system, and life after prison.
Let me be clear: I don’t listen to Ear Hustle or any of these other prison podcast episodes because I find the idea of prison “glamorous” (Orange is the New Black freaks me out, I can’t watch it). I’m definitely not condoning any of the crimes committed by the individuals featured in these stories.I listen to podcasts for a glimpse at places to which I don’t otherwise have access Click To Tweet
I listen to podcasts because they give me a glimpse at topics, people, and places to which I don’t otherwise have access. That’s what I enjoy about these podcast episodes, and I hope you will, too.
Podcast Episodes to Try if You Like Ear Hustle
Criminal – Episode 58: Walnut Grove
I’ve been wanting to tell the world about this podcast episode for months. It tells the story of a horribly mismanaged youth prison (aka, juvenile detention center) here in the US.
I listened to this episode alone, while making dinner one night, and it made me so angry. It’s safe to say that I had no idea about several of the things that are discussed in it. Consider my eyes wide open now.
Death, Sex & Money – “I Killed Someone. Now I Have Three Kids: Update”
This is the podcast episode that Nigel Poor mentioned at the end of the last Ear Hustle episode. It’s an interview with a prisoner who has been in jail for 24 years, and is up for parole this month.
He tells the story of his crime, his years in prison, and how he ended up a married man and father. There’s also a follow-up episode interview with his wife; it’s is equally as intriguing as the first episode.
Written Inside – Ep 3: On The Move… Again
This episode is part of an 8-episode series released earlier this year. Each episode is adapted from an essay written by an inmate at a Chicago prison. The voices are of local Chicago actors.
All of the episodes are interesting, but I chose to recommend this episode because I think a lot of people will be surprised by the details. I certainly was.
Radio Diaries – Matthew and the Judge: Juvenile Court Diary
I had a mix of emotions when listening to this episode. The story featured in this episode first aired on NPR in 2001. It tells the story of a convicted teen, but not the way you think.
Tape recorders were given to both the teen and the judge in charge of his parole hearing. You get to hear the story from both sides, including how the judge comes to his decision, and what happens afterwards.
Strangers – Franky Carrillo: Life
I usually get really pissed off when I hear about obvious wrongful convictions. But somehow, the guy featured in this podcast episode made me feel better by the end!
In this episode, Franky describes how he spent 20 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. In the follow-up episode, Franky Carrillo: Life Now, he explains how life has been since his release.
I’m being vague and trying not to give away details. Needless to say, I loved these episodes. And I love that the Strangers podcast includes photos of Franky on its site.
Wrongful Conviction – Season 3, Episode 6: 10 Separate Charges And 23 Years Later: The Egregious Framing of Robert Jones
Okay. This podcast and episode have a different vibe than Ear Hustle, but I can’t not recommend it. And this episode.
If you were hooked by Netflix’s Making a Murderer, then Wrongful Conviction is the podcast for you. It will make you shake your head at the US criminal justice system (if you don’t already). This episode is just one of the many that will blow you away.
Bonus Podcast Recommendation
The episode of Criminal that I recommend above speaks to the private prison system in the US. The ACLU’s Prison Voices podcast also covers this topic. I think it’s an important episode for every US citizen to learn about and acknowledge.
Do you like Ear Hustle? Will you be listening to any of the podcasts I’ve recommended? Drop a comment below to let me know.