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Ear Hustle

Ear Hustle & Radiotopia

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Ear Hustle is prison slang for eavesdropping, and that’s what listening to the show feels like: a raw, often funny, and always surprising peek into the reality of life inside prison. Hosts Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods co-created the show that launched in 2017 while Earlonne was incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, where Nigel was a volunteer teaching photography. Since Earlonne’s release in 2018, the show has expanded to include stories from prisons across the state, including the Cali ...
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Twelve years ago, Nigel asked San Quentin resident Greg Eskridge to write a list of everything he owned in prison. That much, Earlonne remembers. The rest of this episode is a surprise gift, from one Ear Hustle host to another. Thanks to Greg Eskridge for speaking and sharing his lists with us. You can hear a lot more of Greg on the podcast Uncuffe…
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A bucolic garden, six kinds of breakfast cereal, and around-the-clock bedside vigil: How one California prison is trying to mitigate the fears and unknowns of dying inside prison. Thanks to Joseph Bick, Michele DiTomas, Terrance Harris, Allan Hickman, Gerard Hite, Jerry Judson, Keith Knauf, Alan Krenitsky, Kenneth Langill, Jeff Maria, Earl Miller, …
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We’ve never based a whole episode on a poem before, but this one, by Sky, took us by surprise. It’s both a record of longing for all the things she can’t do in prison — sleep in a teepee, have a cookie jar, touch a rabbit — and a way of doing those things in her mind. Big thanks to Acting Warden Andes and Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and …
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Season 13 is coming soon; in the meantime, here’s a glimpse of what’s going on in Ear Hustle Plus, our new subscription feed. In this excerpt, Nigel and Earlonne listen back to their very first episode, “Cellies,” and chat with executive producer Bruce Wallace about what life was like behind the scenes when Ear Hustle first stepped into the world, …
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In honor of our 100th episode (!), Ear Hustle revisits our very first one – “Cellies” – this time with a twist: Residents of the California Institution for Women tell us stories about “bunkies,” the good, the bad, and the…complicated. Big thanks to Acting Warden Oak Smith and Lt. Guim'Mara Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Molly …
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When she was in her 20s, Shanna was the victim of a violent attack. Ten years later, she’s ready to talk about the experience and the “full-time job” of recovery. Big thanks to Acting Warden Oak Smith and Lt. Guim'Mara Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Molly Hill and Lt. William Newborg at the California Institution for Women for…
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Nigel and Earlonne visit the largest women's prison in the world, the Central California Women's Facility, and speak to five people about building a life in a tough environment, and calling that place home. Special thanks to Warden Anissa De La Cruz and Lt. Monique Williams for welcoming us to CCWF. Thanks also to Acting Warden Oak Smith and Lt. Gu…
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Can a prison be haunted? And why are good ghost stories — inside or outside of prison — so hard to come by? The Ear Hustle team goes ghost hunting at San Quentin and the California Institution for Women. We’re going on the road! Check out our upcoming tour dates at earhustlesq.com/tour. Can’t get enough Ear Hustle? Sign up for Ear Hustle Plus, our …
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If San Quentin were a magazine, what would it sound like? Ear Hustle’s new team inside – Sadiq, Steve, Tam, and the Two Tonys – delivers audio stories hot off the press, from the institution’s popcorn craze to its new tablets and those weird-looking gazebos out on the yard. Big thanks to Acting Warden Oak Smith and Lt. Guim'Mara Berry at San Quenti…
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Producer Rahsaan “New York” Thomas takes us inside the parole-ordered transitional housing he’s been living in since getting out of prison. For many people, these residences are a godsend. For others, they’re a frustrating limbo between prison and being truly free. Big thanks to Acting Warden Smith and Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison and Acti…
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Prisons weren’t designed for older folks, and the California Institution for Women is no exception. Nigel and Earlonne pay a visit to CIW’s Senior Center to hang out with a group of women aged 70 and up and hear their stories about aging inside. Big thanks to Acting Warden Oak Smith and Lt. Guim'Mara Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Wa…
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Inspired by the classic This American Life episode “24 Hours at the Golden Apple,” the Ear Hustle team documents one day in the life of San Quentin’s lower yard, from Haka dancing to dominoes; gospel to geese; and weight-lifting to waiting to get out. Big thanks to Acting Warden Oak Smith and Lt. Guim'Mara Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Act…
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It’s summertime! Which means the Ear Hustle team is off cooking up a new batch of stories for our next season — Season 12 — launching September 6. In the meantime, we’re bringing you an episode from one of our favorite new podcasts, Violation. The series revisits a 1986 murder case, in which 16-year-old Jacob Wideman — son of award-winning author J…
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In honor of Pride month, we’re serving up some of our best stories about the LGBTQ community inside prison, including: a love story set out on the yard at San Quentin State Prison; two trans women on their journey from a men’s prison to a women’s prison, thanks to a new California law; and the first-ever Pride parade held inside a Norwegian prison.…
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Is there such a thing as a prison uniform? Turns out, it takes two podcasts to answer that question. Nigel and Earlonne team up with Avery Trufelman from the Radiotopia pod Articles of Interest to find out why incarcerated people wear what they do, and how they make it their own. Big thanks to Guim'Mara Berry and Acting Warden Oak Smith for their s…
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Over at San Quentin, a new preacher has started drawing crowds on the yard. He’s charismatic, soft-spoken, and devout. He says he’s a different man than he was when he committed the crimes that put him in prison. But how can he, or anyone else, really know? Big thanks to Guim'Mara Berry and Acting Warden Oak Smith for their support of the show. Ear…
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Imagine you’re an archaeologist tasked with going through someone’s garbage. What will you learn about their habits and desires, their values, and how they spend their resources? For seven days, the entire Ear Hustle team, both inside and outside San Quentin, stashed our trash, revealing some new and surprising things about each other. Big thanks t…
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