“20 Years on the Inside” is a rare and insightful glimpse into the imprisonment and experience of First Nations incarceration over the last twenty years.
First Nations people in Australia are the most incarcerated people on earth, and this podcast amplifies the voices of those who have spent time on the inside.
Our hosts Kutcha Edwards and Vickie Roach are survivors of the Stolen Generations and have both spent their fair share of time on the inside. Kutcha is a musician and a proud Mutti Mutti man whose heritage has shaped much of his music and career. Vickie is a proud Yuin woman currently living on Yuin Country, and a human rights activist whose work has changed laws in Australia.
This podcast honours the resilience and commitment of the prison radio show “Beyond the Bars”, first broadcast on 3CR Community Radio in 2002 and still going strong after 20 years. Throughout this podcast series, we’ll hear live broadcasts from prisons across Victoria, with the wonderful broadcasters that make “Beyond the Bars” such compelling listening. At the centre of these broadcasts are those subsisting on the inside - whose voices are so critical in building a future for Aboriginal people in so-called Australia.
Take a listen to the brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles and cousins, from around Victoria who unite in storytelling, song, poetry and politics.
The daily grind
The prison system can be harsh, monotonous and degrading. Work in prison can be tiresome, and close to slave labour. It’s a stark contrast to the interests or desires of the mob on the inside to the work they’d like to do, or even dreamt of doing one day. Unless you’ve experienced the isolation and loneliness behind bars it can be hard to imagine. On today’s show Kutcha and Vickie hear from the men and women on the “inside” about the daily grind. Life and work on the “inside”. We listen to the brothers and sisters who are living the grind day in, day out, and try to understand just what this system is doing to our people. In today’s episode we hear from Fuddy Senior, Fuddy Junior, Al Boy, Rocket, Travis, Jody, Mark, Eric and others in prisons across Victoria, as well as Beyond the Bars broadcasters Shiralee Hood, Johnny Mac, Ross Morgan, Kerri-Lee Harding and the late Lester Green.
The Aboriginal spirit is strong and ever-present
In an institution, freedom can be found only briefly - if at all. For Vickie brief moments of creativity and freedom were felt in the early hours, while the jail was still and quiet. But keeping culture and connecting with the Aboriginal spirit can feel impossible when you’re locked up. The Aboriginal culture is ancient, strong and ever-present in First Nations people; culture remains in the spirits of mob in prison, even when their physical presence to the land is cut off. In this episode, Kutcha and Vickie explore how inmates find creative expression, engage in the healing process and learn about culture while on the “inside”. Vickie shares how she found moments of peace during her time in prison through her creativity, daydreaming, writing and strengthening her spiritual connections.In today’s episode, we hear from Roy, Jody, James, Danielle, and others in prisons across Victoria and “Beyond the Bars” broadcasters Shiralee Hood, Kerri-Lee Harding, and Johnny Mac.
“There is no space to grieve in jail ...” When loved ones die on the “outside”, those left on the “inside” endure prison despite their grief. In this episode of “20 Years on the Inside”, Kutcha and Vickie speak about the pain of losing family and community members when imprisoned and the agony of being unable to fulfil cultural obligations. This episode not only looks at the pain associated with grief and mourning, but also with drug addiction, and how prisons only prolong the pain. We hear from mob on the inside about their stories of grief and addiction, and Vickie shares her own experiences with unfinished drug habits and the ongoing pain and injustice prisoners continue to face when they’re on the “outside”. In today’s episode, we hear from Clarky, Fuddy Junior, Al Boy, James, Kathleen and Poss in prisons across Victoria and “Beyond the Bars” broadcasters Gilla McGuinness, Ross Morgan and Shiralee Hood.
White man's world, black man's jail
In 2002, the Aboriginal broadcasters at 3CR Community Radio invited First Nations people on the “inside” to get behind the mic for the first NAIDOC live prison broadcast. Brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles gathered to tell their stories, sing their songs and build connections with each other. Messages to loved ones filled the airwaves, and people on the “outside” were finally listening to those “inside”.In this first episode, we remember the early days of “Beyond the Bars” and reflect on what, or if, anything has changed in the last twenty years. We listen to poets, storytellers, singers, and activists, and reflect on the “prison economy” in so-called Australia.In today’s episode, we hear from Paulie, Robbie, Bear, Angie, Erica, Rob, Guy and Kylie in prisons across Victoria, as well as “Beyond the Bars” broadcasters Freddy Norris, Gilla McGuinness, Viv Malo and Lisa Bellear.
Love the hosts and love the show!
It’s such an honest and poetic look into incarceration in Australia. I love the hosts together, they sound like old friends that are just having a yarn. A must listen!