299 episodes

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.

Kite Line 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.

    June 24, 2022: Captives with Jarrod Shanahan, Part One

    June 24, 2022: Captives with Jarrod Shanahan, Part One

    This week, Bella Bravo speaks with Jarrod Shanahan, a writer, activist, and professor of Criminal Justice based in Chicago. Shanahan has been on previous episodes, discussing mass incarceration and the George Floyd rebellion. We are speaking today about his new book Captives: How Rikers Island Took New York City Hostage.



    Captives recounts the last seventy years of New York politics from the perspective of the city’s jails. Shanahan’s research began when he himself was awaiting a sentence he knew would land him on the island. His observations and experiences of Rikers’ violence during his short-stint there became the foundation for this history of mass incarceration and the triumph of neoliberalism. Drawing upon C.L.R. James, Shanahan sees that historical controversies are always about the present. So while Captives tells the story of how Rikers Island—and the social order it represents—came to be, it bears many lessons for those struggling against prisons and jails today.



    About Shanahan:



    Jarrod Shanahan is a writer, activist, and educator based in Chicago. He works as an assistant professor of Criminal Justice at Governors State University and is the author of the Captives: How Rikers Island Took New York City Hostage. Shanahan and his frequent collaborator Zhandarka Kurti have previously appeared on Kite Line discussing mass incarceration and the 2020 George Floyd uprising. They are the authors of States of Incarceration: Rebellion, Reform, and the Future of America’s Punishment System. Along with Geert Dhondt, they are editors of Hard Crackers: Chronicles of Everyday Life and Treason to Whiteness Is Loyalty to Humanity, a forthcoming collection of Noel Ignatiev’s essays.



    Previous Kite Line episodes with Shanahan:



    https://www.kitelineradio.org/podcast/the-crisis-behind-a-hot-american-summer/



    https://www.kitelineradio.org/podcast/george-jackson-and-the-legacy-of-revolt/



    https://www.kitelineradio.org/podcast/281-twice-stolen-wealth/



    https://www.kitelineradio.org/podcast/282-carceral-nonprofits/

    • 29 min
    June 17, 2022: A Great Moment to Push Further

    June 17, 2022: A Great Moment to Push Further

    Interview with Maru Moro Villalpando of La Resistencia, a project that organizes against the Northwest Detention Center. In this conversation, Maru passes a kite along on behalf of immigrants housed in the facility. As they point out, facilities like this are “black boxes” where extra effort must be taken to shed light on conditions inside.



    Maru discusses some of the previous actions, including multiple hunger strikes, that detainees have carried out to protest issues such as poor food quality, lack of medical care, and poor sleeping conditions. More recently, a lack of clean facilities led them to protest their conditions, as workers were unable to clean the detention center due to Covid. One of the recent demands of the hunger strike is that more measures be taken to stop GEO guards and ICE officers from bringing Covid into the facility, which already became an ongoing hotspot during the pandemic.



    They also discuss the rapidly expanding digital prison system, predatory companies trapping immigrants into unintentional prison. This digital prison system now monitors not only those in ICE proceedings, but their family and household members as well.

    • 29 min
    June 10, 2022: Holding on to Your Humanity

    June 10, 2022: Holding on to Your Humanity

    This week we return to our conversation between Baye Sylvester and Focus Initiatives’ Jok Huerta. Both formerly incarcerated in Indiana, they described the circumstances that brought them to prison in a previous episode. In this segment, they talk about the way the prison system strips people of their humanity- and the struggle to retain one’s sense of self.



    You can hear our previous episodes with Jok and Baye:



    https://www.kitelineradio.org/podcast/300-bargaining-in-bad-faith/



    https://www.kitelineradio.org/podcast/305-the-problem-of-politicization/



     

    • 29 min
    June 3rd, 2022: Immigration and E-carceration

    June 3rd, 2022: Immigration and E-carceration

    For this week's episode,Bella Bravo spoke with Johana Bhuiyan, a journalist and author of a powerful series of articles about immigrant surveillance. She covers the vast program called “intensive supervision appearance program” which purports to be “humane alternative” to immigration detention.



    Managing the program on behalf of ICE is BI Inc, a subsidiary of the Geo Group, one of the US’s largest private prison corporations. They note the many similarities between this method of “monitoring” immigrants and what we know as e-carceration, or electronic monitoring systems used for probation, parole, and house arrest.



     



    You can read Bhuiyan's articles that explore this topic more in depth:



    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/23/us-immigration-isap-surveillance



    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/mar/07/us-immigration-surveillance-ice-bi-isap



    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/mar/08/us-immigrants-isap-ice-bi-ankle-monitor



    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/mar/14/us-immigration-surveillance-isap



    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/apr/14/immigration-advocates-alternative-to-detention-lawsuit-ice



     



    Our monthly round-up of prisoner disturbances is compiled by Perilous Chronicle.



     

    • 29 min
    May 27, 2022: The Problem of Politicization

    May 27, 2022: The Problem of Politicization

    This week we return to our conversation between Baye Sylvester and Focus Initiatives’ Jok Huerta. Both formerly incarcerated in Indiana, they described the circumstances that brought them to prison in a previous episode. In this segment, they talk about the way the prison system responds to politically-engaged prisoners. When prisoners become conscious and organized, the prison ramps the level of repression. As you’ll hear Baye and Jok discuss, prisoners who educate themselves are viewed as a threat to the system that confines them.



    This conversation was part of the Prisoners Speak Out Series, hosted by IDOC Watch and Focus Initiatives.You can listen to their previous conversation here.

    • 29 min
    May 20, 2022: Atlanta’s “Cop City”

    May 20, 2022: Atlanta’s “Cop City”

    This week on Kite Line, we return to  Atlanta’s proposed "Cop City"- a police training facility set to be built over a vast urban forest. People from across the city and the country have been organizing against its construction, which would make it the largest police training facility in the United States.  People have been organizing protests in the streets, call-in campaigns, and holding down an ongoing occupation in the forest itself.



    First, we hear a statement from an Indigenous organizer about the impact such a facility would have. Afterwards, we share a press conference that was called earlier this week by the Atlanta Solidarity Fund in response to a violent police raid on the occupation earlier this week. Even before that, at a demonstration last Saturday, peaceful protestors were brutally arrested.  As you’ll hear one Atlanta resident say, they feel this is an attempt to demoralize a vibrant and diverse movement that is led by local community members against the replacement of the largest urban tree canopy in the United States, by the largest police training compound in the United States.

    • 29 min

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