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- 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 to two people from Florida Prisoner Solidarity, who detail the methods of retaliation and silencing that the Florida Department of Corrections has been deploying against prisoners and outside supporters. This includes the disappearance of several inmates in the Florida prison system, new laws directed against outside advocates, the implementation of new and brutal “pandemic safe” weapons that allow COs to harm prisoners without touching them, and more. Many of these tactics are being used to punish prisoners for self-organizing to stay safe during the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as a method of retaliating against prisoners who are in contact with organizations like theirs.
We will air more from them about the state’s prisoner retaliation during the pandemic in next week’s episode.
Kite Line- 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 work, financial, and family life.
He talks about the new ankle bracelet he has to wear, which he describes as the size of a soda can, and also the traps used by the system to return people to incarceration based on technical violations, and the consistent confusion on both sides of e-carceration regarding how the process actually works.
His story shows us some of the challenges facing those who get released, including burdens on household members, untenable accumulation of fines, and more.
Special thanks to Perilous Chronicle- you can learn more about their work at perilouschronicle.com
Kite Line- 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 options between male and female facilities.
These interviews with formerly incarcerated people on the barriers they face in obtaining an education was made possible by a grant from the Lumina Foundation.
Kite Line- 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 talks more generally about death row’s impending executions.
We then follow with a piece, recorded from the inside, from Shaka Shakur. A former Indiana prisoner, Shaka was recently moved to Virginia, an example of interstate transfer, which is a problem you might recall from Malik Washington’s recent interview. We’ve shared Shaka’s story in a previous episode of Kite Line, along with some of his writings. In this episode, he shares his essay entitled. The Concept and Practice of Dual Power, in which he shares his vision for a successful anti-prison movement.
You can hear our episode about Shaka Shakur here.
You can hear our episode about the history of the death penalty here.
You can hear Malik Washington talk about interstate transfers here.
Kite Line- 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 impassioned piece reflecting on the recent deaths of adolescents in two different states- Cornelius Frederick’s death at a youth facility in Michigan, and Gynnya McMillen in Kentucky. Following that, we share a conversation we had with Heather D’Aoust, who is incarcerated in California. She’s been inside since she was a teen and talks about navigating this difficult terrain inside from a young age.
We’d like to issue a content warning regarding violence against children, self-harm, and abuse.
Kite Line- 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, and has been telling us about life on the outside- and the importance of supporting those still behind prison walls. He talks about his comrade, Kevin Rashid Johnson, and the way that the prison system has used the interstate compact agreement to transfer Rashid to many facilities in several states as a form retaliation for exposing inhumane prison conditions. Malik also describes the consistent punishment he faced due to his advocacy for fellow prisoners.
You can find links to our previous episodes with Malik here, and here.
We encourage you to support the project Malik mentions in his interview, the San Francisco Bay View.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Informational and Engrossing
Everyone should listen to this podcast.. it’ll open your eyes to the prison system, and to US American systems of injustice in general.
Best prisoner podcast hands down
I LOVE kiteline! It’s a woman-made syndicated radio program. They are so easy to listen to. Kiteline features interviews with prisoners, activists and professors which are as often funny and inspiring as they are sobering and sad. Interviews are paired with historical and sociological lessons on prison issues.
If only more people listened to this podcast and heard the stories of how prisons abuse their power. This podcast through interviews with scholars and people struggling in the system show the disastrous effects and harm produced by our prison system. Anyone interested in prison abolition should listen to this podcast.