277 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 Channel Zero Network

    • News
    • 4.9 • 43 Ratings

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.

    November 26, 2021: Prison’s Durable Harm

    November 26, 2021: Prison’s Durable Harm

    Our news today is focused on the long-term consequences of incarceration.  Not only was one of the oldest juvies in the country finally shut down due to systemic abuse of young prisoners, but a number of old school imprisoned militants, from Khalfani Khaldun to Sundiata Acoli, are being hit with repression or are fighting for late-life release.  Reflecting prison's extended arc of harmful impacts, we then focus on timeless words from Frank Smith.



    Known as Big Black, Smith was a prisoner at Attica who participated in the uprising in 1971 and successfully organized the security for outside negotiators who entered the prison.  He was tortured by guards in retaliation for his role in the uprising, and gave the interview we are sharing today while being held in extended solitary confinement. We’ve aired some other parts of this interview in previous episodes, and in this selection, he talks about what conditions were like in Attica, and what he wanted to see changed within the institution.



    This interview was originally broadcast by WBAI in February, 1972, and we share it now courtesy of Pacifica Radio Archives. 



    You can hear our previous episodes with Smith here and here.

    • 28 min
    November 19, 2021: Prison Phone Exploitation

    November 19, 2021: Prison Phone Exploitation

    This week we continue to talk to our guests about prison phone industry giant Global Tel Link and its attempt to whitewash its image by donating money to Sesame Street. Recent grassroots activism from incarcerated people and advocates have led to a wave of legislation mandating reduced costs or even free phone calls in some cities and states.



    Unfortunately, Tennessee is not one of those states according to an interview contributed by Jennifer Bamberg.  She spoke with Drew Morgan, comedian, writer and actor, about the cost of keeping in touch with his brother who is incarcerated in Tennessee.

    • 29 min
    November 12, 2021: Prison Phone Justice

    November 12, 2021: Prison Phone Justice

    This week, our guest is Bianca Tylek, who fills us in about the prison phone industry. GTL and Securus among others profit off of prisoners and their families by charging them exorbitant fees for access to the phone lines which are so key for surviving prison. Recent coverage confirming that Sesame Street had entered a partnership caused outrage and shone a light on the industry's power and profitability. Recent grassroots activism from incarcerated people and advocates have produced a wave of legislation mandating reduced costs or even free phone calls in some cities and states.



    Bianca Tylek is founder and executive director of Worth Rises, a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to dismantling the prison industry and ending the exploitation of those in its grip. Worth Rises works to return the economic resources extracted from affected communities, and are a key part of the prison phone justice movement.



     

    • 29 min
    November 5, 2021- The Long Tail of Abuse in the NY Carceral System

    November 5, 2021- The Long Tail of Abuse in the NY Carceral System

    This week, we finish our conversation with Kelly Grace Price about the campaign to close Rosie’s. Rosie’s refers to the Rose M. Singer Facility, an all-women’s jail on Rikers Island. On average, Rosie’s detains around 630 women, girls, transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex females while they await trial.



    Suzanne Singer, the granddaughter of the jail’s namesake, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times highlighting the abuses at Rosie’s.  Her description of the facility is damning and powerful:



    “Many of the women incarcerated at Rosie’s should never have been committed there. Eighty-five percent of them are mothers; a similar percentage have substance abuse disorders. Most have suffered trauma and violence at the hands of men, and two-thirds report having a mental illness, according to a 2017 report by the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform.



    Seventy percent of the women at Rikers are awaiting trial. Pretrial detention should be eliminated for low-level, nonviolent crimes. Rather, these women should be sent to community-based alternative programs.  The Rose M. Singer Center was supposed to be a beacon to the world, a place where women caught up in the criminal justice system would be treated humanely and kept safe.



    The jail has not lived up to that vision, however. Instead, it has devolved into a torture chamber, where women are routinely abused, housed in unsanitary conditions, and denied medical and mental health services. They are treated as less than human, not as our grandmothers, mothers, daughters and sisters."



    Last time, Kelly Grace Price walked us through the basics of the Rose M Singer Facility, including examples of the corruption and greed that permeate the New York Board of Corrections. This time, Price discusses issues with prisoner advocacy groups, and the ways in which Rosie’s puts undo pressures on its female inmates that male prisoners in different Rikers units do not have to face. She references abuses at the Bedford Hills Facility, an upstate institution that many women are transferred to from Rosie’s.



    Content Warning for sexual violence.



     

    • 29 min
    October 29, 2021: Close Rosie’s

    October 29, 2021: Close Rosie’s

    This week, we hear from Kelly Grace Price, a co-creator of the Close Rosie’s campaign. Rosie’s refers to the Rose M. Singer Facility, an all-women’s jail on Rikers Island. On average, Rosie’s detains around 630 women, girls, transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex females while they await trial.



    Price deconstructs the reformist arguments made NYC Board of Corrections and shows how they’re invalid. She also shows how Mayor DeBlasio is gaming the system, using tactics like “wagging the tail of the dog”, and how incoming Mayor Eric Adams is already compromised by his preexisting ties to the New York carceral system.



    Suzanne Singer, the granddaughter of the jail’s namesake, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times highlighting the abuses at Rosie’s.  Her description of the facility is damning and powerful:



    “Many of the women incarcerated at Rosie’s should never have been committed there. Eighty-five percent of them are mothers; a similar percentage have substance abuse disorders. Most have suffered trauma and violence at the hands of men, and two-thirds report having a mental illness, according to a 2017 report by the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform.



    Seventy percent of the women at Rikers are awaiting trial. Pretrial detention should be eliminated for low-level, nonviolent crimes. Rather, these women should be sent to community-based alternative programs.  The Rose M. Singer Center was supposed to be a beacon to the world, a place where women caught up in the criminal justice system would be treated humanely and kept safe.



    The jail has not lived up to that vision, however. Instead, it has devolved into a torture chamber, where women are routinely abused, housed in unsanitary conditions, and denied medical and mental health services. They are treated as less than human, not as our grandmothers, mothers, daughters and sisters.”

    • 29 min
    October 22, 2021: Hard-earned Wisdom

    October 22, 2021: Hard-earned Wisdom

    We start off this week's episode with an update on Marius Mason's transfer to a men's facility.  Marius is an imprisoned environmentalist who, in addition to waging an Earth Liberation Front sabotage campaign, was an important aboveground organizer for social movements in Indiana and Michigan for decades.  He came out as transgender while in prison, and has recently spoken out about his successful transfer to a men's facility.  To read Marius’s statement about his transfer and to get information on how to write to him, please visit supportmariusmason.org



    We then finish sharing the conversation between Judah Schept and Micol Seigel, both of whom contributed to stopping the jail expansion here in Monroe County a decade ago. As a new proposal for jail expansion is on the table, Schept and Seigel have been reflecting on their previous organizing, with an eye towards what lessons we can carry from it into the present.



    You can hear the previous episodes with Schept and Seigel here and here.



     

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
43 Ratings

43 Ratings

JuneAdventure ,

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.

Chloe Commune ,

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.

Elm Mill ,

Great Podcast

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.

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