Ear Hustle


Two hot’s and a cot, pretty much sums up the accommodations for the prisoners that reside in San Quentin.  They still have lives but their living them in a cell just about the size of my hallway closet. Sadly my hallway closet may be bigger than that.  To put it in perspective, in order for one person to get by in a cell, the other person has to sit on the bed for the other to pass by.  The sink and the toilet are next to each other often just a few feet from the beds.    

The prison shows that I’ve seen on TV or in the movies glorify what prison is truly like.  Once prisoners are sent to jail they are forgotten about by most accept for the families they’ve effected.   But they still have to live each day just like you and I.  Ear Hustle is a podcast that brings you the true daily lives of prisoners that have the same challenges as we do on the outside w/little to none of the resources that are readily accessible to us.  Small things like good food, personal privacy, companionship and many other simple pleasures that we enjoy are hard to obtain when you’re locked up.  Even something as simple as seeing your mother on visiting day can take an emotional and physical toll on you.

Ear Hustle is produced by Nigel Poor, a visual artist who began volunteering as a teacher for the University Project in 2011 at San Quentin and Earlonne Woods who was sentenced to 31-years-to-life for an attempted second degree robbery.  While he was incarcerated, he received his GED, attended Coastline Community College and completed many vocational trade programs. In November 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown commuted Earlonne’s sentence after 21 years of being locked up.  Earlonne is now a full-time producer for Ear Hustle on the outside and helps provide stories about re-entry to help newly released prisoners manage their lives upon their release.

Listening to this podcast made me feel lucky that I was never caught up with my little misdemeanors in my younger days because prison life is just not for me.  Throughout the Ear Hustle podcast, you will hear the prisoners tell detailed stories of when they first arrive, being locked up with family members, bad cell mates, cooking, retaliation, bird baths, LGBT community, music, not being able to attend a love one’s funeral.  The regret runs deep and wide throughout these tales, but it’s already too late. Lives have been lost and the damage is irreversible.  

My hope is that this podcast will deter people from committing crimes.  I know, I know that seems a little far fetched but when you listen to this podcast there is no way your life and your life decisions won’t be effected.  The compelling stories make these prisoners human again and if you listen hard enough they are giving you lessons of what not to do.   
Please take the time to listen to Ear Hustle!  You won’t be sorry.  

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