May 2, 2022 — Prison Journalism Project (PJP), a national initiative that trains incarcerated writers to be journalists and publishes their stories, today launched the Prison Journalism Navigator. This new database provides tools, resources and unique insights aimed at spurring greater collaboration between external media outlets and incarcerated writers. 

“The Prison Journalism Navigator is a living resource with practical tools designed to help elevate the voices and critical perspectives of incarcerated writers and journalists into broader conversations about incarceration and its broader impact on society,” said Yukari Kane, co-founder and co-executive director of PJP.  “There are so many stories that are best told from the inside. By sharing our learnings and answering questions about how to interact with people in environments that are closed off, we hope to lend important balance and equity to reporting on the criminal justice system.”

The Navigator is designed to help newsrooms and prison journalists understand the complex logistical issues that are inherent in working with incarcerated people, such as communicating within them via letters, digital messages, and phone calls; navigating state-specific communications regulations; acquiring incarceration data; protecting the safety of writers and staff; and understanding language and stigmas around incarceration. A key feature is a section on working with incarcerated communities of color inside prisons as well as “A Reporter’s Glossary of Prison Jargon,” which includes contributions from 17 incarcerated and formerly incarcerated PJP writers across 11 states. 

The Navigator was built with the support of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri and has also been endorsed by organizations including the American Prison Writing Archive, The Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association, Impact/Justice and PEN America.

“Over the past two years, our writers have shared important insights from inside – reporting on COVID-19 outbreaks, collecting reactions to Derek Chauvin’s conviction over his murder of George Floyd and writing about other aspects of prison life. We will continue working with newsrooms and prison journalists to expand and enrich the Navigator to ensure that the broader public has access to this crucial reporting from the inside,” said Shaheen Pasha, Kane’s co-founder and co-executive director of PJP. 

PJP is inviting journalist colleagues to share suggestions for additions and new sections. The organization plans to add additional sections, including a primer on relevant laws impacting writers’ ability to be paid for their work.

For more information on the Prison Journalism Project and to read stories from its journalists, please visit https://prisonjournalismproject.org/

ABOUT PRISON JOURNALISM PROJECT

Prison Journalism Project is a national, independent, nonpartisan initiative that trains incarcerated writers in the tools of journalism and helps them reach an outside audience via their own publication as well as through partnerships with mainstream media organizations.

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