Feb. 22, 2022 — Prison Journalism Project (PJP), a national initiative that trains incarcerated writers to be journalists and publishes their stories, today announced the launch of the Prison Newspaper Project, a hub to support the work of prison newspapers and magazines around the country.
The centerpiece of the project is a first-of-its-kind digital directory of operational prison publications and will serve as a living document to catalogue prison reporting over time. A dedicated subsection of the project will also republish standout articles from prison newspapers nationwide, most of which do not operate their own websites.
While the prison press had been thought to be on the decline in recent decades, the directory shows that the field is growing.
“Prison newspapers have been an essential part of the American media landscape since 1800,” said Kate McQueen, editor of the Prison Newspaper Project. “This directory signals that the prison press itself is growing — which is encouraging not just for our mission to amplify the voices of the incarcerated community, but for a robust journalism industry capable of producing work from many voices.”
By PJP’s latest count as of January 2023, 22 prison newspapers currently operate across 11 states — a significant increase from the six recorded in James McGrath Morris’s “Jailhouse Journalism,” published in 1998. Three of them — from Alaska, South Carolina and Washington — debuted in 2022.
“There has been incredible journalism produced within prisons despite tremendous obstacles, but no one seems to have kept formal track of them in the last 25 years,” said Yukari Kane, co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of PJP. “We hope this directory will shine a light on these publications and ensure that their presence is recorded now and in years to come.”
PJP can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for those with information about additional newspapers or magazines that belong in its database.
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.