We are thrilled to partner with Society of Professional Journalists to create a national, virtual chapter of incarcerated journalists. Under the partnership, reporters and journalists for Prison Journalism Project will have an opportunity to join SPJ at a student rate. 

Membership will consist of incarcerated journalists and formerly incarcerated writers and editors who are doing active journalism work in and outside of the U.S. in accordance with SPJ’s Code of Ethics. Candidates for membership will be approved by the Prison Journalism Project. Membership status will be reviewed each year at the time of renewal.

Active journalism work is defined as the publication of at least six pieces of work annually that are journalistic in nature, including at least three pieces for Prison Journalism Project. (This means that all six pieces can be published on PJP, but they don’t have to be. Up to three pieces can be from another publication or media outlet including prison publications)

Work of journalistic nature may include a combination of written news articles, feature stories, reported essays, and reported op-eds as well as illustrated journalism, photography, audio and video stories. Members must be able to demonstrate an understanding of journalistic ethics and work according to those standards.

Editors-in-chief and editorial staff of prison newspapers with more than one year experience are exempt from publication requirements for their first year of membership. They must meet the article requirements for their second year and thereafter.  (Full text of the chapter bylaws)

Please note that we are temporarily halting new applications while we develop resources and training on journalism ethics and principles. 

Message to writers from PJP Chapter President Marcus “Wali” Henderson

Dear PJP Writers, 

The world that we are currently living in is changing. It is the job and responsibility of journalists to capture and preserve these events. As incarcerated and system-impacted journalists, our reporting beat is to document and inform audiences on the social effects of crime, punishment and criminal justice reform by putting forth the people and their true stories behind the data. 

The Prison Journalism Project and the Society of Professional Journalists have partnered to provide educational and professional support for the incarcerated and system-impacted writers that seek to enhance their craft. 

Being on the frontlines of reporting is never easy, no matter where you are or the subject you are covering, but it is historically necessary to move the society forward and remind it of its past. 

We at PJP have formed the first ever national SPJ incarcerated chapter. We look forward to having you on the team. Your voice matters, and your reporting matters, too.

Marcus “Wali” Henderson 
Chapter President and 
PJP Editorial Associate