Introducing: The Press in Prison

Scalawag's practical, abolitionist guidebook for journalists, now available for download.

There is a need for more journalism by, from, and for incarcerated people. Filling that gap requires newsroom competency and media capacity for working with writers behind bars.

The Press in Prison is a guidebook and training from Scalawag featuring insights from incarcerated writers and the editors who work with them. A supplement to Scalawag's second-annual Abolition Week, this new resource is now available to help journalists integrate reporting from prison into their regular reporting cycles.

On Thursday, December 2, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET, join Scalawag and other journalists around the country for a collaborative workshop and training about prison journalism.

RSVP for the workshop below for access to the guidebook before it's widely released.

Hear directly from incarcerated writers on what support they need most, learn how to create systems to sustain their work from the outside, and join breakout rooms with other journalists to talk about to put these lessons into practice.

Attendance is open to everyone who works in journalism. We ask those who can to pay a suggested $10 donation to attend. Donations help Scalawag pay our panelists and keep our content accessible for all.

How to prepare for the workshop:

  • Invite your colleagues: Systemic change doesn't happen alone. Invite a colleague you trust to attend the workshop with you. You'll have a built in accountability system as well as the comfort of participating with someone who is intimately aware of the specific challenges you're up against.
  • Review your work: Look back at the work you and your newsroom have published. What are you proud of? What systems would need to exist for you to publish more work like that? What needs improvement? What role can you play in making those changes? Coming equipped with feedback will help you get the most out of these sessions.
  • Share your questions: What feels most immediately actionable to you? What conversations do you need help starting with your colleagues? Let us know.

Read the editorial:

Welcome to Abolition Week

The national media is shifting its attention away from demands to restructure, defund, and abolish the police, but policing and prisons don't just affect those of us behind bars.

About Abolition Week

Scalawag founded Abolition Week in 2020 to spotlight incarcerated writers, reflect on our values as an abolitionist organization, and encourage fellow media to join us.

This year's collection of stories—all by incarcerated writers—walks readers through their understanding of the abolitionist framework in four stages, ranging from abolitionist in theory to abolitionist in practice.

more by incarcerated writers:

Whether Fences or Not

When I remember what a privilege it is to have a place, any place, in the web of existence on this planet, I return with humble gratitude to the awe-inspiring, primal fact of the moment: I am alive, I am part of this place, part of the totality.

Beyond the wall

My physical presence reminded her there are real people on death row—living, thinking, feeling people who will be put to death because the law says, "Die."

Life without parole is 'silent execution'

Suffering is an integral aspect of criminal justice for the offender, who should do so with the "difficulty of that reckoning and even the fear and pain it may cause," they deserve an opportunity to repair the damage for which they are responsible.