The Press in Prison

Scalawag's practical, abolitionist guidebook for journalists is now available for free download or purchase in print via Haymarket Books!

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. A supplement to Scalawag's second-annual Abolition Week, The Press in Prison is a guidebook and training features insights for journalists from incarcerated writers and the editors who work with them.

Haymarket Books and Scalawag have teamed up to produce physical copies of the Press in Prison guidebook in full—and within prison mailing guidelines—for easy reference by conscientious readers, independent journalists, newsrooms, classrooms, or anyone interested in launching a career in writing from prison. Purchase your print copy today via!

A portion of the proceeds from the sales will be passed along to our incarcerated contributors who helped make it possible—some of whom you can hear from in the recorded sessions below.

The digital version of this resource remains free and available to anyone working or interested in media. To access and download a PDF version of Scalawag's The Press in Prison guidebook, fill out this short form.

Scalawag is a Bookshop affiliate, and receives a small commission for purchases made through the link above.

Videos and resources

Scalawag's virtual workshop for journalists walks through considerations in the guidebook about how to create systems to sustain and integrate reporting from prison into your newsroom's workflows. View the recordings below to hear directly from incarcerated writers on what support they need most.

Click here to expand the accompanying slides, or download the full presentation here.
Why this work matters: An introduction from Scalawag.
Speakers: Cierra Hinton, Alysia Harris, Lovey Cooper.
Pt. 1: How to prepare your staff to work with
folks on the inside. Speakers: Christopher Blackwell, Lyle May, Danielle Purifoy.
Pt. 2: Do's and don'ts to take back to your newsroom. Speakers: Emile DeWeaver, Emily Nonko, & Rahsaan Thomas.
Your role in mitigating retaliation. Speakers: Lyle May & Danielle Purifoy.
How to source and pay writers. Speakers: Lovey Cooper & Emily Nonko.

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.

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.