Kite Line is a weekly radio program and podcast that focuses on issues in the prison system and beyond.

On the inside, a message is called a kite: whispered words, a note passed hand to hand, or a request submitted to guards for medical care. 

Illicit or not, sending a kite means trusting that other people will pass it farther along, until it reaches its destination. 

We make this show to pass along words, across the prison walls

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Recent Episodes

273 | Jessica Reznicek – Dignity in Rebellion

This week, we hear from a friend and supporter of Jessica Reznicek, who was recently sentenced to federal prison after she admitted to sabotaging the widely opposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in 2017. In this episode, Monte tells Jessica’s story from her childhood influences to her experiences in the NoDAPL Movement, in solidarity with the struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux.  He analyzes how the harsh sentencing was politically motivated to deter future climate activists. As Monte notes, Jessica is not a terrorist, but someone acting from a place of love, courage, and

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272 | Minnesota’s Shadow Prison

Our main story this week is a contribution from our friends at Perilous Chronicle. Perilous is an independent digital research and media project focused on prisons, and moments of protest, unrest, and repression inside them in the US and Canada. This week, Perilous Chronicle’s Ridley Seawood guides us through the The Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) at Moose Lake, with a focus on how the program functions as a shadow prison: using civil commitment to indefinitely detain people deemed potentially dangerous to the public. This feature contains mention of both sexual assault and

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271 | Progressive Punishment

In 2008, Monroe County moved to build a new, expanded jail -framed as a “justice campus” using humanitarian rhetoric.  In response, a diverse group of local residents founded an organization called Decarcerate Monroe County (DMC). Judah Schept, who returns as our guest alongside Micol Seigel, was an organizer in the successful DMC campaign to block jail expansion here, as well as a profound critic of what his book terms “progressive punishment,” in which humanist rationales are used to justify state violence and the expansion of caging.  This discourse has reappeared locally with Monroe

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270 | A Slightly Bigger Cage – Jail Expansion for Monroe County

In 2008, Monroe County moved to build a new, expanded jail -framed as a “justice campus” using humanitarian rhetoric.  In response, a diverse group of local residents founded an organization called Decarcerate Monroe County (DMC).  Here is how they later summarized their activities:“DMC’s framework included embracing alternatives to punitive justice, promoting ways to decarcerate, and building a safer community. The justice campus proposal was defeated and the organization went on to fight campaigns against gentrification and discrimination, to ban the box (disclosing a felony conviction on job applications), to keep police out

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269 | A Perfect Storm – Conditions at Attica

This month, we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising, a high point of the cycle of prisoners’ struggle of the 1960s and 1970s. We share experiences from former Attica prisoners Joseph Hayden and Carlos Roche, and attorney Elizabeth Fink, who all describe the events of that day and the days leading up to the event. Afterwards, we return to Frank Smith, known as Big Black, a prisoner at Attica who participated in the uprising and successfully organized the security for outside negotiators who entered the prison. 

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268 | The Attica Commune

Three years ago on Kite Line, we aired an episode about the Attica Prison Uprising of 1971. This week, September 9th to September 13th, will mark fifty years between us and the event. We share this piece again today, with updated contributions from its author, analyzing the growing challenges to our collective survival, both inside and outside the prisons.  What the author calls the commune – the enduring forms of collectivity and care developed through rebellion – is the best chance we have for survival.  This dimension of the Attica Uprising, such as the prisoners’ experiments

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