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

281 | Twice-stolen Wealth

This week, we cover carceral non-profits in an interview with Drs. Zhandarka Kurti, a professor of criminology and Criminal Justice at Loyola University Chicago, and Jarrod Shanahan, professor of criminal justice at Governors State University in Chicago. Bella Bravo interviews Zhana and Jarrod, who are abolitionist scholars researching incarceration, and in recent years, their work has turned to the reconfiguration of the U.S. penal system as movements successfully delegitimate mass incarceration. They write that “Today we find ourselves in a unique moment of the penal crisis. Fear of crime does not register on

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280 | Brutal Jail Conditions in Maricopa County

We begin our episode with our monthly round up of prison disturbances contributed by Perilous Chronicle. We close out the episode with a call from Adrien Espinoza, who is currently housed in Maricopa County in Arizona. Espinoza, who got his paralegal degree inside, has contributed to the Prisoner Correspondence Project, the Silvia Rivera law project, and intends to work in the legal field upon release. He describes CRIPA, which is the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980. It’s a federal law intended to protect the rights of people in state or local correctional facilities,

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279 | Prison’s Durable Harm

Our news today is focused on the long-term consequences of incarceration.  Not only was one of the oldest juvies in the country finally shut down due to systemic abuse of young prisoners, but a number of old school imprisoned militants, from Khalfani Khaldun to Sundiata Acoli, are being hit with repression or are fighting for late-life release.  Reflecting prison’s extended arc of harmful impacts, we then focus on timeless words from Frank Smith. Known as Big Black, Smith was a prisoner at Attica who participated in the uprising in 1971 and successfully organized the security

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278 | Prison Phone Exploitation

This week we continue to talk to our guests about prison phone industry giant Global Tel Link and its attempt to whitewash its image by donating money to Sesame Street. Recent grassroots activism from incarcerated people and advocates have led to a wave of legislation mandating reduced costs or even free phone calls in some cities and states. Unfortunately, Tennessee is not one of those states according to an interview contributed by Jennifer Bamberg.  She spoke with Drew Morgan, comedian, writer and actor, about the cost of keeping in touch with his brother

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277 | Prison Phone Justice

This week, our guest is Bianca Tylek, who fills us in about the prison phone industry. GTL and Securus among others profit off of prisoners and their families by charging them exorbitant fees for access to the phone lines which are so key for surviving prison. Recent coverage confirming that Sesame Street had entered a partnership caused outrage and shone a light on the industry’s power and profitability. Recent grassroots activism from incarcerated people and advocates have produced a wave of legislation mandating reduced costs or even free phone calls in some cities and

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276 | The Long Tail of Abuse in the NY Carceral System

This week, we finish our conversation with Kelly Grace Price about the campaign to close Rosie’s. Rosie’s refers to the Rose M. Singer Facility, an all-women’s jail on Rikers Island. On average, Rosie’s detains around 630 women, girls, transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex females while they await trial. Suzanne Singer, the granddaughter of the jail’s namesake, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times highlighting the abuses at Rosie’s.  Her description of the facility is damning and powerful: “Many of the women incarcerated at Rosie’s should never have been committed

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