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Call for pitches on prisoners during COVID-19

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How do prisoners and their loved ones cope during COVID-19?

People in prisons, jails, and immigrant detention centers are at an exceptionally high risk for coronavirus. Meantime, family members of those locked up are worried sick.

Relatives along with advocates and prisoners themselves organize to limit the spread of the virus. They demand prisoner releases and reimagine a world without humans in cages.

But releases are slow. By some estimates, over half the prison population is non-violent drug offenders. How do advocates challenge the trope of “good prisoners vs. bad prisoners” to call for a fundamental change?

What is happening in prisons and outside of them?

We want to know how prisoners as well as family members organize. How are concepts of restorative justice or “Health Instead of Punishment” being applied? What is happening at the grassroots level?

Additionally, what issues do prisoners released and re-entering face? What resources and solution systems are available to help them, especially during this pandemic?

Lastly, what are the links between released prisoners and unhoused people?

Making Contact seeks unique feature pieces that center the voices of people in prison, their families and advocates. Race, class, gender, language, and power are the guiding lens to use.

Submission details

Submit your pitch for an 8-minute feature segment on prisoners during COVID-19. 

High-quality remote interviews and the creative use of archival ambience or other audio may be acceptable.

We will commission 2 or 3 pieces. The work does not have to be exclusive to Making Contact. It can be a new audio piece or material previously aired non-exclusively from features, documentaries and/or sound-rich podcasts.

Take your local story national with us. We encourage stories from anywhere in the U.S. We are especially interested in CA and Louisiana, a COVID-19 hotspot with the highest pretrial incarceration rates in the world

Please see our submission guidelines for more info on our style guidelines and pay rates. Your work will air on our 151 affiliate stations and on our podcast.

Please submit pitches to pitches@radioproject.org by September 5, 2020.

Author: Sonya Green

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