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Ear Hustle

Author: Ear Hustle & Radiotopia

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Ear Hustle is prison slang for eavesdropping, and that’s what listening to the show feels like: a raw, often funny, and always surprising peek into the reality of life inside prison.

Hosts Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods co-created the show that launched in 2017 while Earlonne was incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, where Nigel was a volunteer teaching photography. Since Earlonne’s release in 2018, the show has expanded to include stories from prisons across the state, including the California Institution for Women, as well as stories about getting out of prison and starting over, post-incarceration.

From finding romance, to grappling with a life sentence, to trying to parent via 15-minute phone calls, Ear Hustle stories deliver what This American Life host Ira Glass calls a “"very real” and “untragic” take on prison life.

Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a network of independent listener-supported podcasts. Discover audio with vision at radiotopia.fm and learn more about Ear Hustle at earhustlesq.com.
132 Episodes
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Daughters

Daughters

2024-06-1250:501

What’s it like to serve out a prison sentence alongside your mom? At the Central California Women’s Facility, a handful of mom-daughter combos are doing time together — some more harmoniously than others. We’re grateful to Rosa, Ms. Li, Tina, and Ryan for sharing their stories with us.  This episode was scored with music by Antwan Williams, Rhashiyd Zinnamon, and David Jassy.Big thanks to Acting Warden Andes and Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Parker, Associate Warden Lewis, and Lt. Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show.Special thanks to Lt. Williams at the Central California Women's Facility for making our visits to the prison possible, and for her continued support of the show. Our fundraiser is almost over, and we still need 370 donors to help us reach our goal! And if you can become a monthly donor at $10 or more, we’ll give you access to ad-free episodes and bonus EH+ content as a token of our thanks! Make your gift at on.prx.org/4d5WnCm. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. 
Crocasacks

Crocasacks

2024-05-2953:051

When he was growing up, gang life gave Larry confidence, purpose, and an identity. But after years behind bars, the affiliation lost its luster. He tells Earlonne about becoming Lala from the East Coast Crips, and the long road back to being Larry.Thanks to Larry Davis for talking to us for this episode.This episode was scored with music by David Jassy, Antwan Williams, Derrell Sadiq Davis, and Earlonne Woods.Big thanks to Acting Warden Andes and Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Parker, Associate Warden Lewis, and Lt. Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show.Support our team and get even more Ear Hustle by subscribing to Ear Hustle Plus today. Sign up at earhustlesq.com/plus or in the Apple Podcasts app. It’s our spring fundraiser, and we’re trying to reach 1,000 donors! Learn more and donate: on.prx.org/4d5WnCm Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. 
Catch a Kite Nationwide

Catch a Kite Nationwide

2024-05-1537:471

For our latest Catch a Kite episode, we’re taking advantage of a new tool: the electronic tablets that recently became available in 400+ jails and prisons across the nation. Using their tablets, incarcerated Ear Hustlers from around the country responded to listener questions, including: What do people in prison hide from their families? And what’s something that you can only learn from being in prison? Thanks to Alvin, at Muskegon Correctional Facility in Michigan; Silk, at Chautauqua County Jail in New York; Cortez, at Ashland County Jail in Ohio; Darrell, at Pruntytown Correctional Center in West Virginia; Alexis, at Pamunkey Regional Jail in Virginia; Owen, at North Central Regional Jail in West Virginia; Damian, at Neuse Correctional Institution in North Carolina; Chris, at Washington Correctional Center in Washington; Krista, at Leath Correctional Institution in South Carolina; Brandon, at Montana State Prison in Montana; Kelly, at Omaha Correctional Center in Nebraska; Demetrius, at Richard Handlon Correctional Facility in Michigan; Donald, at Two Rivers Correctional Facility in Oregon; Ruby, at Western Correctional Center for Women in North Carolina; and Andres, at Mount Olive Correctional Complex in West Virginia, for listening to Ear Hustle on their tablets and speaking with us for the episode. Thanks to Sophia, John, and Manuel from Los Angeles; Cameron from Boston; Gail from St. Augustine, Florida; and Erica from Centerville, Massachusetts, for calling in with their questions. Thanks also to John Timpone and Meghan Tobin of Edovo for helping us expand our Catch a Kite reach to people incarcerated across the nation.This episode was scored with music by Antwan Williams. As always, we’re grateful to Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison for her support of the show. Support our team and get even more Ear Hustle by subscribing to Ear Hustle Plus today. Sign up at earhustlesq.com/plus or right in Apple Podcasts. Our spring fundraiser is here! Learn more and donate: on.prx.org/4d5WnCm Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. 
Moms

Moms

2024-05-0147:313

In honor of Mother’s Day, some decidedly un-Hallmark-y stories about incarceration and motherhood. Thanks to Mary Behun, Reggie, and Kat for speaking with us for this episode. This episode was scored with music by David Jassy, Antwan Williams, Fernando Arruda, Dwight Krizman, Rhashiyd Zinnamon, and Earlonne Woods. Big thanks to Acting Warden Andes and Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Parker, Associate Warden Lewis, and Lt. Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show.Our spring fundraiser is here! Learn more and donate: on.prx.org/4d5WnCm Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. 
Hope Lacquer

Hope Lacquer

2024-04-1752:431

Inside prison, as well as out, some of us cling to stuff and some of us let go. In this episode: two cell-block neighbors engage in a gentle dispute, Tony attempts to Marie Kondo his future from inside prison, and Mesro won’t have his keepsakes disrespected.Thanks to our colleagues and collaborators inside San Quentin — Carrington, Mesro, Sadiq, and Tony — for talking to us about their stuff, and to Tony’s Uncle Eric for welcoming us into his home.  This episode was scored with music by David Jassy, Antwan Williams, E. Phil Phillips, Rhashiyd Zinnamon, Gregory Dixon, and Earlonne Woods.Big thanks to Acting Warden Andes and Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Parker, Associate Warden Lewis, and Lt. Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show.Support our team and get even more Ear Hustle by subscribing to Ear Hustle Plus today. Sign up at earhustlesq.com/plus or directly in Apple Podcasts. (And while you’re there, leave us a review!)Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. 
Five Mirrors

Five Mirrors

2024-04-0347:25

Twelve years ago, Nigel asked San Quentin resident Greg Eskridge to write a list of everything he owned in prison. That much, Earlonne remembers. The rest of this episode is a surprise gift, from one Ear Hustle host to another. Thanks to Greg Eskridge for speaking and sharing his lists with us. You can hear more of Greg on the podcast Uncuffed, a podcast training program based in San Quentin and Solano prisons. This episode was scored with music by Rhashiyd Zinnamon, Derrell Sadiq Davis, Antwan Williams, David Jassy, and Earlonne Woods.Big thanks to Acting Warden Andes and Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Williams and Lt. Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show.Support our team and get even more Ear Hustle by subscribing to Ear Hustle Plus today. Sign up at earhustlesq.com/plus or directly in Apple Podcasts. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. 
A bucolic garden, six kinds of breakfast cereal, and around-the-clock bedside vigil: How one California prison is trying to mitigate the fears and unknowns of dying inside prison.Thanks to Joseph Bick, Michele DiTomas, Terrance Harris, Allan Hickman, Gerard Hite, Jerry Judson, Keith Knauf, Alan Krenitsky, Kenneth Langill, Jeff Maria, Earl Miller, Michael Powell, and Frederick Roberts for speaking to us for this episode.This episode was scored with music by Rhashiyd Zinnamon, Fernando Arruda, Antwan Williams, and Earlonne Woods.“Down The Hall” Performed by Bonnie Raitt © 2022 Redwing Records, LLC. © 2022 Open Secret Music (ASCAP) – Administered by Bluewater Music Services Corp. Used By Permission. All Rights Reserved.Big thanks to Acting Warden Smith and Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Hill and Lt. Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show.We’re also grateful to Acting Warden Cueva and Lt. Gonzalez at the California Medical Facility for allowing our team to record inside the hospice.Support our team and get even more Ear Hustle by subscribing to Ear Hustle Plus today. Sign up at earhustlesq.com/plus or directly in Apple Podcasts.Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX.
A Rock Across a Lake

A Rock Across a Lake

2024-03-0632:161

We’ve never based a whole episode on a poem before, but this one, by Sky, took us by surprise. It’s both a record of longing for all the things she can’t do in prison — sleep in a teepee, have a cookie jar, touch a rabbit — and a way of doing those things in her mind.  Big thanks to Acting Warden Andes and Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Williams and Lt. Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show. Support our team and get even more Ear Hustle by subscribing to Ear Hustle Plus today. Sign up at earhustlesq.com/plus or in Apple Podcasts by tapping on the "Subscribe" button.  Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com.
Bunkies

Bunkies

2023-12-2049:593

In honor of our 100th episode (!), Ear Hustle revisits our very first one – “Cellies” – this time with a twist: Residents of the California Institution for Women tell us stories about “bunkies,” the good, the bad, and the…complicated. Big thanks to Acting Warden Oak Smith and Lt. Guim'Mara Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Molly Hill and Lt. William Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com. Want one more way to celebrate Ear Hustle’s 100th episode? Sign up for Ear Hustle Plus today to hear Earlonne and Nigel listening back to their first episode, “Cellies,” reflecting on what was going on behind the scenes when Ear Hustle first stepped into the world, and what’s changed since then.
Shine Some Light

Shine Some Light

2023-11-2945:372

When she was in her 20s, Shanna was the victim of a violent attack. Ten years later, she’s ready to talk about the experience and the “full-time job” of recovery. Big thanks to Acting Warden Oak Smith and Lt. Guim'Mara Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Molly Hill and Lt. William Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show. Can’t get enough Ear Hustle? Sign up for Ear Hustle Plus, our new subscription service. You’ll get ad-free episodes, bonus episodes, access to live chats with Ear Hustle and other listeners about the show, and more! earhustlesq.com/plus Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com. Radiotopia’s fall fundraiser is here! Donate today to support Ear Hustle. Thank you. https://on.prx.org/3s6RrL5
That World

That World

2023-11-1551:102

Nigel and Earlonne visit the largest women's prison in the world, the Central California Women's Facility, and speak to five people about building a life in a tough environment, and calling that place home. Special thanks to Warden Anissa De La Cruz and Lt. Monique Williams for welcoming us to CCWF. Thanks also to Acting Warden Oak Smith and Lt. Guim'Mara Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Molly Hill and Lt. William Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show. Radiotopia’s fall fundraiser is here! Donate today to support Ear Hustle. Thank you! https://on.prx.org/3s6RrL5 We’re going on the road! Check out our upcoming tour dates here. Can’t get enough Ear Hustle? Sign up for Ear Hustle Plus, our new subscription service. You’ll get ad-free episodes, bonus episodes, access to live chats with Ear Hustle and other listeners about the show, and more! Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com.
Can a prison be haunted? And why are good ghost stories — inside or outside of prison — so hard to come by? The Ear Hustle team goes ghost hunting at San Quentin and the California Institution for Women. We’re going on the road! Check out our upcoming tour dates at earhustlesq.com/tour. Can’t get enough Ear Hustle? Sign up for Ear Hustle Plus, our new subscription service. You'll get ad-free episodes, bonus episodes, access to live chats with Ear Hustle and other listeners about the show, and more! earhustlesq.com/plus Big thanks to Acting Warden Oak Smith and Lt. Guim'Mara Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Molly Hill and Lt. William Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com.
San Quentin: The Magazine

San Quentin: The Magazine

2023-10-1801:04:414

If San Quentin were a magazine, what would it sound like? Ear Hustle’s new team inside – Sadiq, Steve, Tam, and the Two Tonys – delivers audio stories hot off the press, from the institution’s popcorn craze to its new tablets and those weird-looking gazebos out on the yard. Big thanks to Acting Warden Oak Smith and Lt. Guim'Mara Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Molly Hill and Lt. William Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show. Thanks also to Katie Gilbert, Officer Wallis, and John Zeretzke at San Quentin. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com.
Transitional

Transitional

2023-10-0441:56

Producer Rahsaan “New York” Thomas takes us inside the parole-ordered transitional housing he’s been living in since getting out of prison. For many people, these residences are a godsend. For others, they’re a frustrating limbo between prison and being truly free. Big thanks to Acting Warden Smith and Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison and Acting Warden Hill and Lt. Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com.
Prisons weren’t designed for older folks, and the California Institution for Women is no exception. Nigel and Earlonne pay a visit to CIW’s Senior Center to hang out with a group of women aged 70 and up and hear their stories about aging inside. Big thanks to Acting Warden Oak Smith and Lt. Guim'Mara Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Molly Hill and Lt. William Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com.
12 Hours on the Yard

12 Hours on the Yard

2023-09-0652:06

Inspired by the classic This American Life episode “24 Hours at the Golden Apple,” the Ear Hustle team documents one day in the life of San Quentin’s lower yard, from Haka dancing to dominoes; gospel to geese; and weight-lifting to waiting to get out. Big thanks to Acting Warden Oak Smith and Lt. Guim'Mara Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Molly Hill and Lt. William Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com.
It’s summertime! Which means the Ear Hustle team is off cooking up a new batch of stories for our next season — Season 12 — launching September 6. In the meantime, we’re bringing you an episode from one of our favorite new podcasts, Violation. The series revisits a 1986 murder case, in which 16-year-old Jacob Wideman — son of award-winning author John Edgar Wideman — fatally stabbed his summer camp roommate. Violation explores the parole process, examining who pulls the levers of power in our criminal system. Violation is a production of WBUR, Boston's NPR, and The Marshall Project. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX.
In honor of Pride month, we’re serving up some of our best stories about the LGBTQ community inside prison, including: a love story set out on the yard at San Quentin State Prison; two trans women on their journey from a men’s prison to a women’s prison, thanks to a new California law; and the first-ever Pride parade held inside a Norwegian prison. Big thanks to Warden Ron Broomfield and Lt. Guim'Mara Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Warden Jennifer Core and Lt. William Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com.
Articles of Hustle

Articles of Hustle

2023-06-0756:341

Is there such a thing as a prison uniform? Turns out, it takes two podcasts to answer that question. Nigel and Earlonne team up with Avery Trufelman from the Radiotopia pod Articles of Interest to find out why incarcerated people wear what they do, and how they make it their own. Big thanks to Guim'Mara Berry and Acting Warden Oak Smith for their support of the show. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com. Time is running out to support our spring fundraiser! Donate today to help us explore more stories from beyond San Quentin: https://on.prx.org/EH.
The Preacher

The Preacher

2023-05-2449:155

Over at San Quentin, a new preacher has started drawing crowds on the yard. He’s charismatic, soft-spoken, and devout. He says he’s a different man than he was when he committed the crimes that put him in prison. But how can he, or anyone else, really know? Big thanks to Guim'Mara Berry and Acting Warden Oak Smith for their support of the show. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com. Donate today to help us explore more stories from beyond San Quentin: on.prx.org/EH.
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Comments (623)

Anne Mcintosh

I just finished listening to the latest Catch a Kite episode and my mind went to the Mental Health of the inmates. Do inmates have mentors ( within the inmavte population)they can talk with without reprisals. As well does the correctional system step up in ways that are really helpful and meaningful? I apologize for this conversation as the episode was so good and joyful much laughter entailed. As a person who has dealt with her own mental health throughout her life(71yrs young) and a long time listener I am curious

May 17th
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Harlem Dawgs

The fact that one of the women was just covered in a blanket. the extreme vulnerability and imbalance of power in that situation is just sickening. trust me if he had been able to continue to get away with what he was doing he'd still be doing it. remorse came only after prison. trust and believe.

Apr 23rd
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Harlem Dawgs

This dude Edwardo is the worst. The ego and temeritity to go be a preacher. He's a wolf in sheep's clothing. I hope someone in there made his anus a plaything so he truly understands intimately what he put women through.

Apr 23rd
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Adrian Simmons

yall quit?

Aug 16th
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Anonymous

52 inmates die in the last month and a half in Texas prisons !!!! https://youtube.com/watch?v=C6I7eZ8ogZ8&feature=share8 over 140 degrees inside one prison WTF

Jul 24th
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Andrea

This was wonderful.

Jul 22nd
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Julia

If you're capable of doing this kind of thing once, you are not capable of being a better person. You are evil if you're able to hurt someone else intentionally. You just become better at hiding your true self. He would still be raping women if he hadn't been caught. They're only sorry when they're caught.

Jul 12th
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Lissa Griffith

wait a min, you'll fish through the toilet and get other peoples shit on your hands but won't spit in the same sink (because of germs) but spit in the toilet where you'll later fish? 🤔

Jun 18th
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The Boot Sagas

Great episode!

Apr 3rd
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Alex McNaughton

love Sam Robinson! He is a model of what it means to respect folks no matter what.

Feb 4th
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吳燕玲

安昂昂欸安艾未未問我奧 嗯嗯 奧 昂 歐啊 惡意韋恩我

Dec 4th
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yaara gerchman

The thank you's- AMAZING, just listen to the very end!

Nov 13th
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yaara gerchman

Why aren't you calling this what it is, 'rape'?

Nov 13th
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Lori Fletcher LaPorte

Wow!! He's getting out this year? this episode was powerful......

Jun 14th
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Dan Pollard

This podcast is just pure gold. Well done, once again.

Jun 6th
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Ang E. Garcia

it is the personal touch. I know my man in jail can have the same feelings reading my letters as I did writing them. no pc or printed out paper can ever take that away.

Apr 29th
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Debra Beattie

like this

Jan 2nd
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dchamberss dchamberss

I thought it was written and read by a 12 year old. Seventy percent of black kids have no dad so that black women stay dependent on the Democrat party of the KKK and Jim Crow. If I want to listen to an articulate, intelligent black woman, I listen to Candace Owens - not this racist, self-obsessed drivel. Low quality drivel at-that.

Dec 29th
Reply (1)

Anonymous

Hi, is there any plan to release the Ear Hustle book in paperback?? The book seems to have been requested by a number of incarcerated as a Christmas gift, unfortunately though I am getting the impression that hard cover books are not accepted by many facilities....

Dec 17th
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Kronen Bing

a bittersweet story about Curtis. very touching. very well done podcast. Thank you Team Ear Hustle.

Nov 11th
Reply