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Health and Sanity

Valentina Nicolae
Journalist
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piqer: Valentina Nicolae
Friday, 30 November 2018

Love In The Time Of Imprisonment

Ear Hustle is a podcast with stories about everyday life in prison, made in prison by people who are incarcerated there and a visual artist who volunteers at San Quentin. The show paints a more nuanced picture of what inmate life means. How do you survive? How do you go about matters like love, family, raising your children?

It was difficult to choose one episode to write about, because they’re all interesting. Like the one about what happens when prisoners fall in love with staff members, the one the about lockdowns, or the one about the challenges you’re confronted with being an immigrant in an American prison.

I settled on “Prime Real Estate”, which focuses on “stories of romance, dating, and playing the field”, because it makes clear that, whoever and wherever you are, you’re still gonna try to find human connection and that special feeling that love brings. We meet a guy who had his first experience with romance at San Quentin because he got incarcerated when he was very young (spoiler alert: that’s where he also gets his first taste of heartbreak). Inmates describe the process of meeting women when you can’t go out (the visiting room plays an essential role). Others talk about how difficult it is to maintain a relationship when you can’t do the stuff you’d do outside: meet the parents, socialize with other people as a couple, or get physical.

One of the highlights of this episode, which is both tender and funny, is when prisoners describe themselves if they were looking for a lady, because it gives you a glimpse into who these people are, what they long for and how prison has changed them. 

Love In The Time Of Imprisonment
6.7
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