Ear Hustle

Ear Hustle

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.

Episodes

February 14, 2024 11 mins

Season 13 is coming soon; in the meantime, here’s a glimpse of what’s going on in Ear Hustle Plus, our new subscription feed. In this excerpt, Nigel and Earlonne listen back to their very first episode, “Cellies,” and chat with executive producer Bruce Wallace about what life was like behind the scenes when Ear Hustle first stepped into the world, what’s changed since then, and the question in that episode that drove Earlo...

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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 th...

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November 29, 2023 42 mins

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 H...

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November 15, 2023 47 mins

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...

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November 1, 2023 38 mins

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, acc...

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October 18, 2023 60 mins

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...

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October 4, 2023 38 mins

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...

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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 W...

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September 6, 2023 49 mins

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...

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July 5, 2023 35 mins

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 exp...

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June 21, 2023 50 mins

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...

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June 7, 2023 52 mins

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....

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May 24, 2023 44 mins

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 epi...

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May 10, 2023 65 mins

Imagine you’re an archaeologist tasked with going through someone’s garbage. What will you learn about their habits and desires, their values, and how they spend their resources? For seven days, the entire Ear Hustle team, both inside and outside San Quentin, stashed our trash, revealing some new and surprising things about each other.

Big thanks to Guim'Mara Berry and Acting Warden Oak Smith for their support of the show...

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April 26, 2023 33 mins

Can incarcerated women dye their hair? Do they have enough tampons and pads? What makes them happy, and how realistic is “Orange Is the New Black”? Ear Hustle listeners have questions about life inside a women’s prison, so we head to the California Institution for Women for answers.

To learn more about donating books to the library at the California Institution for Women, contact Ricky Dela Cruz or Ashleigh Lewis at CIW. ...

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April 12, 2023 31 mins

For years, we’ve asked incarcerated people to speculate on the difference between life inside a men’s prison and inside a women’s. Now we’re finally getting answers, thanks to a 2021 law allowing transgender, intersex, and non-binary people to transfer to prisons that match their gender identity. For some, the law has been life-changing; for others… not so much.

Big thanks to Guim'Mara Berry and Acting Warden Oak Smith fo...

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March 29, 2023 38 mins

What’s the difference between an over-under and a lower-lower? How many pairs of underwear do you get in prison? And how long does a bar of soap last? We spend an entire episode with one San Quentin OG who schools us on the history of prison and what 46 years inside will do to a man.

Big thanks to Guim'Mara Berry and Warden Oak Smith for their support of the show.

Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Fi...

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March 15, 2023 34 mins

San Quentin’s population is changing, and a lot of the old ways are dying out. But some prison OGs don’t want to let go of the past.

Big thanks to Lieutenant 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.

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March 1, 2023 45 mins

When you’re incarcerated, are your dreams set outside prison walls? Or out on the prison yard? Are they a comforting space to escape to? Or a painful reminder of what you no longer have? From lucid dreams to wet dreams to dreams of freedom, we ask how incarceration changes what you see when you sleep.

Big thanks to Guim'Mara Berry and Warden Ron Broomfield for their support of the show.

Ear Hustle is a proud member of ...

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February 22, 2023 15 mins

After 22 years in prison, our inside colleague Rahsaan “New York” Thomas is now a free man. We meet him at the gates of San Quentin, and tag along for his first meal outside and a trip to Target.

Big thanks to Lieutenant 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.

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