About Uncuffed
“We’ve got the mic, and we’re telling our own stories."


Uncuffed empowers people in prison to tell their own stories.

In our training programs, participants express their humanity, develop job skills, and inspire change.

Our Work

Uncuffed is the country’s leading radio and podcast training program for people in prisons.

Audio Storytelling

We teach digital audio storytelling in San Quentin and Solano Prisons in California. In weekly classes taught by professional journalists, participants learn how to make an audio story — from the first pitch to the final draft.

Student producers interview other people in prison about their personal stories. Using professional audio equipment, software, and computers we’ve brought inside the prisons, students edit those stories into “audio gems” of 5 to 8 minutes. The stories air on the KALW program Crosscurrents, and can be heard on our website here.

The Uncuffed Podcast

The Uncuffed Podcast is a showcase for personal stories and deep roundtable conversations with the incarcerated Uncuffed producers.

The podcast was featured in the New York Times and as a “New and Noteworthy” show in the Apple Podcast app.


The Uncuffed Playlist

In our Uncuffed Playlist classes at Solano State Prison, students learn how to be radio DJs. They choose an hour of their favorite music and get on the mic to talk about how those songs relate to their lives.

Re-Entry Stories
Uncuffed works with our alumni on episodes about life after incarceration. We have also led audio workshops for formerly incarcerated participants.
Re-entry stories
Advisory Board
Uncuffed is guided by an advisory board of formerly incarcerated leaders.
Meet our board

KALW Public Media

Uncuffed is a program of KALW Public Media, an NPR member station rooted in the Bay Area and inspired by the world.
We create and curate programming that is informative, innovative, inclusive, and entertaining. We nurture new and underrepresented voices. Our goal is to engage the individual and strengthen the connections between us.
Uncuffed is presented on Crosscurrents, KALW’s flagship news magazine hosted by Hana Baba. Crosscurrents airs Mondays - Thursdays at 11am on 91.7FM and streaming on KALW.org.
KALW is a 501(c)3 community-supported media organization.
Learn more about KALW

Our Story

Uncuffed has taught storytellers in California prisons for over a decade.
  • 2012
    Journalists from KALW and the podcast Life of the Law begin teaching radio workshops at San Quentin Prison. We buy audio equipment, computers, and editing software to the prison and help incarcerated journalists create stories that air on KALW 91.7 fm.
  • 2015
    We help found the San Quentin chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists – a first in the U.S.
  • 2017
    Earlonne Woods and Antwan Banks, former participants in our program, create the podcast Ear Hustle along with artist Nigel Poor.
  • 2018
    We begin weekly classes at San Quentin, and expand to Solano State Prison, with funding from the California Arts Council.
  • 2019
    We launch the Uncuffed podcast, reaching national and international audiences.
  • 2020
    Uncuffed coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in prisons is broadcast nationally.
  • 2022
    Uncuffed alumni and staff attend the first international prison radio conference in Oslo. Our group includes three newly released graduates of the Uncuffed program. In Norway, we tour prisons famous for their rehabilitative approach. Our alumni report back on the podcast about what seems to be working, and what isn’t, in Norwegian prisons. As California aims to reshape its prisons after Scandinavia’s example, Uncuffed alumni who visited Norway are quoted in international media.
  • 2023
    We launched our radio DJ program at Solano State Prison, and the Uncuffed Playlist, California’s first music show hosted by incarcerated people and broadcast on public airwaves.
  • 2024 & beyond
    Uncuffed plans to bring our training program to incarcerated women, expand opportunities for formerly incarcerated people in the media, and bring more system-impacted leaders onto our own team.


Uncuffed has won several awards from the
Society of Professional Journalists
and the San Francisco Press Club, and were finalists for the Media for a Just Society and Local That Works awards.
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Uncuffed is a proud founding member of Prison Radio International. We are members of the Transformative In-Prison Workgroup, a coalition of rehabilitative programs in prisons. We also partner with the Pollen Initiative (formerly Friends of San Quentin News) and Community Works West.
Uncuffed is supported by Arts In Corrections, Innovative Programming Grants, Unlikely Collaborators, Reentry Through the Arts, and individual donors.
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The Uncuffed podcast is a showcase for personal stories and deep roundtable conversations with the incarcerated Uncuffed producers.