While We Were Away is a podcast by formerly incarcerated people, for formerly incarcerated people—and those who are preparing to transition out of incarceration or curious about the experience. It is intended to not only provide a forum for the voices and stories of our participants, all of whom were formerly incarcerated, but also to offer advice and knowledge for those who remain inside.

Each episode creatively tells the stories of a different participant, guided minimally by the voices of the podcast hosts. This podcast is by no means a comprehensive tool, but rather paints a portrait of what life could look like on the outside, focusing on joys despite struggle, and offering words of wisdom for the future.

If you’re interested in the podcast, Hannah French encourages you to listen and to share widely—and deliberately—to the spaces we’ve identified as being most helpful for reentry help and reform: those impacted by the criminal justice system (including families, judges, parole boards and officers, as well as those who’ve been incarcerated), policy makers and influencers (such as lobbyists), and organizations that work heavily with formerly incarcerated communities and/or to reform the prison system.

Anyone who’s interested in learning more, providing feedback, etc. can contact email Hannah French at frenchh@umich.edu.


Click here to learn more about the podcast and to listen.