U-M students release new podcast season with former prisoners

May 16, 2019
by Fernanda Pires; fpires@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—Motherhood, trauma, pain management and the politics of incarceration are just some of the topics that will be discussed on the second season of the podcast While We Were Away launched this week by students in the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP).

This season—which features stories of eight prison community members—follows the structure of season one, but introduces fresh voices. The new set of storytellers share the joys, hardships, and future plans they have for their time post-incarceration. Each voice offers a different message, relates to a new community, and calls all to action.

"We tried to make sure that we were airing stories that represented different types of reentry experiences; whether it be from the perspective of a woman, veteran, mother, Native American, or politician," said Zoey Horowitz, one of the producers.

In this season, producers also hear from individuals who have spent time incarcerated and returned home without PCAP's structure and support.

The first episode, To All My Sisters, is told by Toni, a criminal justice advocate and voice for incarcerated women and children. She talks to women and survivors everywhere and shares what she has learned about trauma, informed practices of healing and dealing with triggers.

Toni also advises fellow survivors to focus on themselves and speaks directly to her daughter, discussing who she wants to be as a mother and the hope she sees for her family.

"We are so excited to share these new stories, and hope that you will do the same," said Hannah French, another podcast producer.  

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.

"Coming home is a complete physical, mental and spiritual metamorphosis. It is a complete change of life with distinct changes and challenges. My entire life changed when I went inside and when I came home," said Mary Heinen, coordinator and former mentee of the Prison Creative Arts Project, a program at U-M's Residential College that brings those impacted by the justice system and the U-M community into artistic collaboration for mutual learning and growth.

'We remain committed to standing by the community across the state as well as nationally," said French. "If you have initiatives going on, or projects that we could help with, please don't hesitate to reach out!"

The podcast can be listened to on the website, Spotify, Apple Podcast (iTunes), and SoundCloud.

Prison Creative Arts Project

May 15 - Toni, "To All My Sisters"
May 24 - Romando, "Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So" *Memorial Weekend Edition*
May 29 - Alan, "Tribe"
June 5 - Hazelette, "Who Wouldn't Serve a God Like This?"
June 12 - Kevin, "Good Vibrations"
June 19 - AyLaina, "Masks"
June 26- Scary, "The Other Shoe"
July 3 - Rich, "Who Are We, As a Nation?" *Independence Day Edition*

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