Ear Hustle

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One crime is treated differently than all others, both inside and outside prison. People who commit sex crimes against children are often ostracized, abused by fellow inmates, and deemed beyond rehabilitation. On this episode, we talk to victims and perpetrators about the causes for, and impacts of, these crimes. A note: This episode includes disturbing content that may not be suitable for all audiences. Please use discretion in listening. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson and Acting Warden Ron Broomfield for their support.
The hole, the box, solitary confinement. It doesn’t matter what you call it; doing time in the SHU (Security Housing Unit) means you are alone and segregated from the general prison population. In this episode, four men who served between 8 and 28 years in the SHU share their memories of that time. Thanks to Armando Flores, Gus Lamumba Edwards, Richard Johnson and Isaac Flores for telling their stories, and to John YaYa Johnson for assisting with this episode. Ear Hustle is produced by Nigel Poor, Antwan Williams and Earlonne Woods with consulting editor Curtis Fox, outside production advisor Pat Mesiti-Miller and executive producer Julie Shapiro. Find out more about the show at earhustlesq.com, including how to send us a question (by postcard) that might get answered in a future episode. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Big thanks to Mail Chimp, Bombas and Casper for supporting the show.
The color of your skin influences your life in prison, from sharing food to celebrating birthdays. Meet Andrew Sabatino (Drew Down) and Arthur Snowden (AR), two guys whose close friendship often challenges the unwritten rules of race relations on the inside. Thanks to Drew Down and AR for sharing the story of their friendship. It’s a big deal to talk about race in prison, so thanks also to Lonnie Morris, Lemar, Phil Melendez, Wayne Boatwright, Charlie and George “Mesro” Coles-El for stepping up. Ear Hustle is produced by Nigel Poor, Antwan Williams and Earlonne Woods with consulting editor Curtis Fox, outside production advisor Pat Mesiti-Miller and executive producer Julie Shapiro. Sound design in this episode is by Earlonne Woods, with contributing beats from Antwan Williams. Find out more about the show at earhustlesq.com, including how to send us a question (by postcard) that might get answered in a future episode. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Big thanks to Mail Chimp, Squarespace and Texture for supporting the show.
Hollywood loves stories about fugitives on the run, but in reality that lifestyle is anything but glamorous, especially for those who get pulled in along the way. One woman reflects back on six years spent on the lam in Mexico, after her husband was charged with murder and their family fled south. We’re nearing the end of our first-ever spring fundraiser, and we need your help. If you can spare a little to support the show, go to earhustlesq.com/donate. Thank you! Thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson and Acting Warden Ron Broomfield for their support. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com.
Sleep, soundtracks and signing in prison — the Ear Hustle crew tackles questions from listeners about these topics and more, in this season’s “Catch a Kite” episode. Plus, we’ll share some of our favorite listener-generated Ear Hustle theme remixes. Spoiler alert: harps ahead. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com, where you can also sign up for our newsletter and order a T-shirt, sticker pack or mug. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for their support of the show, and Lantigua Williams & Co. and BetterHelp for sponsoring this episode.
Serving a prison sentence is hard, but getting out isn’t exactly a cakewalk, either. A lot depends on who’s waiting for you, what you have lined up on the outside and how you handle the regular pressures of life after incarceration. Thanks to Article and the American Red Cross for sponsoring this episode. For a full list of credits and to find out more about the show, head to earhustlesq.com, where you can sign up for our newsletter and order a T-shirt, sticker pack or mug. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX.
Ear Hustle is back with season four! Let’s get oriented: to a new format and a new inside host, and through the stories of guys learning the prison ropes in Reception, while they wait to find out where they’ll serve their time. A heads-up: This episode contains graphic descriptions of violence. Listener discretion is advised. Thanks to HelloFresh for sponsoring this episode. For a full list of credits and to find out more about the show, head to earhustlesq.com, where you can sign up for our newsletter and order a T-shirt, sticker pack or mug. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX.
During a San Quentin lockdown, the prison grinds to a halt, and men are confined to their cells 24 hours a day. On the heels of a summer lockdown, we’re kicking off season three by looking into what causes one, and how guys survive the wait when boredom, uncertainty, hunger and isolation can push them over the edge. A heads-up: this episode contains discussion of suicide and self-harm — listener discretion is advised. You can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Thanks to Michael Williams, Jason Perry, Aaron Taylor, Jessie Vasquez and Lee Jaspar (aka Matthew Lee Jasper) for sharing their stories with us. Thanks also to Gregg Sayers for performing his song “Lost in Time,” with additional vocals by Eric Abercrombie, aka Maserati E. Ear Hustle is produced by Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods with help from outside producer Pat Mesiti-Miller, who also comes in to lead the sound design team. This episode was scored with music by David Jassy, Antwan Williams, Lee Jaspar, E. Phil Phillips and Earlonne Woods. Our story editor is Curtis Fox, Erin Wade is our digital producer and our executive producer for Radiotopia is Julie Shapiro. We also want to thank Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for their continued support of the show. Find out more about the show at earhustlesq.com, where you can now buy an Ear Hustle mug to go with your t-shirt! Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX.
“Kite” is a common term in prison for a written note. Over the course of the season, listeners have been encouraged to send in their questions about Ear Hustle via postcards, or “kites.” In this episode, Earlonne and Nigel dig into the pile of postcards that have arrived from all corners of the world, with some help from guys in the yard. You’ll also hear from a familiar Ear Hustle voice — the man who approves all stories for publication, Lt. Sam Robinson. Thanks to the following San Quentin inmates for helping catch these kites: Curtis “Wall Street” Carroll, Miguel Fuentes, E. Phil Phillips, Joshua Burton, Luke Colondres, Michael Mackey, Louis A Scott, Tommy Shakur Ross, Eddie Herena, Sha Wallace-Stepter, Rahsaan Thomas. And to San Quentin staff: Officer Reyes and Lt. Sam Robinson And to music contributors: Jovan Mills (“Worth It”) and Lee Jaspar (aka Matthew Lee Jasper) (“Darn that Dream”) Thanks also to listeners who have sent postcards. We can't answer them all, but please know each is read, archived and deeply appreciated. In this episode we tackled questions from: Lucy from New Jersey, Dan from Canada, Adam from the United Kingdom, and one listener who wishes to remain anonymous. Ear Hustle is produced by Nigel Poor, Antwan Williams and Earlonne Woods with consulting editor Curtis Fox, outside production advisor Pat Mesiti-Miller and executive producer Julie Shapiro. Find out more about the show at earhustlesq.com, including how to send us a question (by postcard) that might get answered in a future episode. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Big thanks to Mail Chimp and Texture for supporting the show.
The need to nurture and show love for another living being (or, in San Quentin parlance, “looking out”) is an essential human impulse. Away from your family and friends in prison this can be difficult, if not impossible. Sure, guys create strong bonds among themselves that help to alleviate the pain of missing family. But like on the outside, some people inside just relate better to animals than people. Thanks to Rauch (aka Ronell Draper) for sharing his story, and to the guys who contributed to the Yard Talk segments in this episode: Jovon Mills, Kao Chung, Henry Charles, Rahsaan Thomas, Sha Wallace-Stepter, Arnulfo Garcia, Aly Tamboura, Emile DeWeaver, Antwan Williams, E. Phil Phillips, Curtis "WallStreet" Carroll, Donte Smith and Noah. The song "Worth It" was written and performed by Jovan Mills, and Sister Maria is played by Sandy Claire. Ear Hustle is produced by Nigel Poor, Antwan Williams and Earlonne Woods with consulting editor Curtis Fox, outside production advisor Pat Mesiti-Miller and executive producer Julie Shapiro. Find out more about the show at earhustlesq.com including how to send us a question (by postcard) that might get answered on a future episode. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Big thanks to Mail Chimp and Bombas for supporting the show.
Being married in prison is common. Opportunities to get intimate with your spouse are not, and – like everything else inside – are governed by both official and unofficial rules. In this episode of Ear Hustle, Greg and Maverick share stories about keeping their relationships strong, and getting close with their wives. Thanks to Maverick and Greg Eskridge for sharing such personal stories with us, and to our guest sound designer, the “Swedish Phenom,” David Jassy. Ear Hustle is produced by Nigel Poor, Antwan Williams and Earlonne Woods with consulting editor Curtis Fox, outside production advisor Pat Mesiti-Miller and executive producer Julie Shapiro. Find out more about the show at earhustlesq.com, including how to send us a question (by postcard) that might get answered in a future episode. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Big thanks to Mail Chimp, Square Space and Casper for supporting the show.
Hardly anyone writes letters anymore. On the streets it’s all texting, posting, sharing and liking. But in prison, pens, paper, envelopes and stamps are highly prized, and still considered an essential lifeline to the outside world. Thanks to Article for sponsoring this episode. For a full list of credits and to find out more about the show, head to earhustlesq.com, where you can sign up for our newsletter and order a T-shirt, sticker pack or mug. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX.
Visiting a loved one in prison is both emotionally intense and constrained by countless rules – from how much PDA is too much PDA, to what kind of candy you can eat inside. One year after California prison authorities suspended in-person visits due to COVID-19, we bring you stories from and about visiting rooms, and hear how families are adjusting to video “visits.” As always, thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson and Acting Warden Ron Broomfield 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.
One in five incarcerated people in the U.S. has tested positive for COVID-19, and here in California, more than 100 people have died in prison. In our final episode of Season 6, we hear three stories from the California outbreaks, and remember the lives of those in the San Quentin community lost to COVID-19. As always, thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson and Acting Warden Ron Broomfield for their support of the show. You can find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a listener-supported network of independent, artist-owned podcasts. To support Ear Hustle directly, go to earhustlesq.com/donate. Thanks so much, and wishing you happy holidays from the whole team.
In 1990, Leonard attacked a female hiker off a trail along the California coast. Three decades later, we hear the rest of the story, and explore what accountability and survival really look like. Warning: This episode contains a graphic description of a sex crime. Some listeners may want to skip this one. If you or someone you know have been affected by sexual assault, you can get help by calling the National Sexual Assault Helpline at 800.656.HOPE. As always, thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson and Acting Warden Ron Broomfield 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.
Incarcerated people have long played an important role in firefighting in California. Now, in the middle of the state’s worst fire season on record, formerly incarcerated people are poised to play more of a role. We visit with a group of men just out of prison who are training to become professional firefighters. As always, thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson and Acting Warden Ron Broomfield 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 Get some Ear Hustle masks, shirts, and other merch, now in time for the holidays. 25% of all proceeds go to Mount Tamalpais College (formerly the Prison University Project). Check out our store at earhustlesq.com/shop
Incarceration doesn’t just separate a parent from his or her child, it changes that relationship forever, often leaving wounds that may never heal. We talk with kids who have incarcerated parents, as well as a formerly incarcerated mom of four, and hear why sometimes acceptance is the only way forward.
Six cubic feet. That’s how much stuff each incarcerated person in California is allowed to have in his or her cell. The few personal objects you keep with you in prison are precious. But what’s left behind can be just as meaningful, as relics of a former life. Now available on our website: Ear Hustle face masks! Bonus: 100% of profits from merch sales through September 30th will go to the Prison University Project. Thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson and Acting Warden Ron Broomfield 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.
Being incarcerated doesn’t always mean staying in one place. Ear Hustle kicks off Season Six with stories from inside the vans and buses that carry people to and between prisons. Thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson and Acting Warden Ron Broomfield for their support. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com. The National Suicide Prevention Line can be reached at 800-273-8255. Aly Tamboura, who appears in this episode, now works for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which financially supports the production of Ear Hustle.
Surprise! In this season four bonus episode, Earlonne sits down with Ear Hustle co-founder and sound design contributor, Antwan “Banks” Williams, who was recently released from San Quentin after serving 13 years in prison. The two talk about Antwan’s time inside, the person he’s become during those years, his work with Ear Hustle and his musical ambitions for the future. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com, where you can also sign up for our newsletter and order a T-shirt, sticker pack or mug. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson, Warden Ron Davis and Krissi Khokhobashvili for their support of the show. And thanks to you, as ever, for listening.
Tom was a cop; Jason was a teenager in a gang. One night in 1997, they had a violent encounter that Tom describes as “inevitable.” In our season finale, Tom and Jason relate the story of that night, and the series of events that unfolded in the years afterward. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com, where you can also sign up for our newsletter and order a T-shirt, sticker pack or mug. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for their support of the show, and Native, EPIX and BetterHelp for sponsoring this episode. And thanks to you for tuning in through all of season four!
Historically, death sentences in California have led to eventual execution by the state. But these days, public opinion and state protocol are in flux, and the future is uncertain for those on death row at San Quentin. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com, where you can also sign up for our newsletter and order a T-shirt, sticker pack or mug. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for their support of the show, and Native, EPIX and BetterHelp for sponsoring this episode. And stay tuned for our season four finale, in two weeks!
Getting a job after serving time is crucial to rebuilding your life, but a criminal record inevitably gets in the way. Four people share stories about how their time inside both helped prep them for jobs outside and impacted their getting back to work. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com, where you can also download and remix our theme song (remixes are due Aug. 31, so get yours in soon!!), sign up for our newsletter and order a T-shirt, sticker pack or mug. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. As always, thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for their support of the show, and Lantigua Williams & Co. and Audible for sponsoring this episode.
Running a prison takes a lot of work, and not just by the staff running the place. At San Quentin inmates work regular jobs, earn pennies on the hour and often supplement their income with a side hustle. Find a full list of episode credits at earhustlesq.com, where you can also download and remix our theme song (do it!), sign up for our newsletter and order a T-shirt, sticker pack or mug. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Thanks also to Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for their support of the show, and Article, Lantigua Williams & Co. and Native for sponsoring this episode.
I think we can all agree: It’s high time we devoted a full episode to the music of San Quentin. Thanks to all of the musicians who talked with us for this episode, and shared their songs. Find a full list of credits at earhustlesq.com, where you can also download and remix our theme song (do it!), sign up for our newsletter and order a T-shirt, sticker pack or mug. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Thanks also to Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for their support of the show, and Article and Lantigua Williams & Co. for sponsoring this episode.
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Podcast Details

Created by
Ear Hustle
Podcast Status
Active
Started
May 25th, 2017
Latest Episode
Mar 31st, 2021
Release Period
2 per month
Episodes
67
Avg. Episode Length
35 minutes
Explicit
No
Order
Episodic
Language
English
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