Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

Prison Diaries

Five inmates, four correctional officers and a judge were given tape recorders. For six months, the diarists kept audio journals and recorded the sounds and scenes of everyday life behind bars: shakedowns, new inmate arrivals, roll call, monthly family visits, meals at the chow hall, and quiet moments late at night inside a cell.

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Going Home: Cristel’s Diary

At 15, Cristel attacked a classmate with a razor blade. After 3 years of incarceration, she’s being released.

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Serving 9 to 5: Correctional Officers’ Diary

Diaries from officers who work behind bars at Polk Youth Institution.

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Doing Time: John’s Diary

As a kid, John dreamed of becoming a police officer, but by the age of 17, John had committed more than 75 armed robberies.

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Matthew and the Judge: Juvenile Court Diary

Through their diaries, Matthew and Judge Jeremiah tell the same story from two different sides of the bench.

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