Created in partnership with Sawari Media and Alfield Reeves Photography, Seeing Through The Bars is a virtual prison education program with a mission to teach people in prison about the power of media and the importance of storytelling. These stories aim to humanize people in prison and bridge the gap between the outside world and those who are incarcerated. Stories like these show the importance of amplifying the experiences of incarcerated people and why laws around prison conditions and mass incarceration need to change.
How It Works
Participants are paired with a person who is incarcerated at Gus Harrison Correctional Facility. Partners correspond with each other via JPay, an e-mail service used by prisons. Using the story prompt, “How has COVID-19 impacted you while you’re in prison?”, participants work with an individual who is in Gus Harrison Correctional Facility to write a story based on the prompt in any creative format they may choose. Some examples include a short essay, song, poem, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Once the story is composed, a media project is created based on the story that is written. Some examples include a video or a short film, a recorded song, a photo series, and a multimedia project. Media projects are no more than 10 minutes in length. The final media projects are showcased via a virtual event.
Summer 2020 Participants
Tirrea Billings & Monte Jones partnered with Michael Meza
Amani Sawari partnered with Chanton Miles
Lori Gottschling & Nick Benitez partnered with LeRoy Washington
Michael Ralph & Angie Urrea partnered with Jermaine Glenn
Walker Chrisman partnered with Lynn Strayhorn
Mikayla Richardson partnered with Mario Smith