Illegal Mail by Jacorey of Blunt Youth Radio

January 11, 2012 in Youthcast by Emily

Jacorey is an aspiring radio producer who's working on a degree in radio broadcasting at Southern Maine Community College.  He is also incarcerated at the Long Creek Youth Development Center.

And although you have to walk through five locked doors to see Jacorey and his friends at Long Creek, if you want to hear them, just press play:


"They write letters back and forth from female residents to male residents or vise-versa" Jacorey told me.  Then, they put the letters under trashcans or in hiding places for the other to find.  At Long Creek, they call this note passing "Illegal Mail."

In his piece, Jacorey interviews his friend, the "King of Illegal Mail," as well as Ms. Peevey, a staff member who confiscates these clandestine love notes.  Jacorey is trying to understand why "illegal mail" is against the rules, and why some of his friends do it anyway.

There is a long tradition of making radio behind bars, probably because the medium allows us to communicate such personal stories with so much anonymity.  Blunt Youth Radio's Incarcerated Youth Speak Out project is one of a few that focuses on young people.  They even had this story featured on This American Life.   Some 3,000 miles across the country, these incarcerated California teens are also making radio, while Curie Youth Radio students in Chicago document what it's like to be looking in from the other side of the glass window.    Be sure to listen to the seminal Prison Diaries from Radio Diaries — and tell us what you think of it all on Facebook and Twitter.

Image by Kristin Bradley.