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Ear Hustle

This week’s #LWLbookclub is hosted by launcher, Jessica from Luxtra London. She’ll be talking all about one her favourite things in the world: a great podcast.


One of my favourite things in the world is a good podcast. Scratch that. A great podcast.

Of all the wonderful things to love on our big blue planet, perhaps it seems odd that I should make such a brash claim about something... intangible. But love them, I do. And in this nook of the Ladies Who Launch blog, I want to share with you two of my favourite podcasts series.

Number one with the bullet is Ear Hustle. It is a podcast made by prisoners from inside a high security prison in California. Yes.

Earlonne Woods, an inmate, and Nigel Poor, a woman who volunteers at the prison, take us inside to learn about living life without freedom, and what the reality of life is like ensconced behind those thick walls.

I had never stopped to think about how incarcerated men raise their children – on the whole they want to be good fathers –, nor what solitary confinement really means as a sentence. Take a listen to Episode 4: The SHU for example. Pronounced the “shew”, the Security Housing Unit (a.k.a. solitary confinement) speaks with four men who spent between 8 and 26 years in solitary. One of them resorted to starting fights with guards just to feel contact from a human being. Never mind the broken teeth and fractures sustained in the pursuit. Can you imagine? It just blows your mind.

The episodes raise many more questions than they answer, but there are lighter conversations too of course. Earlonne has a hilarious sense of humour, and so many of the inmates are at ease poking fun at themselves and their situations. A reminder of the human ability to adapt to incredible adversity.

I think I am so hooked on this podcast because of the intense humanity and the maturity of the inmates. A lot of the men (it is a male prison) who are interviewed have been doing time for decades. Decades.... Decades. It is actually incomprehensible.

They are no longer the barely-adult men who committed a stupid crime in the heat of the moment all those years ago. They are wise beyond their stifled years and have such a maturity and grounded vision of the world. Yet they continue to pay penance despite no longer being that lost youngster. It's a tragedy in my opinion. Some of you will disagree with that. But please, go listen before you settle in your opinion.

If you give Ear Hustle a try, you’ll start to pick up the lingo. Here’s a taster: “earhustling” means to eaves drop. A “cellie” is your cell mate. And “a kite” is a letter sent to an inmate.

So perhaps you too will become an Ear Hustle convert like me and send a kite over Cali way to Earlonne and the team.

Find out more about Ear Hustle now.

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