This time on Ear Hustle we’re trying something different: we’re diving into San Quentin’s 166-year history. Normally, we get the guys inside to tell stories. But this place itself does speak, and it’s not always through words.

A heads-up: this episode contains graphic descriptions of violence — listener discretion is advised.

Thanks to George “Mesro” Coles-El, Richard Richardson aka Bonaru, John Robb, Norman Willhoite, Gregg Sayers, Lee Jaspar (aka Matthew Lee Jasper), Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Clinton T. Duffy for sharing their stories.

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 includes music by David Jassy, with contributions from Antwan WIlliams. Our story editor is Curtis Fox, digital producer is Erin Wade and our executive producer for Radiotopia is Julie Shapiro. We’re grateful to Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for their support of the show.

See the photos the guys describe in this episode on our website. You can find out more about the San Quentin Archive project on Nigel’s website, and information about Nigel’s show in Milwaukee through the Milwaukee Art Museum. Plus, learn more about Warden Clinton T. Duffy and check out his book.

Thanks to Nectar for supporting this episode. You can find out more about the show at, where you can also buy an Ear Hustle mug to go with your T-shirt. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX.