Background

SQ News Staff 10:13   Seated from left: Advisors Steve McNamara, Linda Xiques and Joan Lisetor. Staff members Watani Stiner, Kris Himmelberger and Ted Swain. Standing from left: Staff members JulianGlenn Padgett, Boston Woodard, Rahsaan Thomas, Arnulfo Garcia, Juan Haines,  Phoeun You, Richard Richardson, Jorge Herida, Aaron Taylor, Charles Henry, Malik Harris and Kevin Sawyer.

San Quentin News

The San Quentin News is the only inmate-produced newspaper in California and one of the few in the world. A paper with this name was started in December 1940 by Clinton Duffy, San Quentin’s noted progressive warden from 1940 to 1952. Before that there was an inmate-produced paper at San Quentin named the Wall City News. It was started in the 1920s and ceased publication in the mid-1930s. It claimed to be “The Only Newspaper in the World Published Within the Walls of a Prison.” In the Back Issues section you can see a copy of Wall City News. Once you click on Back Issues, scroll down to the year 1930. The San Quentin News has itself been suspended from time to time and was revived in its current form in June 2008 by Warden Robert Ayers Jr., who has since retired.

San Quentin is known for its wide-ranging rehabilitation efforts and programs using a vast number of community volunteers. By one measure there are more volunteers assisting San Quentin programs than the combined number of volunteers at California’s other 33 adult prisons.

The San Quentin News aims to publish 20 pages monthly, has a press run of 11,500 for inmates, correctional officers and staff, and members of the community, and is available through this website.  The paper is distributed in bulk to 17 other prisons in the state and aims to reach all 34 California prisons in addition to San Quentin. To read the paper, in the panel above or here select either Current Issue or Back Issues. You can also provide Feedback using that tag. And you can provide vital assistance by clicking the Support tag here or in the panel above. The paper’s coverage focuses both on events within the prison and those outside that are of special interest to the inmates and correctional personnel. More than 20 inmates write articles for each issue under the leadership of these inmates: Editor-in-Chief Arnulfo Garcia, Supervising Editor Malik Harris, Managing Editor Juan Haines, Design Editor Richard (Bonaru) Richardson and Sports Editor Rahsaan Thomas.

Four volunteers advise the San Quentin News: John Eagan, former Associated Press writer, editor and executive, former editor of the Novato Advance and Petaluma Argus Courier, and former publisher of the Marinscope Community Newspapers; Joan Lisetor, former writer for the Marin Independent Journal and previous advisor to the San Quentin News during an earlier operation when it was judged the best prison newspaper in the United States; Steve McNamara, former owner, editor and publisher of the Pacific Sun, former writer and editor for the Winston-Salem Journal, Miami Herald and San Francisco Examiner, and former president of the California Society of Newspaper Editors, former director of the California Newspaper Publishers Association and founding president of both the National Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and the California Association of Alternative Newsweeklies; and Linda Xiques, former managing editor of the Pacific Sun.

To contact the paper’s staff or advisers, use the Feedback section of this website or email thesqnews@gmail.com. The official contact at San Quentin is the prison’s Public Information Officer, Lt. Sam Robinson, (415) 455-5008; email: samuel.robinson2@cdcr.ca.gov.