By Angelo Falcone
Journalism Guild Writer“Asked on the Line” or AOTL, has reached its five-year milestone. In March 2011, the editors of the San Quentin News (SQN) decided to start a regular column to collect and share the thoughts, opinions, and memories of the residents inside San Quentin. Editors appointed a member of the Journalism Guild to write the column and the first article, about Cinco de Mayo, was published in May 2011. Over 60 articles later, “Asked on the Line” is still acquainting readers with the “men in blue” at San Quentin.
Today, the San Quentin News is an award-winning periodical read in dozens of U.S. correctional institutions as well as online by fans and followers. In addition to reporting on events inside this institution, SQN reports on state, national, and world-wide issues that impact prisoners everywhere.
However, no column captures the honest and tender memories of the mainliners more than “Asked on the Line.”
How would men — with no social media addictions or smartphone obsessions, separated from the unconditional love of parents or children — define love? How do they express love? Go online and read any February AOTL articles.
What advice would adults give to a younger version of themselves if they could go back in time? Would the young person listen to the wisdom of the future? Check out the 2015 January AOTL.
Would people pay an additional 30 percent for fast food to donate money to charity? The men at San Quentin do this every other month. Read the 2015 March AOTL.
If time and resources were not an issue, what career paths would people take? The April 2014 and September 2015 AOTL articles will amaze you.
Are men a reflection of their mothers or of the women that raised them? Do those with fathers or father figures love their male role models? Read any May AOTL and June AOTL for a type of sweet sincerity uncommon in today’s frigid social media blogs.
Do men behind bars still feel patriotic? Do they love their country? Read the 2015 July AOTL for how men celebrated the Fourth of July.
How would men, paying their dues to society, feel about a prison guard who saved an inmate’s life? Their responses will change the way you feel about prisoners. Read the 2014 August AOTL.
Prisoners do feel remorse and they do want to change. Read the October 2014 AOTL or the January 2015 AOTL.
Are the men on the mainline grateful? Read any November AOTL articles and you too will count your blessings.
Do the winter holidays still warm hearts behind cold concrete settings? Read any December AOTL articles.
Online “Asked On The Line” articles go back as far as May 2011. Feel free to comment on our Facebook page.