Colorado has launched the first radio station by inmates inside a state prison. The show, Inside Wire, initiated its first broadcast on March 1 at Limon Correctional Facility in Denver. Limon is a level 4 facility surrounded by a 4,000-foot-long doubled fence. The station operates inside a windowless room with Plexiglas walls and soundproof foam.
“This is a truly monumental moment. We thought, ‘What else could we do?’” said Ashley Hamilton, executive director of the University of Denver’s Prison Arts Initiative. The show runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it gives prison residents access to music programs and information about legislation that affects them, reported The Denver Post.
Herbert Alexander, 46, spent 13 years behind bars for robbery. He is the Inside Wire, production director. He talks frequently about the radio show with his family. In his interview with The Post, he said “Most prisoners are going home at some point, so when they do, don’t we want them to be better men?”
Hamilton brought this idea to Dean Williams, executive director of Colorado’s Department of Corrections, who approved the project. Director Williams plans to participate in
a weekly program called “Up to the minute with Dean Williams.” The program gives the prison’s residents a chance to talk to him one-on-one about anything.
As reported by The Post, The State Department of Corrections has a vision of reform; the goal is to “normalize” life behind bars. Furthermore, the objective of the radio station is to change the narrative about the 14,000 people housed in Colorado’s prison system.
The station’s engagement producer Jody Aguirre, 58, never had experience with audio until he came on board with Inside Wire. He came to prison on a murder conviction in 1994 and has no release date. After 10 years of bitterness and anger, some of it in solitary confinement, he decided to turn his life around. Aguirre reported that he made a commitment to his mother. “I’ll live in a way to make her proud,” he said. “People in here live honorable lives.”
The station is funded by the University of Denver Prison Arts Initiative. It does not broadcast over AM or FM, but can be streamed online via the Inside Wire app, and it is beamed to every prison in the state of Colorado.
Seth Ready is a communications associate for the Prison Arts Initiative. “This is one of the best days of my life,” he said of “launch day.”