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Get an inside look at San Quentin News when OPEC takes to Facebook Live on Jan. 26.

Employees granted access to view San Quentin News event

CDCR’s Office of Public and Employee Communications will provide a rare look inside one of CDCR’s most ambitious and longstanding rehabilitation programs Friday, Jan. 26, when it shares a live Q&A from inside the San Quentin News.

OPEC will be hosting a Facebook Live event on the CDCR Facebook page beginning at noon Friday, Jan. 26. The event will be broadcast from San Quentin State Prison and will feature a roundtable discussion with inmates, staff and advisers to the San Quentin News. CDCR staff will be granted access to www.facebook.com/cacorrections from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to view the event and ask questions.

January marks the historic 100th edition of the paper that is produced, reported and edited by people incarcerated at San Quentin. The newspaper has been in production off and on since the 1920s, and was revived in 2008 by Warden Robert Ayers as a tool for rehabilitation and providing accurate, timely information to the incarcerated population. The paper has expanded exponentially since then, and is now distributed to all California prisons as well as individuals in 43 other states and hundreds of donors.

The newspaper is produced by San Quentin inmates in partnership with volunteer advisers and graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism. In addition to a core team of staff, dozens of incarcerated people make up the Journalism Guild, in which they learn about journalism from professionals and contribute hundreds of stories to the newspaper.

In 2014, the paper received The James Madison Freedom of Information Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2016, Associate Editor Kevin D. Sawyer received The James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Then, in 2017, the Society of Professional Journalists presented Senior Editor Juan Haines with the Silver Heart Award for being a voice for the voiceless. Newspaper adviser Professor William J. Drummond went to the White House to receive The 2015 John W. Gardner Legacy of Leadership Award. In 2015, members of the News became the first inmates in the United States to establish a satellite chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists inside a prison.

The Q&A will provide an opportunity to learn about the history of the paper, the challenges and importance of producing a newspaper from inside prison walls, and the importance of partnerships among the community, academic institutions, San Quentin and CDCR headquarters to make the paper successful.