Prison education program leads to new radio serial drama written by inmates

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prison dramaA Birmingham radio station will debut a new serial drama written and performed by prison inmates Oct. 22.

WJLD Radio AM 1400, Birmingham’s oldest continuously black-owned and operated radio station, will air the first episode of Corrections, a serial drama about life in a maximum-security correctional facility.  The episodes will air at 7:30 a.m. each Saturday for the next eight weeks.

“This may be the first program of its kind ever to be broadcast to the general public,” said producer, Connie Kohler, an emerita professor at UAB.  “While it’s main objective is to raise inmates’ awareness of common health problems in correctional settings, it is entertaining and novel, making it appealing to all audiences.”

Each 30-minute radio show will include one episode of the drama followed by discussion with the program hosts, a former inmate and a social worker with experience working in correctional settings.  Listener calls will be encouraged.  Subsequent episodes — eight in all — will be aired each week for the next seven weeks.  The program can also be heard through the radio station’s streaming site,

Prisoners at the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility were guided in their writing and performance by UAB faculty, who have led an annual lecture series for inmates for 20 years.  The drama program is an outgrowth of that partnership, which was the inspiration for the documentary, “The Prison’s Professors.”