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Behind the Walls

Houston Chronicle

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Behind the Walls

Behind the Walls

Houston Chronicle

2
Followers
0
Plays
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About Us

Behind the Walls is an insider view beyond the razor wire and red tape of the Texas criminal justice system. Chronicle reporter and ex-con Keri Blakinger and former Texas prisons union president Lance Lowry explore jails, prisons, and the darkest places in criminal justice.

Latest Episodes

Talking rats, records and reporting with Pam Colloff, aka 'the best damn writer in Texas'

In her latest year-long investigation, Texas crime writing legend Pamela Colloff delved into the shadowy world of the con artist and jailhouse snitch whose testimony put four men on death row. In this episode, listen in as reporter and podcast host Keri Blakinger asks the Austin-based ProPublica writer about the problems with informants, the difficulties in reporting on them, and answers to a slew of Twitter-user questions about the process.

36 MIN2019 DEC 24
Comments
Talking rats, records and reporting with Pam Colloff, aka 'the best damn writer in Texas'

Women, trauma, and the quest for a new jail in Austin

For the most part, prisons and jails are built for men. But as much as the carceral system fails them, experts say it might fail women even more. That's why some jails are shifting to a "gender-responsive" model, paying attention to women's needs and how they're different from men's. On this episode, host Keri Blakinger talks withMajor Sally Peña and Captain Maria Velasquez at the Travis County Jail in Austin, where officials are trying to build a new, gender-responsive women's jail.

25 MIN2019 DEC 9
Comments
Women, trauma, and the quest for a new jail in Austin

Yoga, Buddha and death row: An interview with 'Texas 7' prisoner Patrick Murphy

Patrick Murphy is a death row prisoner, one of the notorious Texas 7 - a group of men who escaped from a maximum security unit and ended up killing a cop. In this interview, he talks about his stay, his legal case, his regret and how he became a Buddhist behind bars - turns out, at first it was because he just wanted a yoga mat.

26 MIN2019 NOV 11
Comments
Yoga, Buddha and death row: An interview with 'Texas 7' prisoner Patrick Murphy

Someday, you'll be Prison Famous

Before he became a big-time honky tonk musician, Texas Joe Bailey did state jail time. He sat down with his guitar and podcast cohosts Keri Blakinger and Lance Lowry to talk about how he ended up in prison, how he turned it around afterward - and what it means to be "prison famous."

33 MIN2019 OCT 4
Comments
Someday, you'll be Prison Famous

Color, death and progressive prosecutors: Talking criminal justice with Emily Bazelon

Keri Blakinger talks with attorney and New York Times Magazine writer Emily Bazelon about progressive prosecutors, and what it means to be one. Can a district attorney who seeks death sentences still be considered progressive? Does progressive criminal justice mean that prosecutors' offices get smaller?

27 MIN2019 AUG 30
Comments
Color, death and progressive prosecutors: Talking criminal justice with Emily Bazelon

Two days till execution: Death row interview with Larry Swearingen

Larry Ray Swearingen, a Texas death row prisoner, is scheduled for execution on Aug. 21, 2019. It's the sixth time the state has tried to put him to death in the two decades since he was convicted of killing Melissa Trotter. So far, he's always managed to eke out a last-minute stay. Reporter Keri Blakinger visited him for an interview about what that feels like, and why he's there in the first place.

30 MIN2019 AUG 20
Comments
Two days till execution: Death row interview with Larry Swearingen

A 'sinking submarine': Two reporters take a deep dive into jail medical care

Co-host Keri Blakinger chats with CNN reporters Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken, who just finished investigating the troubled track record of a massive, privatized jail healthcare provider that's been sued for more than 70 inmate deaths.

26 MIN2019 JUL 24
Comments
A 'sinking submarine': Two reporters take a deep dive into jail medical care

Bill Savoie's Second Chance Story

Bill Savoie joins Keri Blakinger to talk about his life before he started practicing law. Once upon a time, the now-respected parole attorney did prison time - and on this episode of Behind the Walls, he talks for the first time about the journey from felon to lawyer.

32 MIN2019 JUL 19
Comments
Bill Savoie's Second Chance Story

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way From the Strip Club: A Texas Lege Wrap-up

With the Texas legislative session in the rearview mirror, cohosts Keri Blakinger and Lance Lowry sat down with Dallas Morning News reporter Lauren McGaughy to talk through the criminal justice wins and (mostly) losses this year. Some big bills - including those about prison A/C, decriminalizing pot, and closing kid prisons - failed to gain traction, and left advocates disappointed. But lawmakers finally killed the hated driver responsibility surcharge andlegalized kitty key chains.

31 MIN2019 JUN 6
Comments
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way From the Strip Club: A Texas Lege Wrap-up

Blood, buckshot and gunpowder: A year later, a school police officer remembers Santa Fe

One year after ten people - students and teachers - died in the Santa Fe school shooting, campus police officer John Barnes sat down with Keri Blakinger and fellow reporter St. John Barned-Smith to remember the deadly day, and how he survived.

30 MIN2019 MAY 18
Comments
Blood, buckshot and gunpowder: A year later, a school police officer remembers Santa Fe

Latest Episodes

Talking rats, records and reporting with Pam Colloff, aka 'the best damn writer in Texas'

In her latest year-long investigation, Texas crime writing legend Pamela Colloff delved into the shadowy world of the con artist and jailhouse snitch whose testimony put four men on death row. In this episode, listen in as reporter and podcast host Keri Blakinger asks the Austin-based ProPublica writer about the problems with informants, the difficulties in reporting on them, and answers to a slew of Twitter-user questions about the process.

36 MIN2019 DEC 24
Comments
Talking rats, records and reporting with Pam Colloff, aka 'the best damn writer in Texas'

Women, trauma, and the quest for a new jail in Austin

For the most part, prisons and jails are built for men. But as much as the carceral system fails them, experts say it might fail women even more. That's why some jails are shifting to a "gender-responsive" model, paying attention to women's needs and how they're different from men's. On this episode, host Keri Blakinger talks withMajor Sally Peña and Captain Maria Velasquez at the Travis County Jail in Austin, where officials are trying to build a new, gender-responsive women's jail.

25 MIN2019 DEC 9
Comments
Women, trauma, and the quest for a new jail in Austin

Yoga, Buddha and death row: An interview with 'Texas 7' prisoner Patrick Murphy

Patrick Murphy is a death row prisoner, one of the notorious Texas 7 - a group of men who escaped from a maximum security unit and ended up killing a cop. In this interview, he talks about his stay, his legal case, his regret and how he became a Buddhist behind bars - turns out, at first it was because he just wanted a yoga mat.

26 MIN2019 NOV 11
Comments
Yoga, Buddha and death row: An interview with 'Texas 7' prisoner Patrick Murphy

Someday, you'll be Prison Famous

Before he became a big-time honky tonk musician, Texas Joe Bailey did state jail time. He sat down with his guitar and podcast cohosts Keri Blakinger and Lance Lowry to talk about how he ended up in prison, how he turned it around afterward - and what it means to be "prison famous."

33 MIN2019 OCT 4
Comments
Someday, you'll be Prison Famous

Color, death and progressive prosecutors: Talking criminal justice with Emily Bazelon

Keri Blakinger talks with attorney and New York Times Magazine writer Emily Bazelon about progressive prosecutors, and what it means to be one. Can a district attorney who seeks death sentences still be considered progressive? Does progressive criminal justice mean that prosecutors' offices get smaller?

27 MIN2019 AUG 30
Comments
Color, death and progressive prosecutors: Talking criminal justice with Emily Bazelon

Two days till execution: Death row interview with Larry Swearingen

Larry Ray Swearingen, a Texas death row prisoner, is scheduled for execution on Aug. 21, 2019. It's the sixth time the state has tried to put him to death in the two decades since he was convicted of killing Melissa Trotter. So far, he's always managed to eke out a last-minute stay. Reporter Keri Blakinger visited him for an interview about what that feels like, and why he's there in the first place.

30 MIN2019 AUG 20
Comments
Two days till execution: Death row interview with Larry Swearingen

A 'sinking submarine': Two reporters take a deep dive into jail medical care

Co-host Keri Blakinger chats with CNN reporters Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken, who just finished investigating the troubled track record of a massive, privatized jail healthcare provider that's been sued for more than 70 inmate deaths.

26 MIN2019 JUL 24
Comments
A 'sinking submarine': Two reporters take a deep dive into jail medical care

Bill Savoie's Second Chance Story

Bill Savoie joins Keri Blakinger to talk about his life before he started practicing law. Once upon a time, the now-respected parole attorney did prison time - and on this episode of Behind the Walls, he talks for the first time about the journey from felon to lawyer.

32 MIN2019 JUL 19
Comments
Bill Savoie's Second Chance Story

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way From the Strip Club: A Texas Lege Wrap-up

With the Texas legislative session in the rearview mirror, cohosts Keri Blakinger and Lance Lowry sat down with Dallas Morning News reporter Lauren McGaughy to talk through the criminal justice wins and (mostly) losses this year. Some big bills - including those about prison A/C, decriminalizing pot, and closing kid prisons - failed to gain traction, and left advocates disappointed. But lawmakers finally killed the hated driver responsibility surcharge andlegalized kitty key chains.

31 MIN2019 JUN 6
Comments
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way From the Strip Club: A Texas Lege Wrap-up

Blood, buckshot and gunpowder: A year later, a school police officer remembers Santa Fe

One year after ten people - students and teachers - died in the Santa Fe school shooting, campus police officer John Barnes sat down with Keri Blakinger and fellow reporter St. John Barned-Smith to remember the deadly day, and how he survived.

30 MIN2019 MAY 18
Comments
Blood, buckshot and gunpowder: A year later, a school police officer remembers Santa Fe
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