Human Powered

Real people. Real stories. Humanity unlocked. A podcast about the power of the humanities in Wisconsin prisons.

In the coming episodes, we are talking with people who have been impacted by the justice system. From a storytelling workshop at Oak Hill Correctional Facility, to a poetry workshop with people who were formerly incarcerated, to a conversation with writers and editors of prison newspapers, we are digging into the importance of the humanities as tools for searching for meaning and understanding. With our hosts Dasha Kelly Hamilton and Adam Carr, we will bring you remarkable stories of people inside and outside Wisconsin prisons who are using the humanities to overcome the dehumanization of incarceration.

“My body’s locked up. My mind is not locked up.”
                         -Robert Taliaferro

Listen to the Season 2 Trailer Now! 

                 New Episodes Coming Soon!

➞ In the first episode of our show, we are stepping out with the remarkable and singular Dasha Kelly Hamilton. Dasha wields words to make magic happen, whether on stage herself, in writing sessions like Prose and Cons, or while chatting with co-host and historian Adam Carr. We’ll drop into one of her workshops at Racine Correctional Institute to hear how power can be rooted in humanity and expressed through poetry. Dasha says that most of the people who meet her didn’t know what they were getting into, so get ready. This is going to be good!

➞ We all have a story worth sharing. In the second episode, we visit with some of the key players behind UW-Madison’s first credit-bearing course inside any state prison since 1917. We will learn what makes Odyssey Beyond Bars storytelling workshops so meaningful for the participants, and meet Mark Espanol, who shared his story at the English 101 graduation inside Oak Hill Correctional Facility.

➞ People inside U.S. prisons have been running their own newsrooms since 1800. Founded in 1887, the Prison Mirror is often considered the best prison newspaper in the United States. In the 1980s, Robert Taliaferro was a writer and editor for The Mirror, as it was called in those days. In this episode of Human Powered, we talk with Robert and Shannon Ross, a writer who started The Community in 2014 when he was in prison. The newsletter, which he still edits today, reaches half of Wisconsin’s prison population. With hosts Adam Carr and Dasha Kelly Hamilton, Robert and Shannon consider how important it is to center human stories of people who are incarcerated, and for all of us to hear about prisons from those who have an inside perspective. 

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Jimmy Gutierrez (he/him) is a journalist, storyteller and audio producer from Milwaukee. He’s currently working on filling information gaps in Milwaukee’s low-wealth neighborhoods with the help of Stanford’s JSK Fellowship. He’s helped launch, co-host and produce a number of different podcasts during his time at New Hampshire Public Radio.  

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Craig Eley is an audio producer and cultural historian whose work was been heard in radio shows, podcasts, documentaries, and museum installations. He previously worked for the radio show To the Best of Our Knowledge and has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa. He lives in Madison with his wife and son.



Jessica Becker works as the Director of Communication for Wisconsin Humanities. She has spent her 20 year career with Wisconsin Humanities creating and managing statewide programs that celebrate the state’s people and stories. She holds a Masters in Museum Education and lives in Madison with her husband and daughters.

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 Jen Rubin is the Executive Producer at Love Wisconsin. She co-produces the Moth StorySlam in Madison and co-hosts Inside Stories podcast. She teaches a Social Policy class at the University of Wisconsin School of Social Work and wrote the book, We Are Staying: Eighty Years in the Life of a Family, a Store, and a Neighborhood.



Jade Iseri-Ramos is an audio producer based out of Madison. She is also a reporter and producer with WORT 89.9 FM.