Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Traditions. We all have them. Some good and, well, some not so good. Think for a minute. When you were a kid, what were your holiday traditions? Do you still follow some of them today? Put up lights? Bake special cookies or visit relatives? What if the law makes it impossible to follow your traditions?

More than two million Americans will spend the holidays locked up in a jail or prison. In the Bay Area, volunteers spend a few hours inside San Quentin State Prison’s cell blocks singing holiday songs with the men. It’s an annual tradition.

What’s it like to spend years of your adult life in prison over the holidays?

From inside San Quentin State Prison, join Shadeed Wallace StepterRahsaan Thomas, and Emile DeWeaver as they share memories of holidays when they were free, and how, over the years, they have created new traditions, to celebrate the holidays behind prison walls.

Emile DeWeaver

Secretary of the San Quentin Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and reporter for Prison Renaissance, and a contributing opinion writer for San Jose Mercury News and Easy Street Magazine.

Chair of the San Quentin Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, a reporter with the San Quentin Prison Report, and a TEDX presenter.



Visit our website or listen to all 124 episodes on iTunes. And send us your thoughts on this episode to

Production Notes:
Inside San Quentin: Traditions — was produced by Shadeed Wallace-Stepter, Rashaan Thomas and Emile DeWeaver.  Life of the Law’s Senior Producer is Tony Gannon.
The song  ‘Keep It On The Real‘ (Instrumental) by 3X Krazy is used in the introduction and end credits and is referenced by Emile DeWeaver.
Our Post Production Editors are Kirsten Jusewicz-Haidle and Rachael Cain. Music in this episode was recorded by Life of the Law’s Executive Producer, Nancy Mullane. Rob Speight was our engineer at the studios of KQED in San Francisco.
This episode of Life of the Law was funded in part by donations from our listeners, and by grants from the Law and Society Association, and the National Science Foundation.
© Copyright 2017 Life of the Law. All rights reserved.
Life of the Law © 2018