Twenty-one years ago, at the age of 19, Greg Eskridge was sentenced to 65 years-to-life plus two life terms in prison. Greg’s mom, Patricia Eskridge, was in the courtroom that day to hear the judge announce what, in many ways, would be her future.
He was 19 when this happened. He and a bunch of friends went to a pizza place one night and the guys thought Greg and his friends were setting off car alarms, and there was a fight and one of the guys ended up being shot. And once the person heard the shot, everyone kind of dispersed, and ran.
– Patricia Eskridge
Prison is a walled off, secret world, where inmates and officers live a sort of altered reality. For the past 10 years Life of the Law’s Executive Producer, Nancy Mullane, has been reporting on the people inside San Quentin State Prison in Northern California and over those years, some of the men she’s been reporting on have themselves become journalists — writing print stories for the San Quentin News and producing audio stories for the San Quentin Prison Report, stories told by reporters from the unique perspective of life inside prison looking out, rather than from the perspective of free journalists outside looking in.
One day after a meeting of the Society of Professional Journalists San Quentin, reporter Greg Eskridge mentioned he was going to miss the next Sunday meeting. He said his mom was coming to San Quentin for a visit. How long had he been in prison, Mullane asked? More than 21 years. He said he was sent to prison at the age of 19 after being convicted of murder, attempted murder, and assault with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to 65 years-to-life and two life terms.
What’s it like to be a teenager sent to prison for what may be forever, and what’s it like to be his mom?
Our story is Mother and Son.
Mother and Son was reported by Nancy Mullane and edited and produced by our Senior Producer, Tony Gannon with assistance from Ian Coss.
Our Post Production Editors are Kirsten Jusewicz-Haidle and Rachael Cain.
Our engineer was Howard Gelman of KQED Radio in San Francisco. Music in this episode was composed and produced by Ian Coss. Special thanks to Greg Eskridge, Patricia Eskridge, and the San Quentin Prison Report.
This episode of Life of the Law was funded in part by grants from the Open Society Foundations, the Law and Society Association, and the National Science Foundation.
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