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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

New York Prisons and Jails: Historical Research: Prison Newspapers - throughout the U.S.

A guide to historical to current resources on prisons and jails in New York City and New York State. By Ellen Belcher

Finding Prison Newspapers

Prisoner Newspapers and Periodicals in Lloyd Sealy Library by Ellen Belcher

This is a preliminary incomplete list of titles --check OneSearch for detailed holdings.

A preliminary discussion about subject headings: Try using the subject heading Prison Periodicals for serials generated by prisoners. For periodicals by and about prisons and corrections try using the subject heading. Prisons – Periodicals. There are also many administrative annual reports of prisons and organizations by region, state and countries which are also considered serials. There’s overlap with all of these subject headings.

For a large list of Prison newspapers, most of which are not held by our Library, please see also this list by K. Woltz.

List of Prison Newspapers at John Jay Library

In the Open Stacks (Periodicals and Microfilm cabinets)

Angolite. Angola, LA, Louisiana State Penitentiary Periodicals - HV8301 .A54 Holdings 1978-2006 (incomplete)

Danville vanguard. Danville, IL : Danville Correctional Center  Periodicals - HV8301 .D3  Holding 1986-1991 (incomplete)

The Freeworld times. Minneapolis, Minn. : Murton Foundation for Criminal Justice,  Periodicals - HV 7231 .F74 Holdings: 1972-1974 (incomplete)

Huron Valley monitor. Ypsilanti, Mich. : Huron Valley Men's Facility, Periodicals - HV9475.M52 H9 Holdings 1987 (incomplete)

Joint endeavor. Huntsville, TX: Published and edited at the Huntsville Unit by inmates of the Texas Dept. of Corrections,           Periodicals HV7231 .J5 -  Holdings 1979-1985 (incomplete)

The Lino ledger Lino Lakes, MN : The Facility, 1992-  Periodicals - HV9475 .M62 L56 Holdings 1992-2007 (incomplete)

Menard Time Menard, Ill. : Illinois State Penitentiary Microfilm Cabinets - HV9475.I32 M4 Holdings: 1963-1990 Periodicals - HV9475 .I32 M4 Holdings 1985-1991 (incomplete)

The Monitor Ypsilanti, Mich.: Huron Valley Men's Facility,. Periodicals - HV9475.M52 H9 - Holdings 1987-1993 (incomplete)

A new perspective. Stillwater, MN : Minnesota Correctional Facility, Oak Park Heights, Periodicals - HV9475 .M62 O2 - Holdings 1997-2008 (incomplete)

The Penal digest international. Iowa City : Phase IV, <1971-1972> Periodicals - HV 7231 .P46 - Holdings: 1972 (incomplete)

Perspective Stillwater, MN : The Facility. Periodicals - HV9475 .M62 O2 - Holdings: 1987-1996 (incomplete)

Prison mirror Stillwater, Minn. :Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater Microfilm Cabinets - HV7231 .P82 - Holdings: 1993-2003 Periodicals - HV7231 .P82 - Holdings: 2003-present

Prisoners' digest international. Iowa City : National Prison Center. Periodicals - HV 7231 .P46 - Holdings: 1972-1973 (incomplete)

Question Mark  “A journal of prison opinion” Norfolk, MA: Massachusetts Correctional Institution, Norfolk. Periodicals - HV9475.M42 N676 - Holdings: 1982-1989 (incomplete)

San Quentin news. Tamal, Calif. : San Quentin. Periodicals - HV9475 .C3 S72 - Holdings 1979-1981 (incomplete)

Spectator, Jackson, Mich., published by the inmates of the State Prison of Southern Michigan Jackson Periodicals - HV9475 .M52 S688 [oversized] Microfilm Cabinets - HV9475 .M52 S688 - Holdings 1975 -91 (incomplete)

Soledad star. Soledad, Cal. : Soledad Correctional Training Facility.  Periodicals - HV 8301 .S6 - Holdings 1988-1992 (incomplete)

Star-bulletin.  Ossining, N.Y. : Sing Sing Prison. Special Collections - HV 9481 .O8 S4 Holdings 1917-1918 (incomplete) additional un-cataloged issues in the Lawes collection

The summary.  Elmira, N.Y. :State Reformatory  Holdings: 1985-1986 (incomplete)

TeleGraham. Hillsboro, IL : John A. Graham Correctional Center,  Periodicals - HV 8301 .T4 - Holdings: 1987-1996 (incomplete)

Un-cataloged in the Special Collections Room

Gary McGivern Collection:

The Open Gate/Puerto Aberto Greenhaven, NY: Greenhaven Correctional Facility Various issues

Prison Newspapers Collection in Special Collections Room:

Copy.   Colorado Springs, CO (June 1979)

The Echo. Texas Dept of Corrections, Huntsville, TX (March-April 1980)

FYSK: Facts You Should Know. Virginia Dept. of Corrections (March 1975)

Folsom Observer.  Folsom State Prison, CA. (Feb 1980)

G.S.P. News. Georgia State Penitentiary (Fall/Winter 1995)

Jefftown Journal. Missouri State Penitentiary (1950s-80s on 2 reels microfilm)

The Insider.  C. Paul Phelps Correctional Center, DeQuincy, LA (1995?)

La Roca. Arizona State Prison, Florence, AZ (Feb/Mar 1980) Note: Arizona State Library has digitized most issues of La Roca

The Menard Time. Menard, IL (Feb, April, May 1980)

Riker’s Review. (April, May 1980)

Santa Fe Prison News.  (May/June 1982, Feb. 1983, Feb 1984)

Soledad Star News.  (Various issues, 1968, 1972, 1974, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1988)

Straight Low.  Dixon Correctional Institute, LA (March 1996)

Vacavalley Star.  California Medical Facility (Various issues: 1979, 1980, 1982)

Newspapers on/about prisons/ers

Critical Resistance (2005-present) The Abolitionist.

Fortune Society (1968-present) Fortune News Periodicals - HV7231 .F7 [additional copies held in the Records of the Fortune Society, Special Collections Room] Recent issues also available on the Fortune Society website. 


Prison Legal News is published by the Human Rights Defense Center see also the Prison Legal News Twitter- Periodicals - KF9731 .A15 P68 also available electronically to JJay users.

Prisoner News - News about Prisons and Political Prisoners To see the collection of prior postings to the list, visit PPnews Archives.

The Freedom Archives- Prisons Collection and Prison Newspapers Collection The Freedom Archives contains over 10,000 hours of audio and video tapes which date from the late-1960s to the mid-90s and chronicle the progressive history of the Bay Area, the United States, and international movements.

Books/Articles on Prison Newspapers

Baird, Russell N. 1967.  The penal press. Evanston Ill.: Northwestern University Press, Stacks - PN4888.P75 B3

Churcher, Kalen M.A.,  August 2006 You have the right to remain silent or you may choose to put your words in print: The Rikers  Review and the prison press as advocacy journalism. Conference paper, Pennsylvania State University. Download from:;zztKQw;20061023063708-0400

Hadeler, David A.: 
1977    A critical examination of The echo, prison publication of the Texas Department of Corrections. Thesis (M.J.)--North Texas State University. Stacks - PN4897 .T44 H3 1977a

Morris, James McGrath, 1998.    Jailhouse journalism : the fourth estate behind bars.  Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. Stacks - PN 4888 .P75 M67 1998

Novek, Eleanor 2005    “The Devil’s Bargain Censorship, Identity and the Promise of Empowerment in a Prison Newspaper,” Journalism, 6

Ruthven, Diana. 1994  Prison magazines: survey and guide. London, Eng: Prison Reform Trust, Stacks - PN4888 .P75 R87 1994

Sullivan, Larry E.,  1990.   The Prison Reform Movement: Forlorn Hope. Boston: Twayne Publishers. Stacks - HV 9469 .S86

Digitally available Prison/er Newspapers, Zines ect.

American Prison Newspapers, 1800s-present: Voices from the Inside - by Reveal Digital/JSTOR

No More Cages Brooklyn: Women Free Women

In the Belly Illinois & New York:True Leap Press

Tenacious: Art and Writing from Women in Prison. edited by V. Law

Collections of Prisoner Newspapers in other Repositories

Wisconsin Historical Society  - finding aid to Prisoner Newspapers Collection

It is recommended that researchers check for holdings of Prison Newspapers in individual State Libraries & Archives. For example, Arizona State Library holds several titles and has digitized most issues of La Roca and one issue of El Saguaro as part of their Arizona Memory Project.

Library of Congress - Newspaper Holdings include prisoner newspapers