U-M student-launched podcast "While We Were Away" tells stories of former prisoners in Ann Arbor

Podcast helps those who were formerly incarcerated broadcast their own stories

By Sarah M. Parlette - Associated Producer

From left to right: Zoey Horowitz, Hannah French (at table) and Megan Diebboll (back) interview storyteller Asia for an episode of "While We Were Away." Photo | Fernanda Pires, University of Michigan News

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A group of U-M students are using their podcast to let formerly incarcerated community members tell their own stories. Called “While We Were Away,” the podcast shows that these community members are more than their incarceration experience.

The first season will have eight stories, each about half an hour long, in which a group of former prisoners describe their experiences living behind bars and how this affected them mentally, emotionally, financially, physically and even spiritually.

Hosted by Hannah French and Megan Diebboll, who are supported by a team of fellow students including Zoey Horowitz, the podcast is the result of U-M alumni Stina Perkins and Kathryn Condon as well as French, blending their belief in the Prison Creative Arts Project with the hopes of helping people who were formerly incarcerated stay out of jail.

Some of the narrators have been out of prison for more than 20 years, while some were released last year. They range from poets and consultants to program directors and managers. Each of their stories is different -- some discuss dealing with new technology, getting jobs, helping others re-enter society, and others involve the power of learning and the arts on those who are incarcerated.  

The While We Were Away logo was inspired by one of the podcast storytellers. Credit | Olivia Gardella

To listen to the first four episodes of the podcast and to read about each of the storytellers and their journeys, head over to the podcast website which also has resources for those who are re-entering or transitioning. 

Like what you're reading? Sign up for our email newsletter here!

All About Ann Arbor is powered by ClickOnDetroit/WDIV