They walk through prison gates with little more than a bus ticket and less than $100. After spending months or years counting down their sentences, they have days or hours to find food, housing, healthcare, and a job. WTTW’s FIRSTHAND: LIFE AFTER PRISON offers an intimate look at the challenges and opportunities facing people returning to society after spending time in prison, as they seek to restart their lives while carrying the stigma of a criminal record.
FIRSTHAND: Life After Prison is part of the award-winning FIRSTHAND multiplatform, multi-year initiative focusing on the firsthand perspectives of people facing critical issues in Chicago.
Community Engagement Partners
Illinois Humanities Envisioning Justice leverages the arts and humanities to envision alternatives to the enduring injustice of mass incarceration. This Illinois Humanities initiative works with communities and people impacted by mass incarceration to spark conversation and illuminate community-based strategies that address our racist and unjust criminal legal system.
Text Journalism Partners
Injustice Watch is a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism organization that conducts in-depth research exposing institutional failures that obstruct justice and equality. Injustice Watch strives to be a diverse and inclusive organization. Our team embraces professional growth, learning, and collaboration. Our goal is to listen to and center people impacted by institutional injustices and provide them with the perspectives, information, and resources to hold powerful people and oppressive systems accountable.
PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs is a national youth journalism program and public media initiative that trains teenagers across the country to produce stories that highlight the achievements, challenges, and reality of today’s youth. SRL creates transformative educational experiences through video journalism that inspire students to find their voice and engage in their communities.
WTTW News drives in-depth coverage and analysis of Chicago news and public affairs across WTTW’s television and digital platforms, and in the community, including wttw.com/news, Chicago Tonight, Week in Review, Black Voices, and Latino Voices. WTTW News is committed to providing trusted journalism, fact-based news, and authentic engagement that is inclusive and reflective of the diverse voices in the Chicago region.
Major support for FIRSTHAND was provided by
Ann and Rich Carr
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
Leo Krupa Trust
(The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of Leo Krupa Trust.)
Denny and Sandy Cummings
Marc and Jeanne Malnati Family Foundation
Alexandra and John Nichols
(as of February 20, 2023)
Digital and Marketing
Liz Markel, Tipping Point Photography
Communications and Social Media
SVP, Marketing & Digital
Vice President of Community Engagement
Senior Manager, Community Engagement
Community Engagement Specialist
Laura Wilson Fallsgraff
Directors of Photography
Allie n Steve Mullen
Text and Visual Journalism
Jonah Newman, Managing Editor, Injustice Watch
Grace Asiegbu, Reporter, Injustice Watch
Matt Masterton, WTTW News
Julian Thompson, PhD