The Official Barz Behind Bars (B³) Online Blog (B³OB)

The Ben Free Project, via its Barz Online blog, will create a bi-monthly publication of select carceral state resident creatives consisting of written/audio format works of monologue, poetry, spoken word, music, song, art, leisure interests, reporting, public interest pieces, investigative essays, fiction, creative nonfiction, commentary, interview, and essays and criticism. These will aim to platform multi-discipline carceral creators, writers, and journalists, according to the parameters of the existing National Magazine Awards, founded by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), known as the Ellies.

The lack of accessible publishing platforms for incarcerated creators to engage while in custody represents a systemic epidemic of idea sequestration.  This denies the lived experience, self-actualization, and creative capital of those whose voices are otherwise unheard, marginalized, and/or disenfranchised by a prevailing penological culture permitting less than 25 resident publications to exist inside prisons in the entire United States.

For all of the positive, literacy-affirming, culture-building work the Barz Behind Bars (B³) workshop founders are doing with the Freedom Libraries, they lack the capacity to utilize the basic media technologies required inside of prison walls to effect the change and progress we seek.  In spite of the way our external platform publishing exploits at least validate our collective literary competency, even the high-caliber roster of our Board and Advisory Board members has gotten us no closer to gaining Valley State Prison’s permission to develop a digital magazine platform outlet that residents can self-publish.  Barz Online will begin to alter that landscape, by publishing those creatives from that prison (a men’s facility), and from the nearby California Correctional Women’s Facility.

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