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How do I make contact with recent parolees for a radio piece?
January 30, 2011 5:21 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to interview recent parolees for an independent radio piece. I'm looking for smart, responsible ways to make contact with them or to invite anyone interested in participating to contact me.

The names of recent parolees are published where I live. Are there any creative ways of making contact with these folks in a way that's respectful/ethical? Of course I've considered craigslist and FB. I'm thinking the chances of getting a response from the first are small and the latter feels a strangely intrusive. Does it make sense to try attorneys or bailbonds professionals and leave my name and some details about the piece with them? Are there other ways of making myself and the project known to invite anyone interested to participate? This is the first story I've attempted where subjects may not appreciate being invited to tell their story. How would a reporter handle this? Thanks!
posted by brynnwood to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
 
In many urban areas there are non profit organizations that work with recently released/paroled individuals--start there?
posted by availablelight at 5:29 AM on January 30, 2011


What availablelight said, or if there isn't one I'd contact the department of corrections (or whatever they call them in your state) parole board itself. Or- assuming you're looking to minimize travel - through them, contact your nearest parole officer. He or she would (hopefully) know who is actually there.
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:21 AM on January 30, 2011


I was going to suggest the same thing that availablelight said. Anywhere you have large prisons, you will have non profits that work with just-released prisoners.
posted by Forktine at 6:30 AM on January 30, 2011


You'd need to go through the dept. of corrections media relations branch or the PR office for the local police if you want to talk to parole officers. I don't think bail bondsmen would be in the loop for parolees--they work before some one is convicted. In general, non-profits would probably be the most willing to work with you. You do run the risk of them cherry-picking the parolees to interview--people who aren't making progress by the standards of the organization would most likely not be made available to you.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:11 AM on January 30, 2011


You're looking for the non-profit organizations that do re-entry work in your community. Some are very service-oriented, just helping people get jobs, and some are more political and advocacy-oriented, like All of Us or None. I work with a number of groups of formerly-incarcerated people and in my experience they are happy to talk about the experience of being incarcerated and released and being on parole. That's not to say that everyone wants to talk about that, but the types of folks who gravitate to advocacy groups are far more likely to want to educate others about what that experience was like, and so welcome a chance to talk to you.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:09 PM on January 30, 2011


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