In February of 2012, Jamal Faison was a 20-year-old college sophomore home on school break in New York City when he, along with a group of friends, was arrested for attempting to steal mobile devices from a subway rider. Jamal maintains he wasn’t involved in the robbery.
Following the arrest, Jamal spent eight months on Rikers Island. While there, his uncle, Born Blackwell, visited almost weekly. Four years later, Jamal and Born talked about the night he was released from jail.
Jamal and Born’s conversation was recorded through the StoryCorps Justice Project, which preserves and amplifies the stories of people who have been directly impacted by mass incarceration.
The Justice Project is made possible, in part, with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge, #RethinkJails and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation.
Directed by: Richard O'Connor
Executive Producer: Dave Isay
Producer: Rachel Hartman
Audio Produced by: John White with Michael Garofalo
Supervising Sound Recordist: John White
Animation by: Ace & Son Moving Picture Co., LLC
Design: Keenon Ferrell
Animators: Taisiya Zaretskaya & Pilar Newton
Production Assistant: Milan Chambard
Original Music: Joshua Abrams
Music Performed by: Joshua Abrams, Hamid Drake, Marquis Hill, Emmett Kelly & Adam Thornburg
Music Mixed by: Joshua Abrams & Neil Strauch
Special Thanks: Jamal Faison & Born Blackwell
In Partnership with
American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress
Funding Provided by
Robert Sterling Clark Foundation