Families of youth incarcerated at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility in Mississippi listen to testimony at a hearing about alleged inmate abuse. © Phoebe Ferguson/NPR

A couple of months ago colleagues and I discussed Inside San Quentin, Inmates Go To College, a story about the San Quentin Prison University Project, aired on NPR. Our discussion wasn’t about the content of the story as we’re all very familiar with that excellent education program. (I do encourage you to listen to the piece).

Rather we noted the sharp increase in the number of stories about prisons on NPR over the last 12 months.

I wanted to point it out for my own peace of mind. In several interviews recently I have bemoaned the lack of meaningful national media coverage of prisons and sentencing issues. I don’t want to mislead anyone and suggest that good analysis is entirely absent because that isn’t true. It’s just that NPR is doing the heavy lifting at the moment.

Stories in the past year have included: female entrepreneurs in an Oregon prison; Laura Sullivan’s two-parter on private prisons and immigration in Arizona (one and two); Buddhist meditation in an Alabama prison; youth incarceration in Mississippi, in two parts (one and two); and the sanctuary of prison libraries.

The difficulty of re-entry was at issue in the segment For Many Ex-Offenders, Poverty Follows Prison.

Not to mention Laura Sullivan‘s heroic journalism – in three parts – on the inequities of the bail bond system (one, two and three.)

This American Life has had at least two stories about the criminal justice system. One on a corrupt juvenile court in Walnut Grove in Mississippi and the other about a father/son adoption story behind prison walls.

There’s also the series Prison Diaries from a while ago.

Glad I got that off my chest.