The fight to be heard not stereotyped

The fight to be heard not stereotyped, and launching paid subscriptions

Thanks for being with The Des in our first few months. We are switching to paid subscriptions, but as a founding member, we would like to extend to you a 90 day free subscription: click here.

It is important to us that The Des remains accessible to everyone. If a subscription is not in your budget, we still want you here. If it is, we would love the support. The most important thing to us is that you keep reading The Des. With subscriptions, you will receive exclusive content from behind the scenes of articles and (mostly) weekly stories exploring the justice world.

Our mission is to connect people involved in criminal justice across the nation and those new to it. As part of the subscription, you can now comment on the week’s posts. We are excited to have you with us in this next step. If you do not reach out or subscribe, you will no longer receive the full newsletter. Thank you for your support in advance.

(Okay now to the reason you’re here, a special edition featuring a LinkUp Magazine excerpt.)

Delonte Wilkins writes about his experience with the journalist Aaron Wiener who reported on gentrification:

“During the interviews, I shared so much detail with Wiener on my life experiences with the violence of gentrification, and even my experiences with the legal system and family struggles. I eloquently broke down the system and explained how gentrification developed.

I broke [gentrification] down to Wiener, and also explained to him my experiences with the criminal justice system and being arrested for marijuana multiple times. I found it funny that in his article he failed to mention that though marijuana was illegal at the time, it is now legal. […] He decides to leave the reader guessing by only saying “drug possession”.

I could go on and on about how Wiener, in this article, erased all the violence that my community faced for the new white colonizers. Or about how he erased my strength and courage in fighting back and reduced me to some sort of criminal beggar whose only saving grace was a nonprofit. He fails to mention my accomplishments.

Articles like the one Wiener wrote can be described as slightly informative and vaguely thought-provoking. Yet, the Washington Post and all major media. even while having opportunities to tell unique and accurate stories, choose to perpetuate the same narrative over and over: poor, drugs, criminal, social services, Section 8 housing, etc.

So while I'm fine with Wiener and the Washington post pointing out my struggle, prison sentence, drab housing, bedbugs, stress and anxiety. When it comes to the fight against mass incarceration, displacement, and gentrification, all I ask is this, Storytellers: Don't forget to mention. I gave it all I had to give.

LinkUp Magazine is a prisoner-centered platform to elevate the voices and political agenda of the most oppressed. Our aim is to build and maintain a community focused dialogue, and provide accurate news and information to our subscribers.” (Thank you to the team for letting us repost this story.)

Tae (Delonte) is writing about this story which published in 2018. To see his full article from the Winter 2020 edition visit LinkUp to get the magazine. See our past issue on how journalists can get it right better, The Des 1.4.


Let’s Catch Up

Caught in the act: Kansas ex-corrections secretary fined for taking private prison job with CoreCivic. [Leaven Worth Times]

An unlikely ally: A city’s chief prosecutor has joined a man in his fight for innocence after being sentenced for life in 1995. [The Intercept]

Looking for a handout: Alabama’s prosecutors need a bailout from a drop in court fees and fines, one attorney thinks they shouldn’t get it. [Filter Magazine]

For inside: News Inside dropped its fourth issue. Download the PDF here. [The Marshall Project]

No one knows: “Private Prison Company's Special Operations Unit Pepper Sprayed Immigrant Detainees. They Joked About it Online.” [WNYC]

Testing: When they do do it, almost everyone has it. Almost an entire Louisiana dorm tested positive for COVID-19. [The Daily Advertiser]


Long read

COVID-19 isn’t stopping gun violence. Community outreach workers are still on the streets fighting the conflict. It’s a job that can’t be done remotely. Why not use them for more? [The Trace]

Since interruption workers have already built these relationships in chronically ignored communities, he asked, shouldn’t cities rely on them for more than violence prevention? Couldn’t they have been dispatched with coronavirus testing kits? Shouldn’t they be trained to provide mental health resources, or job training, or substance abuse services? To help more than just the small sliver of the population most at risk of dying by gunfire?


COVID-19 resources: State Policy ChangesNewsBureau of Prisons updatesState court changes.

We want to hear from you about how COVID-19 is impacting you and the people connected to you. What is not being talked about? What story do you have that needs to be heard? Who do you want answers or explanations from? Please reach out to lj@dawsons.us.



The Des drops into your inbox weekly with a collection of small and digestible snippets concerning the criminal justice system. It promises to be humanizing, spunky, and educational. Our name: The Des is short for Desmoterion or “place of chains”, used to describe prisons in ancient Athens. We like the idea of the chains because incarceration expands far beyond bars, connecting all of parts of this country. We are here to cover it all.