There's really no shortage of podcasts about crime and criminal justice, and as Orange Is The New Black debuts its sixth season, fans will be nursing a renewed interest in the system that's imprisoned some of Litchfield's finest. The newest batch of OITNB episodes focuses heavily on guard mistreatment, as past seasons have, but also details the struggles of actual cases, trials, life after prison, and the relationships between the accused and their lawyers. Below are some of the best criminal justice podcasts you can listen to that'll give you even more context to the real-life journeys that inspire some of OITNB's content, because once there's a long time to wait for another season of the Netflix show, most likely.
True crime podcasts as a whole can be pretty habit forming, but many of the more popular ones focus solely on grisly crimes and murder mysteries, not inmates, trials, or the criminal justice system as an overarching entity that's actually made up of plenty of people who aren't perpetrators of violent crimes, or who are sometimes wrongly accused.
The following podcasts give a closer look at the system as a whole — whether that means investigating faulty trials and lackluster attorneys, questioning the problems inherently ingrained in some of laws an legal processes, and celebrating those who successfully make it out of the system and have gone on to live their best lives and help others.
The Ear Hustle podcast takes real stories and accounts from real prison inmates and produces them into episodes hovering around 35 minutes long, giving people a glimpse into what real life is like behind bars, straight from the source. There are two seasons out now, and a third is dropping in September.
This podcast adapts essays from inmates in a maximum security prison near Chicago, giving a firsthand account of the events that shape their daily lives, from the severe to the mundane. Each episode is voiced by a Chicago actor, and the project was spearheaded by journalist Alex Kotlowitz.
Truth & Justice
Decarcerated focuses on the success stories of people who have moved on from incarceration to lead fulfilling lives, avoiding any potential backslide into whatever lead them to prison in the first place. There are 35 episodes available to listen to, with more likely to come.
Joshua Hoe, a formerly incarcerated criminal justice advocate, hosts this podcast that has the goal of "radically re-imagining America’s criminal justice system," according to its site. Episodes dive deep into everything from career options for former inmates, juvenile sentencing, and the issues with mandatory minimum sentences.
Journalists, activists and attorneys are constantly churning out new content and telling new stories about the criminal justice system, so these podcasts are just a start for someone hoping to learn more about this realm. After seeing what goes down in some of OITNB's Season 6 storylines go, you'll definitely want to start listening.