From Southern California, public radio for your eyes.

Getting Inside San Quentin

San Quentin is California's oldest state prison and home to the entire state's Death Row population, the largest in the country.

The sprawling prison sits on 275 acres on a point across the bay from Oakland. It has its own zip code. It has its own newspaper. And it has its own baseball team.

Photographer Emilano Granado took in a game at the prison on assignment. Getting inside was far easier than he expected, Granado said. He basically just had to show up.

His photos depict the quotidian aspects of prison life in a place where inmates suit up and play nine innings on a beautiful day by the San Rafael Bay.

It was opening day in the prison team's season, and the players were curious about Granado's medium-format camera.

"I barely even approached people. They were approaching me," Granado said. "That experience, it kind of changed me a little bit. You hear all the preconceptions about things in the prison system.

"Before it felt like, I'm good, inmates are bad. It shifted to become this moral sliding scale."

Upon his return to New York, Granado started volunteering at the Riker's Island facility there.

Getting in to San Quentin is not always a walk in the ball park. Radio journalist Nancy Mullane wanted badly to get on to Death Row to report for her amazing podcast, The Life of the Law, which you should definitely check out.

No one from the press goes inside Death Row. Mullane had been asking for five years, and each time the answer was a firm, "No."

In 2012, she went all the way to Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Matt Cate. He said, "Yes."

Mullane became the first journalist in eight years to visit San Quentin's inner sanctum. You'll have to listen to the story to find out what she saw.

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