Support Russell Wardlow
Also known as #78756, Russell Wardlow is a father, poet, leader, thinker, activist and resident at Omaha Correctional Center, where he composes all his work. His poignant and insightful prose speaks to the destructive nature of the prison system and the healing power of artistic expression.
Prose of a Con, a project started by Wardlow in 2017, tells his story as an artist trapped in the prison system. As the other half of Prose, Katie Andrews uploads all of Wardlow’s “floetry” to the project’s website and Instagram.
In 2019, Give a Beat partnered with DanceGruv radio for a six part radio series with each episode showcasing Wardlow’s prose and poetry read aloud by DJs across the electronic music community. Briddy, Blackliquid, DJ E-Clyps, Eli Goldstein (Soul Clap), Mr. V, Myxzlplix, Nickodemus, Oscar P, Pontchartrain, and Stacey Hotwaxx Hale participated in the project. Both Wardlow and Andrews appear on the Prose of a Con radio series to speak about the challenges and rewards of fostering creative freedom when physical freedom remains out of reach.
The goal of this collaboration is to humanize and change the narrative around those who have been most affected by our system of mass incarceration. The challenge is to undo decades of labeling incarcerated individuals with stigmatizing words which classify people as lesser - allowing for harsh sentencing laws, the expansion of our prison system, and high recidivism rates - making it very difficult for those reentering society to truly get a second chance in life. Russel’s moniker Prose of a Con and his use of his #78756 in his branding is a play on this very concept of how words are extremely powerful and ultimately can shape policy but they should not define us.
“We have to stop long enough to see the art within ourselves. Prose of a Con is seeing, believing and evolving a good out of a bad, because we are all capable of not only change, but evolving and reaching our potential." —Russell Wardlow
Please check out Russell Wardlow's work on his new website proseofacon.com
If you are moved by Russell's "floetry" and want to support the Prose of a Con project and his re-entry upon release, please donate today. It all makes a big difference!
Today, there are 70 million people that were swept into the criminal justice system and face incredible barriers after their release - 40,000 legal restrictions to getting their lives back after they have served their time. In order to open up pathways, we've got to change perceptions of incarcerated people, humanize, and remove stigma in order to reduce recidivism. This collaboration intends to do this.
"I want to give a voice to those that struggle to voice and identify their pain, while helping them rise from its depths. To those that feel judged, scorned and ashamed by their worst moments, and help them realize it’s just a moment regardless how few or many. I hope to open people’s eyes to prison to keep them from coming or coming back.” — Russell Wardlow