The Wall: Behind and Beyond podcast

Phillip-Alvin-Jones-1, <strong>The Wall: Behind and Beyond podcast</strong>, Abolition Now!
Phillip Alvin Jones

by Erica Youngblood

32 years of incarceration: incarcerated since 19 years old and now 51 years of age. Let that sentence sink in. 

I was first introduced to Phillip Alvin Jones three years ago after coming across his petition on pleading for a second chance. Quickly after reading his story, I realized he had never been given a first chance. I reached out to Phillip to see how I could help, and we became fast friends. 

As a family nurse practitioner, I am no stranger to advocacy, though being an advocate for someone under the strain of the criminal justice system came with its own challenges. For instance, the cost to even communicate with Phillip is astronomical. Emailing him through the predatory communications company JPay is not free, sending photos is not free, phone calls are very expensive – all impediments for loved ones to keep in contact. 

Phillip is a native son of Baltimore who has been away from his community, I repeat, for 32 years. One of his career goals has been to create a podcast to give people who are incarcerated a voice, plus lend an ear to those who have reentered society so that they too could share their successes and challenges. Phillip also wants to include stakeholders who were tired of the repeated same discussions and were hungry for action that would lead to true change.

The Wall: Behind and Beyond was soon born. With the help of supporters, Phillip created an amazing podcast that produces thought-provoking content weekly. As communications director and one of the podcast producers, I assist in scheduling the guests and connecting them with Phillip as well as editing the podcast. The Wall: Behind and Beyond is available on all podcasts platforms plus YouTube

Started in July 2021 on YouTube, it has amassed over 5,200 views. Not only do we have people who listen nationally, we have international listeners from Romania, Morocco, the United Kingdom, Germany and beyond. This podcast has had well known guests such as Dr. Stanley Andrisse, world renowned endocrinologist who is formerly incarcerated and was told by a prosecutor that he had no hope for change, and John King, President Obama’s former secretary of education, discussing what second chances look like and how do we move past discussion to action. 

The predatory communications company JPay is not free, sending photos is not free, phone calls are very expensive – all impediments for loved ones to keep in contact. 

We have listeners of all ages, including 16-year-old Landon from Alaska who says: “Phillip’s podcast offers the same problem through a different lens. For me, hearing the issues within the prison system and the recovery of formerly incarcerated individuals from Phillip himself provided a powerful shift of perspective that allowed me to understand what it can really be like for people in those situations. I also appreciate the view offered by the guest speakers; they made it feel like every episode had a new and unique outlook to bring to the table.”

Makiya Owens, who is studying criminal justice at Sam Houston State University in Texas and met Phillip when he gave a lecture (virtually) to her criminology class, also reached out to Phillip to be a part of his support group. She is an avid listener of the podcast and had this to say:

“The Wall: Behind and Beyond is a podcast that has truly helped and inspired me to understand what steps we need to take next to fix our criminal justice system. As a student studying criminal justice, it’s easy to get discouraged about the progress made for those incarcerated. However, individuals like Phillip and podcasts such as The Wall bring hope back into the picture and allows us to change our frame of thinking to one of proactive solutions, not reactive ones. Each episode pushes new conversations that we absolutely need for progression as a society. Understanding the hardship of those incarcerated and hearing the stories they have to share is just the first step in supporting the fight for reformative justice.”

Some words from former prisoner and Bay View contributor Jones-Bey

The Wall does an incredible job of bringing to light not only the horrors of the in-justice system, but also the inspirational success stories of the formerly incarcerated. The Wall challenges us to get involved with the process – to change laws, to fight for reformative justice, and to continue to support those formerly incarcerated persons after their return to greater society where they can help bring about a paradigm shift and change the narrative from one of punishment to one of prevention.

Every election cycle and in between, both Democrats and Republicans continue to spew their rhetoric about being “tough on crime,” and they both continue to support measures that throw men and women away for decades with no possibility of obtaining these “second chances” they claim to support. The Wall: Behind and Beyond is only a fraction of Phillip’s dreams as he has a nonprofit as well, Inside Outside Consults, Inc. Yet, still confined, he is a true testament to what is possible if only given a chance.

Why should you listen to this podcast? Because, according to the World Population Review, over 2.1 million people are incarcerated in this country. They are mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, cousins and grandparents – all who deserve to have their story told and their humanity highlighted. This podcast does just that. 

For more information about Phillip and his work on behalf of incarcerated people click here. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can support Phillip you can reach out to him directly via Look for Alvin Jones, 881507, Washington Department of Corrections. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel and share!

Erica Youngblood is an SF resident and proud abolitionist. Reach her at