AFTER LIFE | Episode 0 Season Trailer

Welcome to Season Two: AFTER LIFE
0. Season Trailer


Art by Mara J. Reynolds

Four years in the making, our 10-part audio documentary launches November 21, 2022. This entire season focuses on the story of Gilbert Bao. While serving a life sentence, Gilbert helped lead a group of incarcerated men who have revolutionized the way we approach rehabilitation in California prisons.

You may remember him from Season One, Episode Five: A Gray Winter’s Tale, where he shared his recipe for making his grandmother’s tamales while still in prison.  And his story about it for Voices of Monterey Bay.

Now on the other side of his life sentence—and so much more—Gilbert joins us as co-producer for this groundbreaking project. He recorded tape, conducted interviews, and helped shape our entire production—creating a truly unique, first-hand audio documentary series.

Through the lens of Gilbert’s experiences, After Life explores how our criminal justice system reshapes communities, and how formerly incarcerated people like Gilbert are taking it upon themselves to step up where the system has failed to help people on the road to a new life, After Life.

Audience and impact of this project

AFTER LIFE pushed Gray Area podcast’s total reach to nearly 12,000 listeners. Reaching far beyond its primary audience of formerly incarcerated people, our journalist colleagues and workshop participants say it has redefined the podcasting field and reframed their approach to engaging with subjects.

Following publication, we launched an ongoing series of events, including:

●  Training for journalists working with people who’ve experienced incarceration and other minoritized communities;

●  Direct, trauma-informed conversations between victims and perpetrators of violence;

●  Online discussion demonstrating how people who’ve been to prison can share their stories and reshape society.

Our online events drew hundreds of viewers, with ongoing engagement. We recently produced detailed transcripts to share cost-free with incarcerated people and others unable to hear the podcast and events.

In April, 300 incarcerated men at the state prison in Norco joined Gilbert, Julie and co-reporter George Sánchez for in-person workshops about trauma and the power of telling our stories. During these inspiring and powerful conversations, one participant said through tears, “[This] gives us the ability to reflect on the ripple effect of violence. I was a victim. I‘ve victimized people. That shit hurts.”

Former life prisoner Frank DeLeo commented: “I was a part of this in real life, but you took me on a whole ‘nother journey that was so engulfing, it felt completely new.”

These events are continuing through 2023. We welcome your participation.

— Julie Reynolds Martínez, Mara J. Reynolds and Gilbert Bao

You can listen to all the episodes and read show notes at Voices of Monterey Bay and at

Or subscribe (it’s free) wherever you listen to podcasts (we’re on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and YouTube as well as iTunesGoogle PodcastsAmazon Music and more.)

And please help us connect to new listeners! Re-listen to Season One and leave us a review on Apple Podcasts.

Follow us on social media:
@GrayAreaPodcast on Facebook and Instagram
@GrayAreaAudio on Twitter

More details plus all our previous episodes, show notes and newsletter signup are on our website:

Oh and hey — if you like Gray Area and AFTER LIFE, please be sure to rate or review it on Apple Podcasts. It helps us reach more people.

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About Julie Reynolds

Julie Reynolds is a freelance journalist who has reported for the Center for Investigative Reporting, The Nation, NPR, PBS, The Imprint, The NewsGuild and other outlets. She is a co-founder of Voices of Monterey Bay and associate editor at The Imprint.