Stillwater Awards Stillwater Awards

Home Categories How to Enter Winners

2023 Winners

The inaugural awards were launched in 2024 and have just concluded. See the winners here, and watch a replay of the awards ceremony here.

The Stillwater Awards recognize excellence in prison journalism — one of the toughest places to practice the craft.

The Stillwater Awards are named after the Minnesota town where Stillwater State Prison was built. In 1887, the warden founded The Prison Mirror, the first newspaper written and managed exclusively by inmates. Today, there are dozens of prison publications across the country.

The Stillwater Awards are co-sponsored by SPJ and the Prison Journalism Project. Since 2020, PJP has trained incarcerated writers and published their stories. Because of that, PJP doesn’t participate in the judging of the Stillwater Awards.


Prison Publication of the Year
Any regularly distributed journalistic print publication inside, in circulation for two years or more.

New Prison Publication
Any regularly distributed journalistic print publication inside, in circulation for less than two years.

Prison Journalist of the Year
Incarcerated writer chosen from 3-5 submissions.

Most Impactful Journalism
Story or package that prompted a meaningful shift in policy or practice.

Best News
Stories or package that covers a single news event or issue.

Best Collaboration
Work between two or more incarcerated writers or between incarcerated writer(s) and writer(s) on the outside.

Best Feature
Human-interest or trend story, including profiles and Q&As

Best Op-Ed
An expression of a writer’s opinion or analysis on a news event or issue.

Best Illustration
Artwork that either accompanies a story or stands alone as a representation of a news event or issue.

How to Enter

The Stillwater Awards will open for entries in January 2025 and will cover any prison journalism published in 2024. Entries can be submitted by their authors or by outside parties on behalf of the authors.

There’s never a cost to enter.

Contact us

Contact Stillwater executive director Mike Anguille and SPJ liaison Michael Koretzky.