Stillwater Awards

Presented by SPJ Florida and the Prison Journalism Project 

SPJ Florida and the Prison Journalism Project, a national initiative that trains incarcerated writers to be journalists and publishes their stories, are proud to announce the Stillwater Awards, a national award to honor journalistic excellence in the incarcerated community.

The name of the SPJ-PJP award was inspired by The Prison Mirror, the first newspaper written and managed exclusively by incarcerated people in the United States, founded in 1887 at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater.

Unlike a traditional journalism contest, there’s no fee to enter the Stillwater Awards, and anyone can submit a qualified entry.

Michael Anguille, the Stillwater Awards executive director, explains it like this…

All too often, incarcerated citizens in this country are cast away and stripped of their voices. The Stillwater Awards will change that. In highlighting the contributions of the incarcerated population to the world of journalism, we will ensure that no voice is left behind or silenced – least of all, the many bright men and women behind bars.

Anguille is a professional journalist who served 8½ years in the Florida prison system. He’s currently applying to law school “in the hopes of ending mass incarceration in the United States.”

PJP CEO and Editor-in-Chief Yukari Kane says the Stillwater Awards coincide with the resurgence of journalism from inside prisons…

More prison journalists are sticking their necks out every day, working in severely restricted environments to shed light in some of the least accessible places in this country. Writers behind bars not only work with us but also publish articles in prison and general publications, personal blogs, and newsletters for both inside and outside audiences. We’re thrilled to celebrate their best work.

Anguille and Kane want to do more than celebrate the best in prison journalism. They want to reward the winners. All first-place winners in each category receive a free one-year SPJ membership.

Below are details on entering. If you have questions, please email us at


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rules to enter

  • Entries may be submitted by their authors or by outside parties on behalf of the authors.
  • Entries will be accepted from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. They can appear in any publication, including print and digital editions running inside or outside of prisons.
  • There’s NO FEE to enter. This is a free contest.
  • Submissions must have been published between Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2023.
  • No more than 2 entries per writer across all categories, except for Prison Journalist of the Year (which is 3-5 entries).
  • For the Prison Publication of the Year, please submit one issue. If possible, digital entries are preferred.
  • Deadline to enter is midnight, March 31, 2024.
  • Entries will be judged by professional journalists and journalism professors.
  • SPJ Florida and PJP will announce winners in early May 2024.

How to enter

Entries can be submitted by email or by postal mail, although digital entries are preferred.

To enter by mail, send author name and physical copy of the entry to this address…

SPJ-PJP Stillwater Awards
25 SE 2nd Ave Ste 550
PMB 1010
Miami, FL 33131

To enter by email, send author name and attachments to this address…