Some of our favorite articles and interviews
"Khalifa, now 29 and serving a sentence of 25 years to life, is one of hundreds of people convicted in California under a legal doctrine known as the felony murder rule, which holds that anyone involved in certain kinds of serious felonies that result in death is as liable as the actual killer.
“I knew I didn’t kill anyone,” Khalifa said. “I felt and kind of knew that I was going to spend the rest of my life in prison. It didn’t seem like there was any room to be a human being again. My life was over.”
"It is not easy to lift up some of the most excoriated people in the country, prisoners." Jason Hernandez shares how President Obama's use of clemency to address the injustice brought on by drug-war practices gave him and others a second chance at life."
"Hernandez was serving a life sentence for selling crack cocaine. He received his sentence before The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 was enacted and brought the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine down to 18 to 1."
“We call it the correction system,”[Governor] Cuomo said. “I think the situation is corrected as it is ever going to be, unless you can bring a person back to life.”
"Mr. Cuomo’s grants also point to an uncomfortable truth about criminal justice reform efforts: The issue of violent crime is too often left out of the debate.”
"Wallace's case, like many of the others confronting Ryan, offers an inside look into the usually hidden world of prison discipline and how the state's correctional system treats mentally ill inmates."
"The judge wrote that he found Wallace's discipline record "troubling at first blush" but attributed much of it to inadequate mental-health treatment behind bars and Wallace's fear of others in prison because of his small stature."
""He's certainly served his punishment," Romano said. "He tried to steal a car radio. Should he be punished? Absolutely. But a life term … is fundamentally unfair.""
Dec 18, 2015, "President Obama ended a tumultuous year in the nation’s capital by commuting the sentences of 95 federal prisoners and granting two pardons".
"The move came as the president is pressing for an overhaul of criminal justice laws to reverse decades of steep penalties that have packed the nation’s prisons and jails, disproportionately affecting African-American and Hispanic men."
"a new program developed at the law school to support the White House’s criminal justice efforts by providing reentry assistance to federal prisoners who receive executive clemency from President Obama."
“Ride Home” prisoner reentry program to provide its unique services to prisoners released by the president. Started in 2013, the Ride Home program meets prisoners at the prison gates, assists them with basic needs during their immediate transition out of prison, and drives the released prisoners to a pre-approved halfway house.
"Washington’s Clemency Board has recommended the release of another three strikes offender serving life without parole."
"Orlando Ames was 27 in 1994 when he committed his third-strike crime. It was a second-degree assault that involved running after and grabbing hold of his victim while a juvenile accomplice stole items from the victim’s pockets."
"Prior to three-strikes, Ames would have faced about two years in prison. "He has paid a heavy price, he has served a 19-year sentence, people who commit murder serve less than that in our state," Satterberg said."
"New York state is partnering with a coalition of national legal organizations in a move to expand pro bono resources for state prisoners seeking pardons or commutations"
"The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Foundation for Criminal Justice, Families Against Mandatory Minimums and other organizations will help expand the efforts of a clemency initiative begun by Cuomo in 2015. Under that program, private lawyers have been providing free legal assistance to those in prison and those with criminal records to ensure that they make their best case for clemency to the governor."
“Karianne Jackson was working for the North Dakota prison system in 2015 when a trip to Norway changed her life. There, she saw a prison with no bars and no uniformed guards. Jackson started thinking: What if I could make the US prison system a bit more like that?”
“Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor started the podcast Ear Hustle when Woods was a prisoner in San Quentin. Woods' sentence was recently commuted, but the two continue to tell stories of life behind bars.”
“Oprah sits down with Bryan Stevenson, the law professor, civil rights attorney and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, who shares why he has dedicated his life to giving a voice to incarcerated men and women. Bryan discusses his New York Times best-selling book, "Just Mercy," his views on the death penalty, and the transformative power of mercy and forgiveness.”
“Anthony Ray Hinton's memoir, "The Sun Does Shine," the latest selection for Oprah's Book Club, chronicles his ability to endure, survive and thrive. Oprah sits down with Anthony to talk about his transformative, gripping and emotional story of faith, forgiveness and redemption.”
“Oprah continues her extraordinary interview with wrongly convicted death row inmate Anthony Ray Hinton, who shares a remarkable story about an unlikely friendship he formed in prison. He explains how he eventually found his way to freedom through the help of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative.”
“A Jesuit priest famous for his gang intervention programs in Los Angeles, Fr. Greg Boyle makes winsome connections between service and delight, and compassion and awe. He heads Homeboy Industries, which employs former gang members in a constellation of businesses. This is not work of helping, he says, but of finding kinship.”