Karen Shook

Karen ShookKaren was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 1993 after arranging a drug deal for a man who turned out to be an undercover police officer. She was released in 2003 after Michigan passed sentencing reforms that made her eligible for parole.

In 1994, Karen was a paralegal in her prison library when she read the FAMMGram. “As soon as I read about FAMM I sent my case in,” she says. “I realized I wasn’t going anywhere under the current law.” Karen’s family attended FAMM lobby days and spoke to the media about Karen’s story. Now Karen joins the FAMM effort to help others left behind.

When Karen learned that the sentencing reforms enacted, she was “flabbergasted.” “I wouldn’t believe it was true until I got the paperwork saying I could go home.”

Since her release in 2003, Karen has married and become a grandmother. Karen, who successfully overcame drug addiction, asks lawmakers to divert money to rehabilitation rather than incarceration: “Programs help people reenter society. People go back and use [drugs] because they don’t have the support systems or programs they need.”