Success Stories


JeDonna Young

JeDonna was arrested in 1978 when police targeting her boyfriend found nearly three pounds of heroin in her car. Although both JeDonna and her boyfriend maintained that she knew nothing about the heroin, she was sentenced to life without parole under Michigan’s 650 Lifer Law. She was released in 1998 after Michigan passed sentencing reform…. Read more »

Angelita Able

Angelita received 20 to 60 years in prison for 225-649 grams of cocaine. While she did not initially benefit from Michigan’s 2003 sentencing reforms, she wrote the court and was ultimately resentenced to six to 30 years. She was released from prison in 2007. Angelita received 20 to 60 years for 225-649 grams of cocaine…. Read more »

Charles Dunn

When we first published his story, below, Charles was serving a 30-year sentence in federal prison for running a large cocaine conspiracy. Despite his “kingpin” conviction, he was transferred to a camp in 2009 for extraordinary rehabilitation and persistent community service. He has since been released from prison early. We will keep you posted about… Read more »

Maria Martinez

In 2002, Maria was staying in the apartment of a friend of her boyfriend’s in Michigan when police raided the apartment and discovered approximately 20 pounds of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. Although police conducting surveillance never witnessed Maria engaged in illegal activity, she ultimately received a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence. She was paroled in March… Read more »

Susan Taormino

Susan received two consecutive five to 30-year sentences in 2000 after selling a half gram of cocaine to a former customer-turned-informant. She was released on March 10, 2009. Susan was born in Michigan where her elderly parents still reside.  After a rough divorce in 1971, she began drinking and abusing cocaine.  She found a job… Read more »

Karen Shook

Karen 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 more »