Press Release

FAMM launches “Free to Succeed,” highlighting stories of second chances

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FAMM launches “Free to Succeed,” highlighting stories of second chances

New monthly storytelling series will highlight success stories of formerly incarcerated people

WASHINGTON – FAMM has launched a new storytelling initiative to showcase the success stories of people released early from prison. Each person’s story will highlight their life since incarceration — the way they have been Free to Succeed.

“There is tons of coverage on people who screw up, and not enough on people who overcome their mistakes and succeed. We want to change that,” FAMM President Kevin Ring said. “The people we will highlight this month and in the months ahead have been granted second chances, whether through reform, compassionate release, clemency, or a second look law, and they are now helping their families, their communities and society.

“Their lives are perfect examples of why second chances should be part of criminal justice. Every single person in FAMM’s “Free to Succeed” Storytelling program is proving wrong the headlines that say criminal justice reform makes our country less safe.”

The program will launch with four stories this month, and feature at least two every month after. A unique component of these stories will be the inclusion of an audio story so that listeners can hear directly from the person featured. There will also be a special “Heart to Heart: Free to Succeed” edition broadcast across social media on Sept. 12, in which listeners can interact directly with the month’s featured subjects. September’s stories are:

  • Stephanie Nodd, who’s reconnected with her grown children and works using the skills she obtained while incarcerated (release date: Sept. 1)
  • Ernest Boykin, a graduate of the Georgetown University Pivot Program, which aims to provide formerly incarcerated individuals leadership and professional development opportunities (Sept. 6)
  • John Gargano, general manager of Tom Colicchio’s Craft and Vallata restaurants in New York City (Sept. 12)
  • Mandy Martinson, who earned back her dental hygienist’s license and is practicing again (Sept. 19)

To see the stories each month, visit and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For more than three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM has led the fight to reform extreme mandatory sentencing laws and to promote rehabilitation and dignity for all people in prison, 94 percent of whom will return to our neighborhoods one day.


FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safely reduce incarceration, save taxpayer dollars, and keep families together. Founded in 1991, FAMM has secured bold sentencing and prison reform across the country while elevating the voices of directly impacted individuals and families.