Stories - FAMM

Stories

Featured Stories

Free to Succeed: Ernest Boykin

“2027” is written boldly on the back of Ernest Boykin’s phone as a reminder of the year he would have been released, had he not...
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A Lifetime of Remorse and Service to Others

Too many people in Pennsylvania are serving long prison terms that don’t make communities safer. There are plenty of people locked up like David Mandeville,...
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When a Second Chance Means Powerhouse Advocacy

There’s nothing romantic about prison. But here’s a FAMM story that’s undeniably romantic. It’s about what happens when fierce advocacy, Fantasy Football, 35 birthday cards,...
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A Racist Disparity, the EQUAL Act, and One Man’s Redemption

The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 reduced the disparity in sentencing for crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses from 100:1 to 18:1. But true justice...
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Motivating everything we do here at FAMM are real people—prisoners, families with loved ones locked up, returning citizens—who experience firsthand our broken criminal justice system. When FAMM started more than three decades ago, it was the stories of these people that defined our mission and our work. And that hasn’t changed.

On this page, you’ll find many different kinds of stories, featuring people of all stripes from all over the country. Each and every one of their stories shows in sharp relief the problems with bad sentencing laws and prison policies. We hope that these stories educate and inspire you, just as they do for us.

 

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Free to Succeed: Lee Horton

My name is Lee Horton. I’m from North Philadelphia, and I’m 57. I’ve been married for 30 years and have four children. In 1993, I was sentenced to life in prison. I spent 28 years there before I was given clemency in 2021.      ...Read More
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State: Pennsylvania
Issue: Clemency

Free to Succeed: Lynn Espejo

“People are not what their mistake is. It’s how they overcome that mistake and move forward, and what they can accomplish after the mistake.” – Lynn Espejo  Read More
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Issue: Sentencing

Sheron’s Story: One Crime, Two Sentences

Imagine serving 20 years in federal prison, only to be released straight into 20 more in state prison. That’s Sheron Edwards’ story. During one bad night in 1999, he made a series of terrible decisions. The crimes he committed deserved...Read More
State: Mississippi
Issue: Sentencing

Free to Succeed: Marlon Chamberlain

“My faith allowed me to heal while I was incarcerated. Healing means being completely free internally from all the myths and stereotypes. Early release allowed me to rebuild my family, and myself, and help my community to heal.”  Read More
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Issue: Sentencing

Lexie’s Story: A Beautiful Father-Daughter Relationship

My college professor asked me who was my Biggest Inspiration, and I responded, My dad. My dad’s name is Gasi Pitter. He was incarcerated when he was 18, and I was three years old. He’s now been in prison for...Read More
State: Illinois
Issue: Sentencing

Free to Succeed: Fulton “Mr. Wash” Washington

Almost as soon as he entered prison for a mandatory life sentence on drugs charges in 1997, Fulton “Mr. Wash” Washington got to work. He didn’t know whether or not he’d ever have an opportunity to join society again as...Read More
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Issue: Clemency

The Desperate Need for Oversight: A Prison Tragedy

In 2001, Kesha Jackson was browsing paintings at a fair in her Pittsburgh neighborhood when she spotted one she liked. She turned to the seller and locked eyes with John “Big John” Jackson. “The rest,” she says, “was history.”  Read More
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Issue: Sentencing

Free to Succeed: Peter Ninemire

To hear Peter Ninemire talk about his decades-long career in social work and addiction treatment, you’d never know that in 1990, he was number three on the state of Kansas’ most wanted list, or that a year later he’d be...Read More
State:
Issue: Clemency

Free to Succeed: Naomi Blount

“Over the years, I have written my obituary numerous times,” says Naomi Blount. “I never thought I would ever be coming home.” That’s because in 1982, she was sentenced to life in Pennsylvania state prison. She was 32 years old....Read More
State: Pennsylvania
Issue: Clemency