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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Alexia Pitter And Anthony Jones

Free to Succeed: Anthony Jones

In 2021, Anthony Jones was granted clemency by Gov. J.B. Pritzker from a life sentence. He’d been in prison for 29 years.  Read More
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State: Illinois
Issue: Clemency

Free to Succeed: Antonio Howard

“I’ve spent more time in prison than I’ve spent outside in society, and essentially grew up in prison,” says Antonio Howard, who lived in Pennsylvania state prison for more than 26 years. Yet today, what defines Antonio the most is...Read More
Category:
State: Pennsylvania
Issue: Sentencing

“That Lit a Fire in Me”: David’s Story

In his early twenties, David “Dawud“ Lee was, in his words, “out on the streets living a criminal lifestyle.” He is now serving a life sentence in Pennsylvania state prison. But against all odds, David has transformed himself into a...Read More
State: Pennsylvania
Issue: Sentencing
Adam Clausen

Free to Succeed: Adam Clausen

At last month’s hearing before the U.S. Sentencing Commission about proposed changes to compassionate relief guidelines, an unlikely voice joined the testimony. As returning citizen Adam Clausen was testifying about his own recent compassionate release, his two-year-old son Christian started...Read More
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State:
Issue: Compassionate Release

Free to Succeed: Vanessa Rojas

“I thought I was going to die with a needle in my arm. And that didn’t happen. If I came from where I came from and changed, anybody can. It doesn’t matter how bad the situation seems. People can change....Read More
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Issue: Compassionate Release

Paulettra’s Story: A Wife’s Fight for Freedom

I met and married my husband while he was incarcerated.  Let me tell you the story.  Read More
State: Virginia
Issue: Sentencing

Free to Succeed: Dennis Freedom Horton

Dennis Freedom Horton, 52, spends his days doing work he seems born for – connecting with people and serving his community in Philadelphia. He facilitates the Wellness Recovery Action Plan program (WRAP), which helps people in prison and others improve...Read More
Category:
State: Pennsylvania
Issue: Clemency

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
Category:
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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State:
Issue: Sentencing