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...
READ STORY

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,...
READ STORY

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,...
READ STORY

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...
READ STORY

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.

 

  • Clear Filter

Home Confinement, the CARES Act, and the OLC Memo: Keep Them Home!

At this moment, thousands of people safely completing their sentences at home are living in fear that they’ll be sent back to federal prison through no fault of their own. A memo issued in the final days of the Trump...Read More
State:
Issue: Clemency

Behind Bars and Starving to Death: The Urgent Need for Medical Parole

UPDATE: Joseph Palmer was released in August 2021 after being granted parole. What happens when someone in prison gets very sick and there is no mechanism in place for the system to allow for compassion? That’s the situation that Joseph...Read More
State: Pennsylvania
Issue: Compassionate Release

If the Law Is Wrong Now, It Was Wrong Then: The Case for First Step Act Retroactivity

The First Step Act helped thousands of people get shorter, fairer sentences. But as its name makes clear, it was just a start. Too many people have been left behind simply because of the date they were sentenced. The First...Read More
State:
Issue: Sentencing

When Addiction Leads to 30 Years Behind Bars

“I am not saying that I am innocent. I did some really foolish things and failed to reach out for help for my addiction. I broke my mother’s heart.” Celeste Blair’s path from childhood trauma to addiction to prison is...Read More
State:
Issue: Sentencing

How an Unloaded BB Gun Got a Teenager 33 Years

15 – Nick Robinson’s age when he was arrested 17 – Nick’s age when he was sent to an adult prison 33 – The number of years of his sentence 28 – How old Nick is now 2037 – The...Read More
State: Virginia
Issue: Sentencing

My Ah-Ha Moment Around a Tough Topic

Andrea Strong worked at FAMM practically since day one. She was our Director of Member Services, and over the years she talked to countless families with loved ones in prison. She knew firsthand the pain of having a loved one...Read More
State:
Issue: Sentencing

Heather’s Story: We Need Help, Not Shame

UPDATE: Larry was released in July 2022 after serving his sentence. My name is Heather Wagner, and I have been married to my husband Larry for 19 years. During our marriage, my husband has battled a debilitating addiction to pornography....Read More
State:
Issue: Sentencing

Advocacy, Family, and Faith

In September of 2020, Danica Acebedo Jucutan posted this happy message on the “FAMMilies in Action” Facebook page: “I just wanted to share that after the many nights and days of researching, crying, complaining, giving up … things got better....Read More
State:
Issue: Compassionate Release

The Crack-Powder Disparity: It’s Time for Justice

In 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act reduced the crack-powder disparity in sentencing from 100:1 to 18:1. Lawmakers acknowledged that crack cocaine is no more addictive than powder and is not more likely to cause violent crime. Also true is that...Read More
State:
Issue: Sentencing