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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Clearinghouse para Liberación Compasiva: Margarita Zamora

“Tuve una infancia difícil”, dice Margarita Zamora. “Mi padre nunca quiso tener nada que ver conmigo. Cuando se enteró de que mi mamá estaba embarazada, la dejó porque él era un hombre casado. Mi mama siempre tenía muchas relaciones cortas....Read More
State:
Issue: Compassionate Release

An Unimaginable Sentence

When Darlene Wells and Jesse Dunaway met, it was “empathy at first sight.” She was working as a nurse at the institution where Jesse is a prisoner, and he was working in the staff dining hall. “You get to see...Read More
State: Virginia
Issue: Sentencing

Judy’s Story: So Many Mothers Missing Their Sons

My name is Judy McCarroll. My son’s name is Lawrence McCarroll. We were both sent to prison for drug offenses in 1995. I was sentenced to 27 years, and Lawrence was sentenced to 33. For both of us, this was...Read More
State:
Issue: Sentencing

La historia de Claire: La Defensa Empieza Pequeña, Luego Florece

Me llamo Claire Tate. Soy la vicepresidente de una organización sin fines lucrativos de justicia criminal en Arizona llamada  S.T.A.R.T. Project (Striving to Achieve Reform Together — Luchando Por Alcanzar la Reforma Juntos), uno de los socios de  FAMM. Estamos...Read More
State: Arizona
Issue: Sentencing

In the Eyes of the Law, First-time Offender Is a Trafficker

William Wilder is no kingpin. In fact, he did not even sell drugs. In 2018, he bought 14.3 grams of methamphetamine from a confidential informant. And now he’s in prison for a first-degree felony for trafficking. There is a very,...Read More
State: Florida
Issue: Sentencing

Compassionate Release Clearinghouse: Margarita Zamora

“I had a rough childhood,” says Margarita Zamora. “My father never wanted nothing to do with me. When he found out my mom was pregnant with me, he left her because he was a married man. My mom was always...Read More
State:
Issue: Compassionate Release

Compassionate Release Clearinghouse: Lea Anne Blystone

Lea Anne Blystone was sentenced to seven years in federal prison. She wasn’t sentenced to die. But when COVID hit her prison, her medical conditions made her especially vulnerable to the potentially fatal disease. Here, she describes her journey from...Read More
State:
Issue: Compassionate Release

Gerald Tarboro: A Story of Second Chances

My story is about two second chances. The first is mine – I got one. I spent 11 years in prison, and I was released a little early because of the First Step Act. The other one I want to...Read More
State:
Issue: Reentry

Compassionate Release Clearinghouse: Ernest Boykin

Ernest Boykin was 41, not halfway through a 15-year sentence in federal prison, and COVID had been hitting prisons hard for months. He had underlying medical conditions that put him at high risk if he contracted the disease, and on...Read More
State:
Issue: Compassionate Release