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Electric Works Blog!

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Inspired

We met some remarkable ‘fellow travelers’ (at the launch of Life After Murder), not the least of whom were the five wonderful former lifers. They were so articulate and moving; I am always touched and inspired by the desire of so many paroled lifers to not only reach out to society as a whole but to reach back and continue help their brothers/sisters still inside.
They motivate us!
Vanessa Nelson
Life Support Alliance

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A True Cautionary Tale

Thank you so much for writing this book and seeing the humanity of my cousin and his fellow parolees. I got my copy yesterday and was up till 2:30 AM reading!
Richard (Rael) was always one of the good guys in our family so it was a real shock when this all came down. His tale is a true cautionary one and I’ve always said, “there but for the grace of God, go I”.
What happened to Richard could have happened to any one of us.
Thank you again~
Tina Rizkallah

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Documentary filmmaker

I graduated from USC this spring with a degree in film and television production and took a critical writing course called Writing 340 this semester. In the class we were divided into groups of 3 to 4 students and then paired with a community group in LA for the duration of the semester. With the help of our community group we produced a short documentary about that group or an issue it faces. My community group was called Criminals and Gangmembers Anonymous. Perhaps you’ve heard of CGA. It’s a nonprofit organization that adapts AA’s twelve-step program for criminals and gang members who wish to rid themselves of a destructive lifestyle addiction.

For our documentary we interviewed two men — one is an ex-convict and the other is a lifer on parole — and asked to hear their stories. The documentary focuses on what drives people to these certain lifestyle addictions, the reforming process, and whether or not people, murderers, convicts or anyone can change. After getting to know these two men and learning more about CGA, my group and I believe people can and do change. For a bunch of college students at USC an experience like this class was unbelievably educational and eye-opening. We still keep in touch with these two men and their stories were inspiring to hear.

I was happy to hear you speak on the Patt Morrison Show about parole, prison systems, and people changing. I was also glad you mentioned how detached society is from people in prison and how difficult it is for some of us to look beyond the black and white of a crime and see people for who they are.

In short, I found a lot in common with your interview/subject of your book and our documentary.

Here’s a link to the documentary on YouTube:

I enjoyed listening to you today and I wish you luck with the success of your book. It’s important work that you did and an important message you’re communicating.
Sincerely,
Karl Stieg

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Injustice by the State

“I befriended 21 year-old Robert Rosenkrantz (1988) three years after he killed the young man who outed him as a homosexual to his parents. As mentioned on the Patt Morrison Show, it was ten years after he was granted parole numerous times by the parole board, and then denied by more then one governor for the next ten years, before his parole was finally approved by Governor Schwarzenneger.
The real crime here is that what the governor does after parole is granted by the parole board, is totally politically motivated. He was given that authority through an initiative back in 1988. This is total vindictiveness by the electorate. The State Supreme Court heard his case against Governor Davis and decided to go along with his decision by a vote of 5-2. The arguments favoring the governor were incredulous.
Talk about injustice by the State.
I stayed in contact with Robert through letter writing all those years. I visited him three times in prison. The worst for me as an average citizen was to see his parole refused by two governors after the parole board approved his parole.
If for any reason you would like any information regarding his case as seen from a bystander’s perspective, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Thanks for all the work that you do in this area. Some day the world will recognize that punishment of any kind is inhumane.”
–Benny Wasserman

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Interviews and Talks

It’s been four weeks to the day since Life After Murder was launched at Electric Works in downtown San Francisco. There have been television and radio interviews and book talks/vigorous discussions at bookstores, churches and in living rooms from Seattle to Los Angeles. And I must say, nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of a national book release!
At every event and in every interview, there is the feeling that what I am saying is practically revolutionary. That people who commit a murder and are sentenced to life with the possibility of parole actually become good people while they are in prison, and when they get out of prison on parole, contribute to society in enduring, positive ways.
I am going to post some of the comments I’ve received from readers and listeners, and hope you find them as heartening as I have.

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Launch of Life After Murder

On June 26th, more than a hundred people gathered at the Electric Works in downtown San Francisco to celebrate the launch of Life After Murder: Five Men In Search of Redemption. Click on the photograph to view a slideshow of the evening.

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BIG DAY TOMORROW

Tomorrow is the release of Nancy’s book of which I am a part.  I am both excited and fearsome as we really have no idea how this work will be received.  I am sure there are those who disagree with the content of the book, who feel more than one side should have been represented, and while I tend to agree there are other sides of this story which need to be told, this book is only the beginning.  You have to start somewhere and to try and publish two, three, maybe even four other sides revolving around Life After Murder, would not only be overwhelming for any author, but cost, time and print restrictions make such a task prohibitive at one sitting.

Let’s talk.  Well, I hope to see you tomorrow and I pray the book finds itself  in the hands of anyone and everyone looking to understand more about the people who have committed serious crimes and what happens after they are released.

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Our beginning

I am so proud of Nancy Mullane for her dedication and her integrity, and the other four men featured in this book for having the courage to stand and be counted.

I am proud to be a part of this important work and look forward to the many challenges yet to come. Change is rarely an easy task but one must start somewhere…this is our beginning.

Hope to see you at the National Book Release in SF and will be happy to talk to all.

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Welcome to Life After Murder

Today Life After Murder celebrates its first day as a website!  It’s been a long, challenging, five-year journey getting to this moment and now with my book, Life After Murder: Five Men In Search of Redemption just weeks from its national launch on June 26th, I’m thrilled to share with you the reviews and book events being planned.

One very early, even pre-publication event took place last Friday night at the home of my good friend, Margit Wennmachers. To honor the first edition hardcovers rolling off the press, she invited friends and family to be there when the UPS truck arrived with boxes filled with the first editions. Standing together around a low coffee table piled high with the books covered in the signature pale blue jackets, we listened as each of the five men spoke about what the release of this book means to them.  It was a powerful, emotional gathering and one many in the room will never forget.

Together we witnessed a beginning.

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FEATURED REVIEWS


Life After Murder challenges us to do the unthinkable in the era of mass incarceration – view those accused of heinous crimes as worthy of our care, compassion and concern. Nancy Mullane, a white woman who once was just as ignorant about the real world of crime and punishment as the typical television viewer, takes us on a remarkable journey behind bars and introduces us to five unforgettable men who are struggling to transform their lives. Through their stories we are reminded of the power and possibility of redemption, as well the nearly unforgiveable crime our nation has committed: treating some human beings as disposable.

–MICHELLE ALEXANDER

 

“Life After Murder is a gripping behind the scenes look at men who have committed heinous crimes yet still challenge our humanity by asking us to truly consider the meaning of redemption. This is journalism at its finest and a must-read for anyone interested in the realities of our prison system.”

–TOM AMMIANO, California Assembly Member

 

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