Joined Jan 10 2012
61 years old
I was sentenced in Indiana to Life for murder at 23. I had two prior felony convictions in the same state. I became a political and educational leader in prison, completing a GED, developing an off-campus degree program and completing most of a baccalaureate degree, and negotiating everything from day-to-day inmate/inmate and inmate/staff disputes to a work stoppage protesting a gubernatorial election and an 18-hour hostage situation. By agreed settlement pursuant to a pro se post conviction relief petition, my charge was reduced to second degree murder, and the sentence reduced from Life to 15-25 years. I was released without parole in 1990, my 15th year of incarceration, and haven't been arrested in the 20 years since.
Unfortunately, my interest in Ms. Kruzan's case didn't begin until it came to my attention via a change.org petition in November, seeking commutation of her sentence to time served, which I signed. Despite having been actively involved in prisoners rights matters during my incarceration, I refrained from further involvement after my release, because I worked for awhile as a juvenile corrections counselor in a private facility facility that contracted with the Department of Correction, and later worked as full-time faculty for Ball State University in numerous adult prisons in Indiana. However, the politics at the university are far pettier than anything I ever encountered in the Department of Correction, even among the inmates, and I was finally ousted several years ago. Hence, I'm now at liberty once again to become politically active on behalf of prisoners, and have only just recently begun to assert myself as a "free agent" in that endeavor once again.
Fortunately, it appears there's no need for me to do anything at all to further Ms. Kruzan's cause, as Governor Schwarzenegger, unlike some other governors past and present, had the moral courage to do the right thing in his final days in office. I commend his action, as well as those of key activists who have worked towards a just resolution to her case; the correctional professionals who have assisted her in the difficult business of rehabilitation and personal development; but most importantly, Ms. Kruzan herself, without whose perseverance, a worldful of doomsayers would have been proven right.