Friday, January 22, 2010

San Quentin on This American Life

Prisons. Right across the bay is San Quentin. And, so the dialogue diversifies - being not only about Alcatraz but about incarceration across the state. This American Life brings a suspenseful, tear-jerking story of a man right across the Bay.

The tag line for the episode : "Stories of people betting on something with very bad odds, mostly because they have no other choice.",  and was forwarded to us in the Prison University Project Newsletter. For more info on the amazing organization, PUP,  or to sign up for their newsletter please check out their website: Prison University Project

25 to life with chance of parole. This is the sentence given to Don Crock, an inmate who committed first degree murder in the 1980's. A drug riddled burglary gone wrong and in a matter of seconds, 25 year old Don Crock had become a felon. At the time of recording Mr. Crock was 52 and, with a spotless record for his time served,  had been deemed by the parole board fit for parole. Here is where the bad odds come in - as written in the story's description:
Act One. Hasta La Vista, Maybe.  In California, Maryland and Oklahoma, the governors can overrule parole boards' decisions to free prisoners serving life sentences. In all three states this has evolved to the point where very few prisoners get released.  For years Nancy Mullane followed the case of Don Cronk in San Quentin Prison, to see what would happen as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reviewed his case. Though Cronk knew the odds were against him, he found it hard to stop himself from believing he'd get out.

An amazing story. Something to get the wheels turning.  Do we as a society believe in redemption?
Thank you to PUP and This American Life. A story for a rainy San Francisco afternoon... grateful to be living out in the world.

Click here to listen:

This American Life, Episode 398: Long Shot

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