Onek, David

Life After Murder; An interview with Journalist and Author Nancy Mullane.

By David Onek, Nancy Mullane

While on assignment for a story on California’s overcrowded prisons, journalist Mullane began interviewing men at California’s San Quentin prison who had been convicted of murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.  Davis Onek spoke with Mullane about the book, the history of the parole system in California, and the power of redemption.  Please find an excerpt below:

Q: This book is about the lives of five men.  Could you choose one of the five and give us the basics of who they are, what their crime was, what legal process they had to go through to get out, and what it’s been like on the outside?

I’m going to start with Jesse Reed. I met Jesse Reed in 2008 in San Quentin State Prison, down on the yard, which is a massive yard where the men are allowed to walk around on a track. I was there doing a story about spirituality inside prison, and the prison public information officer said, “I want you to meet this guy. He’s been found suitable for parole. And he’s waiting the 150 days.”

It's Time to Reform Three Strikes

By David Onek

California voters overwhelmingly passed the Three Strikes initiative in 1994 based on the promise that it would take repeat violent offenders off the streets.

But now, more than fifteen years after the initiative’s passage, we have the benefit of facts to help us understand the true impact of Three Strikes.

Most Californians already know that in the wake of Three Strikes the cost of corrections has soared. Our state prison budget is now so high that California spends as much on prisons as we do on higher education.