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Life after Murder” follows five individuals serving life with the possibility of parole in California’s San Quentin prison and upon their eventual release back into the Bay Area. 

Inmates serving life with the possibility of parole sentences are required to appear before a parole board and prove that they no longer present a danger to society before they are granted release. The parole board comprises law enforcement and corrections professionals who are appointed by the Governor. During the hearing the parole board considers the individual’s completion of treatment and educational programs, behavioral record within the prison, support system, and availability of housing and employment upon release, among other things. However, even if the parole board finds an inmate suitable for parole, under Proposition 89 that passed a constitutional amendment in 1988, the Governor has final veto power. Historically, many Governors have exercised this power and reversed over 90% of eligible cases, often based solely on the seriousness of the committing offense rather than on a determination of their current risk to society. In 2008, the Governor’s review power was amended so that reversal could not be determined based on the committing offense alone. 

Nancy Mullane’s book explores the challenges that many California inmates face serving this sentence term. She highlights the reduction of available programming within the prison system due to determinate sentencing that de-emphasized rehabilitation and overcrowding that obstructed service delivery. She explores the psychological and emotional strain that repeated parole hearings and eventual vetoes can have on an individual and their family. Once these individuals are released from prison, after decades of incarceration, she describes their joys and their struggles to integrate into free society. 

One of the programs featured in this book, that assists individuals within prison and upon release is the Prison University Project. This program provides higher education programs to incarcerated individuals in San Quentin State Prison to provide them with necessary skills to obtain meaningful employment post-release. 

To learn more you can attend a special event launching the book, hosted by the Prison University Project tonight from 6:00 to 8:30 pm at Electric Works (1360 Mission Street, San Francisco)!

Award-winning journalist, Nancy Mullane, produces feature stories for National Public Radio, KALW News, and Public Radio International. In 2011 she was awarded the National Edward R. Murrow Award which honors excellence in electronic journalism. 

For more information about the book and Nancy Mullane visit: http://​www​.lifeafter​mur​der​.com/