Can a convicted murderer ever merit a fresh start? Investigative journalist Nancy Mullane spent years examining that question. In Life After Murder she writes about five convicts in San Quentin State Prison in California, from their lives before the murders through the experience of reentry. Mullane clearly believes in giving criminals a second chance, once they have served their sentence, and makes it clear that the prison and parole systems do not make them easy.
NPR provides an excerpt.
Adult/High School–Convicted of murder and given a sentence of life with the possibility of parole when they were in their teens or early 20’s, the five men in this book are now eligible for parole 20, 25, and 30 years later. Have they been rehabilitated? How does one obtain parole? How does one cope during the 45-day waiting time in which the governor can–and often does–reverse the decision, which brings the men back to a one-, two-, or three-year wait to go before the parole board again? Some of the men were released back into society with $200 gate money. What happens next? Award-winning National Public Radio reporter Mullane spent four years interviewing convicted murderers. She tells the stories of the crimes that were committed when the men were teens or young adults, the days following, growing up locked up in small cages, the personal growth work they did, and the remorse they experienced. While each of the stories is unique, the book revolves around the politics of crime and punishment. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions, legalities, relationships, and challenges both in and outside the prison walls. Teens will be fascinated by the journey, the politics, and legal issues of murder and redemption.– Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, Juvenile Hall , CA