Curtis Penn, standing at the San Rafael bus station, moments after being released from San Quentin prison. Credit: Nancy Mullane
Curtis holding the plastic bin of everything he was allowed to keep in prison. Credit: Nancy Mullane
Curtis holding his only identification, a discharge card handed to him at his release from San Quentin. Credit: Nancy Mullane
The $200 in cash Curtis was given at his release from prison. Credit: Nancy Mullane
Curtis taking his first walk of freedom on Chrissy Field in San Francisco. Credit: Nancy Mullane
A quick stop at the Palace of Fine Arts for a tourist shot. Credit: Nancy Mullane
In 1994, California voters passed the three strikes law which required anyone with two felony convictions to receive a sentence of 25 years to life for committing their third felony. Between the mid-1970s and 2006, the three strikes law and other harsh sentencing guidelines increased California’s prison population by 750 percent.
On November 6, 2012, Californians voted to change the three strikes law. That measure, known as Proposition 36 eliminated life sentences for non-violent crimes and allowed some of the prisoners sentenced under the three strikes law to petition for release for time served.
Curtis Penn is one of those prisoners. Life of the Law executive producer Nancy Mullane chronicles the day Curtis was released from prison.
You might also like to investigate these stories:
Marisa Lagos, ‘Political paralysis’ in Calif. over prison reform, San Francisco Chronicle
Stanford Law School, Stanford Three Strikes Project
The New York Times, California’s Continuing Prison Crisis