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