CRIME STORY has received permission to re-print Michael Romano‘s newsletters from Stanford Law School’s Three Strikes Project whose mission is to reverse the most unjust criminal sentences. Romano and his colleague Susan Champion were interviewed by Amanda Knox for CRIME STORY and you can find the podcast and the transcript of that interview here. You can find a story about Romano’s participation in a U.S. Congressional field hearing on criminal justice reform here. You can find past issues of Romano‘s newsletter here.


We are very excited to announce that our client Keith Tribble had his life sentence vacated and yesterday walked free from prison for the first time in almost 20 years! Keith was sentenced under the Three Strikes law in 2000, but was recently was recommended for early release by prison officials, including correctional officers, the warden of his prison, and Dept. Secretary Ralph Diaz.

We are extremely happy and proud of Keith for never giving up hope. Keith says that in some ways he is grateful for the time that he spent in prison because it put him on a path to help others not make the same mistakes he did. Surprisingly, he says that prison “saved” him. During his time behind bars, Keith was enrolled in a number of college courses, completed the rigorous Offender Mentor Certification Program (OMCP), and served as an Offender Mentor Recruit.

Now, he will be starting an internship at Options Recovery to work as an addiction counselor using the skills he learned while incarcerated

Keith was greeted at the prison gates by Michael Henrikson, a member of the Ride-Home program (who himself spent 40 years behind bars) and who drove Keith from Norco, CA to Keith’s longterm reentry program, Options Recovery Services, in Berkeley! During their 7 hour trip, the two exchanged stories about their lives, a delicious meal, and some time outdoors. 

IN OTHER NEWS:

We’d like to give a hearty shout-out to and thank you to our good friends at the Prison University Project, who are doing amazing work sending care packages of food, writing supplies, soap, and other essentials to inmates in San Quentin and other prisons under lock-down due to the virus (including many of our clients!). Please visit their webpage to find out more, and consider volunteering and/or donating!

Finally, as some of you know, California recently reached an important milestone, reducing its prison population below 100,000 inmates for the first time in 30 years. Most of the population reduction was accomplished through temporary health-related measures that have reduced the state prison population by over 20,000 prisoners since March. While these developments are necessary and promising, they are temporary. There’s a lot to learn from these emergency measures, and we must also remember that prisons remain overcrowded in violation of court orders, at high risk for continued spread of the virus, and too many people remain necessarily behind bars. This SF Chronicle story offers good background on the situation.

I hope you’re all well.

– Mike