Success Stories


Success on the Inside: Michael Monsivais

In prison, Michael Angel Monsivais saw a huge need. And instead of waiting for someone else to fill that need—the warden, the BOP, the government—he took matters into his own hands.  As a young man with limited economic, social, or community resources, Michael Angel Monsivais bounced in and out of the California correctional system. Eventually,… Read more »

Katie Hoyle: A Second Chance at College … And Life

Four years ago this month, Katie Hoyle finally walked free out of prison. Now, she’s planning to walk across the stage of Iowa State University in the spring of 2018 to receive her college degree. Almost 25 years ago, Katie Hoyle headed off to the University of Iowa for freshman year. She had ranked fourth… Read more »

Success Story: Loretta Fish Liegal

Loretta’s traumatic early life led to drug addiction and prison. When she was given a second chance through commutation of her sentence, she made the most of it. Today she is a role model and an inspiration. When Loretta Fish Liegal was in her early teens, her family’s house caught on fire. Her little sister… Read more »

Success Story: Eric Wilson

  “I want to be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem. One bad decision does not have to define you; you can change if in your heart you want to change.” -Eric Wilson UPDATE: Eric Wilson’s sentence was commuted by President Obama in 2016. He will be released in 2026… Read more »

Success Story: Elizabeth Melson

Elizabeth was a shy child and adolescent who struggled with self-esteem issues from an early age. Problems for Elizabeth became worse during her teens, around the time of her parents’ separation and divorce. As a teenager, she experimented with alcohol, drugs and risky behaviors, which led to trouble at school with her academics. Paradoxically, although… Read more »

Fulton “Mr. Wash” Washington

Once a young man with a promising future, Fulton ended up in prison for nonviolent offenses related to the drug PCP. Mandatory minimums landed him with a life sentence. He spent more than 21 years in prison before receiving clemency in 2016. He has dedicated his life to the creation of art that reflects his… Read more »

Success Story: Yolanda Flournah-Perkins

In 2004, two semesters before she was set to graduate from the University of Central Florida with a degree in criminal justice, then-23-year-old Yolanda Perkins was sentenced to 37 months in prison for possession of stolen mail, a white-collar offense. Since her 2006 release, Yolanda has earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and published a book… Read more »