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Life Without Parole – Author Kenneth E. Hartman

July 28, 2019 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm PDT

Kenneth E. Hartman’s sentence to live without parole was recently commuted by Governor Jerry Brown after he had spent 35 years in prison. He is now an activist for prison and sentencing reform, as well as a writer.  This afternoon, Mr.  Hartman will read from his book, Mother California: A Story of Redemption Behind Bars, the fierce and affecting memoir of a convicted murderer, whose growing self-awareness enables him to understand his crime and achieve redemption.

In 1980, Kenneth E. Hartman murdered a homeless man in a Los Angeles area park after a drug-fueled binge. Sentenced to life without the possibility of parole by the state of California, Hartman was soon considered a potent force by the system’s most brutal convicts. To the hellish chaos of a maximum-security prison he brought his own limitless propensity for violence—he often spent months at a time in solitary confinement, “the Hole.”

After years in the cold embrace of the state prison system, Hartman discovered a vocation for writing; he also met, through a chance phone call, the woman he would marry and have a child by. With poignancy and self awareness, Hartman chronicles the anarchy and brutish moral code that rules in some of the world’s most infamous prisons, where physical punishment is the only form of control. Over time, Hartman evolves into a sentient being; follows his newly discovered spiritual and literary inclinations; and learns to deal with his demanding responsibilities as a family man. The final chapter describes his development of the Honor Program, which helps motivated prisoners escape the ravages of incarceration.

Mother California is the story of a man who did not succumb to the darkness of the only world left to him. It offers definite proof that there is no such thing as a life beyond redemption.


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San Francisco , CA 94131 United States
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