Saturday, May 24, 2014

New book by Troy Chapman

Just a quick note to let you know Troy has published a new book, The Knitting Birds and Other Poems. It's a lovely little collection of poetic observations and memories.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Troy's first book is published!

Hello to all the Friends of Troy,

I know it's been quite some time since you've heard from us. While we have not updated this blog since Troy's last commutation application was denied by Michigan's governor almost a year ago, he has been hard at work on a book, advance copies of which are now available for purchase!

It's called "Stepping Up: Wholeness Ethics for Prisoners and Those Who Care About Them" and is published by my imprint, The Whole Way Press. The book will also soon be available at Whether you know someone in prison or are seeking wholeness yourself, we think you'll find this book valuable.

This has truly been a labor of love. As many of you know, Troy has been teaching an ethics class at his prison, Kinross Correctional Facility, for several years. But he has been doing more than simply teaching about existing ethical systems. The Kinross Ethics Project is based on an ethical system for everyday living that Troy has developed himself from years of self-education and seeking. I'll let the back-of-book blurb speak for itself:

"Men and women in prison are seen by society as problems and burdens. This book begins with a different premise: that you can be a solution, not only in the world but in your own life as well. It's about a way of living called wholeness ethics and it's based on the simple truth that we find our own wholeness only in right relationship with the world.

"From the perspective of his 30 years behind bars, author Troy Chapman offers a roadmap for living this truth and moving toward soundness, well-being and the realization of one's larger purpose. Distilling experience to four essential relationships - with yourself, others, the transcendent and nature - Chapman shows how to consider each in the light of ethical thinking and restore wholeness to each one.

"With down-to-earth examples and language, compassion and good humor, this book will help you 'step up' to your true purpose, transform your life and your relationships, and help create a better world in the process."
We have also created a new blog to accompany the book: The Wholeness Ethics Blog. Bookmark us there for posts about the practice of wholeness ethics!

Troy and I are infinitely grateful to all of you who have been such wonderful friends to us. Without you, this book would not have been possible.


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Troy Chapman author page
Stepping Up book page

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Last Freedom

by Troy Chapman

Well, as Maryann has already posted, our bid for commutation has been denied by both the Michigan Parole Board and the governor. As I’ve spent the past few days pondering this decision I keep coming back to a few things.

We don’t know why this decision was made instead of a more positive one. Perhaps we’ll find that out eventually. Whatever we may find out I’m fairly certain that I’ve done all that I can in the matter. There’s some comfort in this because I know I have done my part. On the other hand, there’s some frustration in it as well because I’m not sure what’s required of me at this point. Needless to say, it’s a sad time.

I have, throughout the process, been thinking about Scott Chandler and his family. Whatever the past 26 years have been for me, he hasn’t had them at all, nor has his family had them with him due to my actions. I think also about my own family, who were hurt as well by my actions.

Last night in the ethics group, we talked about the central premise of the group: that we should at all times do only what increases wholeness in ourselves and in the world. We talked about what that means and I spoke of how my crime tore up the wholeness of so many people. During this conversation, another of the central ideas of my life came up — that is what Viktor Frankl, Nazi death camp survivor, called “man’s last freedom.” He said we can’t always determine what happens to us in life or what our circumstances are but we can always choose how we will respond to those circumstances.

This outcome of continued incarceration is certainly not what I would have chosen if I had a choice. But I didn’t. What I do have a choice in is how I respond to it now. And so my question is, with all things being as they are, what response will increase wholeness in myself and in the world?

I don’t know the answer yet, but I think part of it is simply asking the question. If I can do nothing else or know nothing else, I know this: Turning my mind and spirit to this question rather than to the million other places it wants to run like water right now is in itself a wholistic act.

So I have my question. I think it’s not just the question for this situation but the question for all of life: What response will increase wholeness? I will continue asking it as I process and adjust to this.

I’ve said before but not for awhile how much all of you who call yourselves my friends mean to both Maryann and me. Your support and encouragement mean more than we can tell you.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Application Denied by Governor

I'm extremely sad to announce that Troy's commutation application was denied by the Michigan Parole Board and Governor Jennifer Granholm this week.

This is pretty upsetting because Granholm's last day in office is the end of this year; it's unlikely very many commutations will be signed by whoever is the next governor, if any. Troy seems to be managing the news. He told me "I'm working on being where I am, rather than trying to be somewhere I can't be." I wish I could deal with this with such equanimity.

Of course, it's not all that easy to get over a blow like this and he knows that too. If you want to send Troy an encouraging note, you can email it here or, better yet, mail it to Troy Chapman, 169076, 16770 Water Tower Dr., Kincheloe, MI 49788.

Thank you to everyone for your support and caring.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Glimmer

It's been a very long time since I've posted. The wheels of justice do grind slowly.

But there has been some positive movement in Troy’s case. Troy’s counselor received a request for a Parole Eligibity Report (PER) on Troy from the parole board. Whenever the board wants to consider giving someone an interview or hearing they request this form. The board has requested the info by July 8.

As a point of reference, no PER was requested the last time we applied, and Troy’s application was sent to the governor without a positive recommendation; this is moving off in quite another direction than last time.

This is a Good Thing. Say your prayers, please. 



Sunday, January 3, 2010

Second Commutation Application Sent to Lansing

Hello, and happy new year. Last week, I mailed Troy's second commutation application to the Michigan Parole and Commutation Board. Inmates in Michigan are permitted to apply for commutation every two years, and it has now been two years since Troy's first application was received by the board.

Applicants are not supposed to send the same documentation in support of their bids for commutation as they did in previous applications, and we adhered to this rule. And yet the package I sent was as thick as the first one! New documentation this time included news of Troy's popular NPR essay for the This I Believe program, the fact that his Ethics Project was approved as an official program of the Michigan Department of Corrections, excerpts from the starter kit Troy wrote to help prisoners in other facilities start their own Ethics Projects, and last, but not least, the letters sent by many of Troy's supporters in the spring of last year expressing their sadness at the outcome of his first commutation application.

We have more hope for this application than the last one. The men Troy has known who have received commutations have all applied more than once. And we have learned that the board is more receptive of applications from people who have served 25 or more years for second degree murder. At the time of his last application, Troy had served 23 years. The 25th anniversary of his crime was in late November of last year.

As always, I thank you all for your support for Troy. Please keep this application in your thoughts and prayers, and also please pray for Troy and me and our friends and families as we endure this time of waiting to see how the board and Governor Jennifer Granholm will handle this request for clemency. And don't forget the family of Troy's victim, who have suffered much.