Monday, May 4, 2009

A Letter-Writing Campaign!

Now that I’ve had time to recover somewhat from the sad news that the Michigan Parole Board and Governor Jennifer Granholm have denied Troy’s application for commutation of his sentence, I’ve decided it’s time for a letter-writing campaign.

A group of supporters of our size should not take this decision lying down. It would be an absolute pity if we were not heard from, en masse. The Parole Board and Governor Granholm should know there are many people, within the prison population, in Michigan, around the United States, and around the world, who know — by having been touched by his wonderful writings and beneficial presence — that Troy is not a threat to the public and should be freed.

Will a letter-writing campaign result in a changed decision? I'd like to hope so but I just don't know. But it will definitely have a practical impact by creating a sizable file, at the Parole Board and in the governor’s office, of correspondence about Troy and drawing attention to this particular decision. It was in December 2007 that we applied for commutation. Prisoners have the right to request review of their sentence through this method every two years. That means our next filing will be in just seven months. So writing letters now is well timed. My point is that this is not just an exercise in venting our frustration.

So this campaign can have great impact, but we need you. Please be part of this.

Here are some tips:

1. If possible, write your letter in the next month (this is my attempt to create some coherence; if you can’t write in that time-frame don’t let that stop you when you finally can write).

Address it to the Parole Board:

Michigan Parole and Commutations Board
Michigan Department of Corrections
P.O. Box 30003
Lansing, MI 48909

And cc and mail to the governor’s counsel:

Steven C. Liedel
Executive Office
111 S. Capitol Ave.
Lansing, MI 48933

Please send me a copy by email for my records.

If you don’t want to include your full address, please at least sign with your city/state.

2. When you first refer to Troy, mention his inmate number, 169076, so they can be certain what case you’re talking about.

3. Expressing anger won’t help. :-) Express your disappointment, puzzlement, sadness, etc. at the decision, but don’t go venting anger.

4. I suggest you discuss variations on the following, as long as they’re your personal convictions: that Troy is not a danger to the public, his service to fellow prisoners, the fact he’s served over 24 years for second-degree murder, his remorse and life of atonement and transformation since then, and his impact on your life or thinking.

For background on what Troy has accomplished, you can go here. Scroll down to “Kinross Ethics Project” and “Accomplishments,” which is about 2/3 of the way down the page. The rest of the info on that page may also be helpful; it’s most of the text of his commutation application and includes his statement about his crime.

Please feel free to contact me if you want me to look at your letter before you send. If you wrote a letter to support Troy’s commutation application and would like to see your wording in that, I have it and can send it to you as a PDF scan.

If you know anyone else who reads Troy’s work and cares about his case, please send this post to them.

I know so many of you have given so much to Troy for years. I humbly ask you to please give just a little bit more. With thanks from the bottom of my heart (and Troy’s),

—Maryann Gorman

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