The need for criminal justice reform in America. Do your part to become informed.
My name is Frank Merold, and two years ago I was released on compassionate release from a life sentence on drug charges. I’m writing you today, Veterans Day because I am a proud veteran of the U.S. Army. My experience in the armed forces and then 21 years in prison shaped me in profound ways.
I enlisted in the Army when I was 17. I was trained in electronics and radar technology and worked as a radar technician. It was there that I learned discipline and self-reliance, qualities that would later serve me well in surviving my prison sentence. I’m proud of my Army service and being able to do my part for my country.
Since I’ve been home, I’m trying my best to get back on my feet. But it’s hard rejoining society after such a long sentence. I think a lot about veterans I left behind in prison, especially those serving mandatory sentences, trying to square the fact that they gave so much to America, and that wasn’t taken into account when they were sentenced and won’t help them much if they are released.
I know that FAMM is working hard on its Second Chances Agenda, and when I think of second chances, I think especially of veterans who’ve sacrificed for our country and are now locked up with no end in sight — like the country has just given up on them. Second chances, like the on I got, mean that much more to people like me, trained by the armed forces, with so much value to give, could make our communities stronger and safer.
This Veterans Day, join me and FAMM in fighting for the many veterans behind bars who deserve a second chance. Visit FAMM’s website to see how you can help: famm.org/secondchances.
Thanks for thinking of me and all the other veterans affected by the criminal justice system today.
Frank Merold for FAMM
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