December 13, 2009

Nick Curran, Esquire

Kathleen T. Zellner & Associates

Drake Oak Brook Plaza

2215 York Rd. Suite 504

Oak Brook, IL 60523

Dear Mr. Curran:

I’m writing in support of the clemency petition of Larry Harris, #N-57672. While I have never met him in person and have only spoken with him once by phone, I have been mentoring his writing for six years, during which I have witnessed his transformation both as a writer and as a human being. I’ve worked with over 2,000 writers in US prisons and through the years have developed a keen sense of who’s truly rehabilitated and who’s not.  Mr. Harris stands out in the first category. He’s shown his generosity of spirit over and over, helping other prisoners, trying to be a helpful force in his broken family, and creating a more positive self-image. One letter from long ago stands out in my mind. He was playing cards with some younger men and kept winning, making one of the other players increasingly angry. Erupting in rage at losing again, the young man attacked him. No stranger to fights, Harris had him pinned on the floor with his hands around the man’s throat. He was ready to hurt him when he claimed he suddenly heard my voice in his head saying, “Do you really want to throw everything away for this?” In that moment, he reported that he took his hands from around the man’s throat, stood up and walked out of the day room, saying “That was the last time I’ll ever act like a thug!”

He has remained true to that promise he made to himself regardless of provocation from many others through the years. I believe him and I hope you will too.

Larry Harris, a man of promise as a writer, has the potential to use his many gifts and skills to become a productive taxpayer. His past is just that, past. He is a very different man today than he was 17 years ago when he was first sent to prison. I encourage you to give serious consideration to allowing him the freedom to become a help to public safety.


Judith Trustone, Director, Sagewriters & the Global Kindness Revolution

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