Journalist Nancy Mullane takes up the question of whether murderers can be redeemed in her book, “Life After Murder.” Mullane follows the lives of five men convicted of murder who served long sentences in San Quentin prison and were then released.

Nancy Mullane, reporter, radio producer and author of "Life After Murder"

  • Christi Warner

    I worked with students that are sociopaths.  Some tried killing their parents etc.  They had absolutely no sense of wrong doing or remorse as it is with sociopaths.  Once convicted, I think they need to stay in prison.  I don’t know what to do for these students in society as very little matters.

  • Chemist150

    My comment on the juvenile offends stands on this issue:

    Those that dehumanize others and reduce them to the idea that they feel the perpetrators represent are guilty of their own judgment of being a “rabid animal” as one caller put it. The person that dehumanizes others often seeks power and control and seek positions that will allow them to act on their own impulses while denouncing and dehumanizing others. I find it unfortunate that it takes budget crunches to force people in this situation to begin to look at those incarcerated as people and not the ideas that others feel that they represent.  Human is human.  When it becomes so black and white for a person, it’s time to consider what is really making them dehumanize others.

  • Foodycutie–Karen Grant

    Hi…Karen from San Anselmo again…teenagers are just that…teenagers. Unpredictable, angry, volatile, and we as a society fuel those flames. Our obsession with guns and violence, our defense of defending ourselves through violence…the emotional distance of murder through gun violence…but children must be allowed to mature before we decide if they are rehabilitable or not.

    I am in pain even today, 25 years later since the murder of my son, Mark, however throwing away another life through life in prison, without being allowed to rehabilitate, is reprehensible. Our job as adults is to teach our children well. We say about our non-murderous children, that they are just going through a stage, and that they will outgrow that stage…and by carrying a retributive torch for those children we are all complicate in damaging, is only going to kill us and our souls sooner than later, and damage the rest of our families and our other children left behind. Yes, I am a victim as are the rest of my family, but we must not act out through our own mode of vengence.


  • Phil

    From the strictly penal point of view murderers tend to be the least homogenous group, ranging from impulsive murders (killing a spouse while in a rage, for example) to professional killers,( “hit men” for mobs, etc). Their
    punishment should be considered individually and based upon the nature of the homicide, the factor of ongoing danger to society, etc..`

  • Susan Hull

    Thank you for outstanding coverage and humanizing our humanity.

  • This interview is/was brilliant.  Thank you for sharing your insights and perspective.  Awareness is the first step in changing perceptions and the beginning of true reform.  

  • Guest

    Don’t know if anyone will get to read this, as I listened to this story a few days late, but I’d like to say that I used to have a very harsh opinion of convicted murderers and how they should stay in prison. I then had the experience of entering into San Quentin to interview some men who had been convicted of murder several years ago. I was assisting a gentleman who was doing interviews with them. I didn’t know what to expect, honestly I had more of an expectation of ‘Silence of the Lambs’. How wrong I was! After two sessions of interviews with several of these men, my opinions changed completely.

    No one should pass blanket judgements on these men….every case is so different that there is no universal rule that can be applied. Of course some murderers are violent, and sociopaths, but that’s not the rule and it’s not a prerequisite for murder. I was filled with sorrow at the thought of how horrible and vicious some cycles in society can be. What do you do when as a teenager, your mother really is a prostitute, and a crack head, and your only way of making money for food is to sell drugs with your other family members? Most of us will never see this side of some peoples’ reality; there are cycles and learned behaviors that most people cannot break out of on their own. 

    People can change, and people grow. We’re not talking always talking about sociopaths, or psychopaths; there is not one universal label for these men. I’m just so glad that many of them do find redemption and faith in God, and can turn their stories into tools for reaching out into communities, and try to stop the cycles for those who still have a chance.

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