35 years past. How much have you changed in 35 years? How much have you changed in 10? Imagine those 35 years in prison and you’ve revolved your world around consistent rehabilitation and self -improvement. Isn’t a second chance deserved?

The United States is one of the harshest countries when it comes to sentencing. Countries such as Norway, will not give any prisoner more than twenty years in prison. Yet, in America, adults and children are sentenced to die in prison. Some states with no offer or parole to prove that you have redeemed yourself.

In 1986 young Karen Brown, who had no criminal priors, became an accomplice to murder in an unfortunate violent crime that should never have happened. She has spent the last 35 years living in remorse at a Kentucky Correctional Institution for women.

Woman in prison

Karen has been up for parole three times in which she was denied, and is out of chances for parole. She was denied as the family of the victim pleaded for her not to be released, as it is hard for them to see past the pain her and her accomplices caused this family.

But Karen is not the same young woman that walked into that prison 35 years ago. Over the years she has been consistently working on improving herself. Her institution offers many programs that she has taken advantage of. She has four associate degrees, a B.A. in Theology and a master’s in counseling. She also has participated in many rehabilitation programs such as anger management.

Her true joy is ministry through music and she spends time performing in the prisons chapel. The chances of Karen reentering society is slim, but she hasn’t given up hope and is currently putting together a case for clemency.

If she is ever to be released she feels that she has a lot to offer society. Such as helping youth through music ministry, mentoring them  to not go down the criminal path.

Cecilia Conley producer of Life of a Lifer Podcast had the opportunity to interview Karen over the phone.

Listen to more in this interview on YouTube. Or Stream it on your favorite podcast platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music.

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