Please sign Michael’s change petition.
Name: Michael Ray Harris
Raised: Los Angeles, California
Will live: California
Charges: District Court Case No: 8800972(B)-WJR; Count 1: 21 U.S.C 846 (conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine); Counts 2 and 4; 21 U.S.C 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C 2(Aiding and Abetting Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine); Count 3; (U.S.C 841(a)(1) (possession with intent to Distribute Cocaine);
Sentenced on: 10/7/2011
Charges: Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine; Possession With Intent to Distribute Cocaine
Sentence: 235 months with 5 years of Supervised Release.
(1) Date; 06-09-1983; Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept: Charges: PC 211, Robbery.
(2) Date: 11/23/1985; Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept; Changes: PC 12025, Carrying a Concealed Weapon.
(3) Date; 06/24/85: Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept; Changes: H7S 11351, Possession of Controlled Substance for sale
(4) Date: 06/11/19876: Los Angeles Dept; Changes PC 182(1), PC 187(a),
Conspiracy to Commit Murder with Enhancement of PC 12022.7..Inflict GBI, PC 207(a) Kidnapping. VICTIM RECANTED – see below – released from state prison.
(1) Disposition: Convicted of PC 12015(b), Carrying Weapon, sentenced to 12 months probation and 90 days in jail.
(2) Disposition: Convicted of misdemeanor, sentenced to 3 days in jail.
(3) Changes dismissed
(4) Sentenced to 25-to-life term. Served over two decades (23 years); ordered to be released on parole in 2009 after the victim recanted for the 3rd time. Release on parole resulted in transfer in 2011 to federal custody on the case which I am incarcerated now. State parole completed in 2012.
Prison conduct: No Incidents; disciplinary free for 30-years of incarceration, (See BOP Program Review-to date).
Clemency status: Filed a Petition for Commutation of Sentence on October 18. 2016. The Obama Administration took no action for relief. On August 11/2017 case was closed per Unit Case Manager-Jimi M. Hernandez– Case No. C260106 due to Motion for Reduction of Sentence. The Motion for Reduction was denied March 27, 2018. I filed a Notice of Appeal April 9, 2018. Due to the President’s call for people who believe that they have been dealt with unfairly, to submit a request for relief, I have revised my commutation request addressed to President Trump for review.
Release date: 10/27/2028
Federal Correctional Institution (low)
3600 Guard Road
Lompoc, Ca. 93436
- Worked steadily for 30 years on education, self-Improvement and community Involvement.
- Founded Partnership Building Community Groups (PBCG),
- Managing editor, then editor-in Chief of the San Quentin news, an inmate run Newspaper distributed in 33 prisons across the state.
- Created and/or co-facilitated groups that include Keeping It Real, Green Life (with Van Jones of CNN),
- Teaching Responsibility Utilizing Sociological Training (T.R.U.S.T.),
- Co-founded Members of Modern American Society (M.O.M.A.S), which prepares prisoners for reentry following release.
- Assisted in setting up The Last Mile Program, a San Quentin startup accelerator.
- Helped conceive and design Community One World Enterprises, a United States-Senegal partnership program.
- Continued education through The Patton University Project,
- The Inside Prison Project,
- Victims Offender Educational Group,
- Next Step
- No More Tears
- The Healing Circle
- Worked closely with a group of young prisoners in San Quentin who are originally from the City of Richmond, California. We formed a group called The Richmond Project, which was sponsored by T.R.U.S.T. All of the members of this group are prisoners who will be returning to the Richmond community upon their release. They were deeply and personally concerned about the high levels of violence that engulfed their community. Every one of them had neighbors, best friends, cousins, or brothers who had been killed or crippled by the violence and gang madness. They were keenly aware that if it continued, it could very well take their own lives someday. These young men, all from Richmond which was just a ten minute drive across the bridge from San Quentin, developed a genuine resolve to change their mind-sets, emotions, and loyalties, and to come together from all sides of the warring factions of their city to settle differences and heal wounds. I was proud to be a part of their project and have followed with interest and excitement the accomplishments of some of the prisoners who participated in it, now that they are back at home. Also, a number of participants who were involved in the various self-help/skill-training organizations, that I helped create while in San Quentin, have been released back into society are working and thriving in jobs in Silicone Valley as coders and in other significant positions of employment. Some have created their own community organizations, while others have started their own business resulting from their exposure and experience within these groups/programs.
- Since 2011, while serving time in Victorville and Lompoc Federal Prisons, I have participated in and completed over 55 college courses, personal development and self-help classes. LIST COLLEGE COURSES
According to Michael:
When I was a kid, I was classically trained by my next-door neighbor, Mrs. Payne, as a pianist. In elementary school, I was active in various school productions. While in Junior High I acted in plays, joined the school band, and learned how to play various instruments, including the Trombone and Drums. When I attended college, I was enrolled in numerous acting classes, improv, drama, you name it, I took it. One of my first business ventures was a music studio called, “Jingle Factory,” a company that specialized in creating radio commercials for local businesses.
I was also mentored by Eric Monte on script writing. Monte was the creator and writer of the urban classic cult hit “Cooley High,” and the hit TV series, “Good Times.” He had taken out time to help me write an urban film entitled: “Crenshaw Boulevard,” a story highlighting growing up in the urban community in Los Angeles in the ’80s. During this time, I was negotiating a deal to manage the up and coming comedian Robin Harris (no relation). I met with Michael Shultz and his wife, and the directing team of the urban flick “Car Wash,” about directing my film. So, later an opportunity afforded me to get involved with a venture to help produce the play “Checkmates,” with Angel Gibbs. It was just about connecting the dots for me. While watching the TV and movie industry, I didn’t see a lot of my brothers and sisters in front of or behind the cameras.
However, I still believed in the dream, the day when African-Americans would share in an equal playing field. That’s where I came in, I wanted to be the one who would provide employment in the entertainment field to those who simply lacked an opportunity. I brought the passion, skill-sets, and capital necessary to make it all come together. In the arts, African-American talent was ever present, and regardless of the artist genre, I was prepared to make it happen.
My interest in the theatre was sparked at the Inner City Cultural Center where I first encountered the play, “Checkmates,” In 1986/87. I was inspired to form, “YNot Productions”. Under this company, I produced two plays, “Checkmates” and Stepping into Tomorrow, “co-written by Yolanda King and Attallah Shabazz, which featured performances by the daughters of Harry Belafonte, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Sidney Poitier. “Checkmates” opened at the Westwood Playhouse to critical acclaim and then toured the country with cast members Vanessa Williams, Denzel Washington, Rudy Dee, and Paul Winfield and other great stage performers.
My objective was to produce shows that entertained, invoked thought and depicted positive images, especially for people of color. Under my production company, Y-Not Production, I partnered with the Nederlander Organization, which owned and operated 11 Broadway theatres in New York and operated the largest legitimate theatre chain in the world. The reason for the name, “Y-Not Productions,” was because all the so-called experts kept telling me it couldn’t work, it couldn’t be done. I said simply “Y-Not” During the run of Checkmates,” at the Westwood Playhouse, I negotiated and purchased the film rights from the plays creator and writer Ron Milner.
Unfortunately, it was during this time, one of the high points of my life, that I was arrested and sent to prison; all the while “Checkmates” went on to premiere on Broadway. I was the first African American to ever finance and produce a Broadway play.
While at San Quentin I was trained in the art and style of journalistic writing by a team of top-notch retired professional newspaper journalists, who also assisted me along with a selected group of prisoners, to bring the “San Quentin News” out of a twenty-year hiatus. I served as editor-in-chief from 2008-2011, helping to make it the #1 prisoner-produced newspaper in the world. (www.sanquentinnews.com).
In addition to my work on the newspaper, throughout my prison experience, I have taken creative and screenwriting classes, and penned two short stories, “Nightmares and Daydreams,” and “Motherland 2035,” for the book series “Brothers in Pen.”
Steps I Have Taken to Live a Life of Conscience and Character in Prison:
Without a commutation of my sentence, life in prison for me is, quite simply, 40 years of my life. If I am to find self-worth and meaning in life, I must find it here. With that in mind, and to prove to myself and others that I can lead a meaningful existence even while in prison. I have worked hard and in good faith to make something of myself — to have self-respect and earn the respect of others.