Kenneth E. Hartman

Kenneth E. Hartman is a critically acclaimed writer and prison activist who served thirty-eight years of a life sentence without the possibility of parole before his sentence was commuted in 2017. While incarcerated, Ken penned essays for the New York Times and Harper’s Magazine, won a John Templeton Foundation 2004 Power of Purpose award, and published his 2009 memoir, Mother California: A Story of Redemption Behind Bars, which won the 2010 Eric Hoffer Award. As a prison activist, he helped to initiate the Honor Program at the prison in Lancaster, led a prisoner-initiated and organized effort to end the sentence of life without the possibility of parole, co-founded the Board of Trustees of Lifer’s Education Fund, and was invited to be a charter member of the National Advisory Board of Californians United for a Responsible Budget.  Ken is dedicated to prison and justice reform, and ensuring that all people living in California prisons have access to high-quality, meaningful programming.