Based on a book by award-winning Bay Area journalist and radio producer Nancy Mullane, “Life after Murder: Five men in search of redemption” follows the lives of five men who were convicted of murder, through their parole processes and reintegration into society.
With a backdrop of panoramic views of San Francisco Bay obscured by barred windows, life-sized portraits of the men by San Francisco photographer Elizabeth Fall line the walls of the former prison’s main dining hall. The exhibit also includes a video, profiles of the men featured in the book, and a special speaker series.
None of the men profiled served time on Alcatraz; their sentences began years after the island penitentiary was shuttered in 1963. According to National Park Service Ranger Dan Unger, only a dozen former Alcatraz inmates are known to still be alive – some of whom remain incarcerated. Unger estimated them to be in their 80s. The men of Mullane’s book served their time at San Quentin Prison in San Rafael.
Four of the five men profiled in the book were in attendance for the exhibit’s opening Aug. 25, and each had a chance to address the audience.
Donald Cronk spent 27 years in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder in 1984. Cronk went through six parole hearings before being released in 2008. “We don’t forget about the victims we created,” Cronk said. “They’re an integral part of our lives. Society, as a whole, doesn’t understand that. They think we’re these monsters that do these terrible things and then we laugh and go on our way. That is not the case.”
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