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Pat Nolan
Pat Nolan is Vice President of Prison Fellowship, and leads their
criminal justice and public policy reform arm, Justice Fellowship works with government officials to fix the criminal justice system. Nolan says, “Prisons are for people that we’re afraid of, but we’ve filled them with people we’re just mad at.”

Pat was the Republican Leader of the California State Assembly for
four years and spent a total of 15 years in the CA legislature. He was convicted of accepting a campaign contribution that turned out to be part of an FBI sting. He spent 29 months in federal custody, and saw the prison system from a very different perspective.

A 5th generation Californian, Pat went to USC both undergraduate and
law school. He is proud to have ridden as Tommy Trojan in the 1974
Rose Parade.

Entries by Pat Nolan

Conservative and Liberals Join Together for Criminal Justice Reforms

(14) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 3:49 PM

For many years, crime was a divisive issue, with bitter partisan battles featured in elections for decades. Now, however, the politics of crime has changed dramatically. Increasingly, left and right are joining together to press for fundamental reforms in our criminal-justice system. This unity of purpose was clearly evident at...

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The Other Execution

(0) Comments | Posted September 26, 2011 | 11:32 AM

While most of the press was focused on last week's execution of Troy David in Georgia, the same night another prisoner was executed halfway across the country in Texas. Most people remember the crime the second man committed, but not his name. It was Lawrence Brewer, and he was one...

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All Children Need the Love of Their Father

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2011 | 12:52 PM

Whether it's a greeting card, phone call, or gift of a new gadget, Father's Day gives us a chance to express our thanks to our fathers. This week I am particularly thankful for the blessing my children are to me -- not because of the thoughtful note or the hedge...

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Meeting the Needs of Crime Victims

(1) Comments | Posted April 14, 2011 | 3:27 PM

Crime harms people, and it should be our goal to repair that damage. The needs of victims of crime are often ignored in our justice system. Most offenders are not held accountable to repay their victims. That's because our criminal justice system defines crime as an offense against the state,...

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Conviction: Sister's Long Struggle Against Injustice

(1) Comments | Posted October 19, 2010 | 1:54 PM

It is rare for Hollywood to invest big money in movies about social justice. So, it is exciting that Fox Searchlight Pictures made Conviction, casting such extraordinary talent as Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell and Minnie Driver. Conviction is the true story of Betty Anne Waters (Swank),...

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Left and Right Join to Fight Prison Rape

(1) Comments | Posted August 17, 2010 | 3:44 PM

Ending prison rape is a cause that brought together an unlikely group of organizations which are usually doing combat with each other. Leaders of groups from the left and right gathered to call attention to their letter which presses Attorney General Holder to speed up the process for adopting standards...

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Children of Prisoners: Innocent and At Risk

(3) Comments | Posted October 28, 2009 | 3:46 AM

It is estimated that 1.7 million children in the United States have a father or mother behind prison bars. Even though these children have done nothing wrong, they are frequently stigmatized by shame, poverty and family instability. As a result, these children often suffer poor school performance and behavioral and...

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Stop Shackling Inmate Mothers

(2) Comments | Posted October 15, 2009 | 8:04 AM

Most people react with disbelief when I tell them that many women inmates are shackled to the hospital bed during labor. I, too, was shocked when I first learned that this barbaric practice continues in American prisons. Sadly, it is not a rare occurrence. I think most Americans would be...

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Senator Kennedy and the Animated Discourse of Liberty

(1) Comments | Posted August 29, 2009 | 12:25 PM

When I was growing up, my family thought Teddy Kennedy was the closest thing to the devil incarnate. His politics were way too liberal for the Nolans, and as Catholics we were embarrassed by his personal failings. But God has a sense of humor, and years later I found myself...

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Behind the Prison RIot in California

(32) Comments | Posted August 12, 2009 | 11:38 PM

The bloody riot at California's prison at Chino raged for for long hours, injuring 175 inmates, with 55 with such serious wounds that they were rushed to local hospitals. 16 inmates were still hospitalized on Monday. Inmates suffered vicious stab and head wounds as prisoners attacked each other with makeshift...

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11 year olds don't belong in adult prisons - ever!

(2) Comments | Posted August 6, 2009 | 4:45 AM

Would you put this 11 year old in an adult prison for the rest of his life?


Prosecutors in Pennsylvania have charged an 11year old boy as an adult for murdering his father's girlfriend. They have said that they intend to ask...

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Getting Serious About Prison Rape

(14) Comments | Posted July 21, 2009 | 1:34 PM

Women raped while in prisons in Michigan won a huge victory with the state providing $100 million to settle their claims. This settlement is not only a vindication for these women, who were raped while in the custody of the government, but also solid evidence that prison rape will...

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California Keeps Prison Population High But Cuts Treatment Programs

(18) Comments | Posted July 14, 2009 | 10:21 AM

As California's irresponsible leaders have reduced the Golden State to issuing IOU's, one would think they would be looking to the prison budget as a place to save money. The state spends over $10 billion a year on prisons. That's 11% of the general fund! But so far significant reforms...

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