Pulitzer Center Update May 18, 2022

Behind 'Facing Life'

Melvin Smith stands outside his childhood home in Compton, California.


Facing Life

"Facing Life" is a multimedia project focused on the struggles of recently paroled people.

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Multiple Authors

After decades in prison, how does one re-enter society? How does life look and feel? What guidance do returning citizens receive?

In recent years, California's reforms — such as Prop. 36, Prop. 57, SB-260, and SB-1437 — have led to the release of people who previously had little-to-no-realistic shot at freedom.

In 2018, Pulitzer Center grantees Pendarvis Harshaw and Brandon Tauszik set out across California to profile and follow the re-entry experiences of eight former lifers. The result is Facing Life, a multimedia digital documentary project.

A community discussion, recorded on May 11, 2022, was anchored by the testimonies of Myra Burns and Fahim Reese, who were profiled in Facing Life. The conversation was moderated by Alexandra Bailey, End Life Imprisonment Strategist at The Sentencing Project.