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This Side of Freedom: Life After Clemency Paperback – April 8, 2016
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The Wall Street Journal - Dec. 30th , 2016 "Anthony Papa, who was pardoned Friday, was convicted of drug charges in1985. While he has been out of prison since 1997, he said he views the pardon as a vindication. It also removes some barriers that come with a criminal record...
FOX 5 News - Reporter Jenn Lahmers " Anthony Papa is an example of how the presidential pardoning system works well. In the mid 80s Papa was strapped for cash and described doing what he said was the biggest mistake of his life-- agreeing to run an envelope with 4.5 oz of cocaine to someone he had never met. It turns out that someone was a participant in an undercover police sting, Papa was arrested and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. While at Sing-Sing he earned a degree and read as many books as he could. In 1997 he was pardoned by Gov. Pataki and for the last 10 years has remained one of the state's biggest advocates against mass incarceration...
The Stone Cold Truth Radio Show - Roger Stone famous political advisor and #1 author on the NY Times best selling interviewed Tony Papa says: "This Side of Freedom is a terrific piece of work. I am very excited about it and wish everyone can read it!"
The New York Daily News 1/9/17 - Governor Andrew Cuomo says ""He is a living example of the inequities in the system that existed due to the Rockefeller-era drug laws and has spent more than a decade working in the pursuit of justice for others. The power of clemency is one I take very seriously, and Tony Papa's work and deeds made it clear to me he was deserving of a pardon."
ALTERNET How the Stroke of a Pen by a Governor Can Completely Change a Prisoner's Life -- Just Ask Tony Papa The power to commute prison sentences is rarely exercised,but can generate powerful results when it is, as Papa shares in his new book. ByPhillip Smith/ AlterNet February 6, 2017 This Side ofFreedom is one part memoir, one part social history, one part heart-feltmanifesto. Papa is an effective, engaging writer who tells his story indiscrete episodes and has a knack for jumping from the personal to thepolitical like a quivering quantum particle. You'll meet a range of colorfulcharacters and experience the gamut of human emotion--the highs, the lows, theennui--as you follow Papa's path.His is one portrait of life in turn-of-the-21stCentury America: mindless cruelty and brutality, mixed with racial injustice,but leavened with the will to resist. Read and ask yourself: How many otherTony Papas are out there, watching their lives tick away as they're locked inthe cells, when they could be out here helping the rest of us make our world abetter, more just and humane place?
From the Author
I wrote this book because I wanted to address the need to write a book that would provide information about returning to society after serving a longtime in prison. Carrying the stigma of being an ex-offender is often debilitating, from being denied employment and housing, to not knowing how to establish healthy relationships, life becomes exceedingly difficult. In addition, maintaining that freedom is no easy task with the haunting memories of past imprisonment. I realized that after serving a tremendous amount of time in prison upon release my prison life was deeply rooted into my present existence. I had a decade of life in an environment where survival mechanisms and behaviors were hardwired into daily existence. Being hardwired for survival was a good thing in prison it had saved my life many times. In the free world though, it was another matter, especially when these mechanisms would surface suddenly and without warning. The tools that were once lifesaving had become a tremendous burden to me as I tried to get my life back together.
Because of this I am donating this book to all State libraries that maintain prison libraries in the United States. In short with my memoir I intend to reduce mass incarceration, one life at a time. A study guide is available for free at drugpolicy.org/sites/default/files/This_Side_of_Freedom_study_guide.pdf
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I related to his outreach to celebrities. I have done similar things over the years, and to many of the same celebrities, Papa mentioned in his book. My approach was from a different angle, using a Christian evangelistic outreach by sending out letters, testimony books and on many occasions, attending court hearings with recommended referrals to Christian based treatment programs. Celebrity Outreach Once Life Matters: A New Beginning - 1st. Edition Once Life Matters: A New Beginning - 2nd. Edition
I recommend Tony Papa's book to anyone interested in prison reform and to learn what it really is like serving time. It is a very candid story on what goes on inside and once a prisoner is released into a society that is not ready to deal with the many problems an ex-con brings along with him/her once they walk out the door. I hope I can meet Tony sometime down the road. He is preaching and teaching from his heart ... and the results are there as proof.
The blessing of being in prison is at least an inmate in prison knows he or she is in prison. I've met thousands of people in the "free world" who are in a worse prison... and the amazing thing about it is they don't even know it.
Great work, Tony... may God continue to richly bless you and use you for His glory.
In his much-awaited sequel to '15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom', Anthony Papa once again shakes us to our core with an intimately powerful portrayal of what it means to carry the emotional imprisonment born behind bars and the stigma of incarceration for the rest of your life. Through personal stories about his time in prison brought by unjust, racist drug laws that he later fought hard to repeal and successfully did so, Papa eloquently expresses how incarceration does not end at the prison walls and in this sense, strikes a chord with what thousands are experiencing in today's mass incarceration system. As an artist, Papa also shares his work, which he describes as a means of survival amidst the significant challenges he faced in and out of Sing Sing at a personal level, in the workplace, with his family and as a member of society after 12 years of being seen as nothing more than a number on an inmate list. As he writes, his art "described my reality as a canvas of rage and sorrow, fear and hope."
As criminal justice reform has become a prioritized topic in national and international politics, Papa's book is more relevant than ever. It offers a striking portrayal of systematic dehumanization and the thousands of lives ruined and resources wasted by a punitive discourse fueled by a war on drugs that has utterly failed. Thank you, Papa, for sharing your story and voice as undeniable testimonies of the power of collective organization and social change. #NoMoreDrugWar!