Kenneth E. Hartman

"Making the world I live in a better place remains my goal and focus"

Good Works


Mother California
A Prisoners Purpose
Seeking Peace
The Trouble With...
Inmates Could Help...
The Recession...
Absent Voice Of...
Words Also Matter In Prison
Good Works
Prison As a Metaphor For Modern Society
Prisoners And The Media



Kenneth E. Hartman


Though it often seems impossible to affect the world from inside prison, my experiences have proven the power of personal transformation is limitless.  I have developed an unshakeable faith that has sustained me, nurtured me, and given me the determination to work for real change. 

I grew up in Californiaís jails and prisons.  Since I turned 16, Iíve been out a total of 86 days; Iím 45 now.  I learned all the wrong things Ė rage, selfishness, self-loathing.  The road ahead looked bleak until I was told I would die from an incurable illness.  Itís odd how a misdiagnosis woke me up from my self-imposed unconsciousness.  I havenít looked back. 

In the years since, more than 20 now, I have known love and joy and a growing sense of my purpose in this life.  I have been published all over the world, making friends who find truth in my experiences.  I have held my own beautiful child in my arms, and felt an ineffable psychic connection that resonates still.  All of this while serving a life without parole sentence for murder. 

Several years ago I wrote a proposal for what became the Honor Program at this prison.  Based on the simple, but revolutionary, idea that prisoners, if given the chance and encouragement, want to live meaningful lives.  Five years after implementation, and against some opposition from the usual places, this maximum-security yard functions, essentially, without violence. 

Honor Program participants counsel at-risk youth, donate beautiful artwork to local charities, and build toys for disadvantaged children.  We, who have worked to make this reality, believe the possibilities are endless; we believe the Honor Program can transform the prison system.  More fundamentally, we believe we can change the world, one heart at a time.


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