Give Nathaniel Criss a chance to help others

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            My name is Nathaniel Criss. I am posting this in hope of support for a sentence commutation. I am currently sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. My request to Governor Jerry Brown will be for a sentence commutation of 25 years to life. This will make me eligible for a parole board hearing after serving 25 years.

            I am incarcerated for a murder I committed in 1997, at the age of 18, that was both senseless and cowardly. The young man wo I murdered (I will keep his name out for the privacy of his family), was also only 18 years of age. He was a son, a brother, a friend, and an 18-year-old with a long future ahead of him, a future that he was entitled to. When I murdered him, I took him from his family, his friends and his future. He did not deserve for me to take his life; his family and friends did not deserve their suffering and loss, nor did the community members deserve the exposure to the fear from this tragedy in their neighborhoods.

            I had many issues that led me to be able to commit such an unforgivable act against another human being. I needed outside help. The more help I received, the more I was able to understand who I was and what I needed to address about myself. This was important to me in my change into becoming a productive member in an environment, whether it be in prison or a free community. I have made a solemn commitment to never again become that socially numb person I once was, so that I never create another victim.

            This same inspiration has led me to become passionate about education and to share all that I have learned with others, through the various roles of mentoring that I have been able to participate in. I have been able to be a part of the positive culture that does exist in prison. This prosocial culture empowered me to acquire to A.A.’s with a 3.2 G.P.A. from Coastline Community College, with majors in Social and Behavioral Sciences and American Studies. I have also earned 2 certificates of Career Preparation in Alcohol and Drug Studies that has certified me as a Drug Specialist I and II from Palo Verde Community College.

            I have given back to community in prison through leadership roles in various programs such as: Criminal & Gang Members Anonymous (Yard Facilitator), Alternatives to Violence Project (Yard Coordinator/Team Coordinator), Inmate Peer Education Program (Lead Facilitator), Actors’ Gang Prison Project (Le Responsible), Straight Life Program (Youth Mentor) and Addiction Counseling Program (Lead Counselor).

            Currently, I am enrolled in the last class to obtain my Certificate of Achievement for Alcohol and Drug Studies, which will qualify me to take the Alcohol and Other Drug State Certification exam. Also, I am an Offender Mentor Certification Program (OMCP) recruit, training to become a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor. This will provide me a career in counseling and educate me about counseling theories, interventions, the stages of change, motivational interviewing and special topics that highlight gender, cultural, ethical and social issues.

            My intention is to present all this information, along with all the insight I have learned about myself, to Governor Jerry Brown. I am asking for your support to only achieve the opportunity to go before the Board of Parole Hearings, so I can be a productive member of society.

            Thank you for your time and support.




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