James White was a Jewish, highly decorated Vietnam Veteran. In 1981, he killed the violent ex-husband of his wife, who was threatening them. At that time, PTSD was not studied or talked about. He was given a life without parole sentence. During his 38 years incarcerated, White pushed the prison administration to begin a college program in Ironwood State Prison in Southern California, which educated over 1500 men, setting them up to do well once they were released. He served as both a college counselor and mentor and often, surrogate father and grandfather to these men, pushing them further than they ever thought possible. He also raised over $300,000 dollars for various charities during that time. Two years ago, he was transferred to the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, and J. The Jewish News of Northern California was contacted by the Chabad rabbi who had been the Jewish chaplain in Ironwood, asking if they might be interested in his story. Editor Sue Fishkoff asked freelance Jewish journalist Alix Wall if she would be interested in writing about White. Wall’s story about him came out in March, 2018, and a few months later, an investigator from then Governor Jerry Brown’s office came to see White. It took two full years to happen, but White was released from prison on Jan. 21, 2020. Join us to hear more about White’s remarkable story and the role Wall played in his release.
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