First Coast News, news source
4:38 p.m. EST January 14, 2014
Video courtesy of FCN
Coming soon… Parole Hearing Audio.
Meg Pace reports on the Florida Parole Commission to consider release of inmate Bryan Sanford. UPDATE, 1/15/14: Bryan Sanford’s prison sentence was reduced on Wednesday from 125 years to 123 years. The Florida Parole Commission also agreed to moved him to the Sumter Correctional Institution in Miami. “Mr. Sanford is not a psychopath or sociopath,” Judy Thompson, of Forgotten Majority, said on Sanford’s behalf. “He’s lived in a world of 33 years of private wretchedness, more than three decades, and he survived it. That in and of itself shows a certain inner strength that many of us do not possess. We couldn’t have done the same thing.”
Original story below:
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On Wednesday, the Florida Parole Commission will consider the cases of 41 inmates eligible for parole whose crimes were committed in Northeast Florida. The parole hearings begin at 9 a.m. and the Atlantic Beach City Commission Chambers and are open to the public. One of the inmates being considered for release is Jacksonville convict Brian Sanford. Sanford was sentenced to 125 years in prison for a burglary and armed robbery of tourists in Jacksonville in August 1981.Inmates in Florida are not present for their parole hearings but can ask someone to speak on their behalf. “People have this image in their heads that it’s a ‘Shawshank Redemption’ thing with Morgan Freeman and he’s talking directly to the board of commissioners and that is far from the truth,” said Judy Thompson, of Forgotten Majority, an inmate advocacy group. On Wednesday, Thompson will speak for Sanford during his parole hearing, asking commissioners to release him after 33 years behind bars. “One-hundred twenty-five years. That’s what the courts gave him, which is really a death-in-prison sentence,” said Thompson. “The sentence is grossly disproportionate. \____________________________________________________________________________________________________// FLORIDA PAROLE COMMISSION
Although Bryan Sanford’s Presumptive Parole Release Date of 2043 was minimally decreased at the hearing, the Parole Commission’s decision to place him in the Lifer’s Program, which is a Re-entry Program, was huge. Forgotten Majority’s request to the Parole Commission was not to immediately open the door to freedom, nor was that a realistic expectation after almost 33 years of incarceration, but instead was that the Commission recommend the Lifer’s Program. From the bench, the Commissioners Cohen and Coonrod took note of Mr. Sanford’s stellar achievements and cracked open that prison door by granting him a placement in the Lifer’s Program at Sumter C. I. The Lifer’s program concentrates on the characteristic and erroneous thinking that the offender uses before, during and after the commission of his crime. It focuses on changing the way the offender thinks which leads to behavioral change. The Curriculum consists of Life Skills, Anger Management, Communications, Analyzing Emotions, Criminal Rationalization, Social Reintegration and Parole Planning. Mr. Sanford will have another hearing in two years, giving him ample time to acquire the skills that will precipitate a successful reentry.