John Cumbee, by Cheryl Wurst

My friend John has been in captivity for 27 years for a crime he did not commit in a county he was not in at the time of the offense. Even though he was a public servant with no criminal history, he was given a natural life sentence in a politically motivated prosecution.

While in custody, he has successfully completed two comprehensive bible study courses and has earned 61 college credit hours toward his associate degree which he will receive this year. He has also completed 5 certificate courses through DePaul University (2), North Western University (2), and the Northeastern Prison Neighborhood Arts Project (1). He is a member of 2 DePaul University think tanks and has been instrumental in writing legislation to create the Re-entering Citizens Civics Education Act. He has also authored a paper on felony disenfranchisement and prison gerrymandering.

While confined, John has held many jobs that taught him skills in data entry, industrial food service, the garment industry, and floor maintenance. He has earned the trust and respect of his supervisors at these assignments.

John hopes to one day put his education and vocational skills to work if he is blessed to be paroled and to once again be a productive member of society.