Michael Munn

The impacts of incarceration are not only felt by the person behind bars, but it also impacts their loved ones. When Michael Munn's brother was sentenced to life in prison, it affected his entire family. Now, he's using his experience to criminal justice reform efforts.

Related to: Incarceration, Sentencing Reform, Collateral Consequences

Michael Munn grew up in a small town in a rural community in middle Tennessee, as part of a large Catholic family with nine brothers and sisters. He’s now a Research Engineer at Google focusing on machine learning and artificial intelligence. Last year, Michael co-authored a book on Explainability methods in AI. This publication is particularly important in contexts like healthcare, finance, and criminal justice, where AI systems are increasingly being used to make important decisions that can have significant impacts on people’s lives. Rather than receive royalties from the book sales, Michael decided to have the proceeds donated to The Sentencing Project.

The issue of criminal justice reform has personal importance to Michael because his older brother was convicted at age 18 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. This experience was devastating for Michael and his family.

“We had no idea…how to navigate an overly complex and biased justice system. It was nothing our family (or any family) could have been prepared for and we didn’t have the resources or wherewithal to handle what was happening,” said Michael.

For a long time, Michael’s family felt powerless, not knowing what questions to ask or where to begin. Learning about The Sentencing Project and its work gave Michael inspiration and hope. He decided to get involved to not only help his brother, but to also provide support for the thousands of other families in similar situations. The Sentencing Project’s work on Second Look is especially important to Michael and his family.

“Unduly long sentences are unnecessary and it’s ruined my brother’s life as well as ours. My mom often points out that even though my brother is the one in lock up, we all are as well,” said Michael.

“I’m continually inspired by the work being done at The Sentencing Project and I’m proud to support that effort in any way I can…I’ve seen firsthand the devastating effects of an unfair and unjust legal system that is often stacked against the most vulnerable and those least equipped…if I can do even a tiny bit to help decrease the burden and heartache that families like mine have had to experience then I’m happy,” he added.

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