Close

All MCPL branches will close at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 24, and will remain closed on Thursday, November 25, for Thanksgiving Day. Our Virtual Branch is available 24/7.

Back to top

Wrongfully Convicted Man Now an Advocate for Literacy in Prisons

prison

November 16, 2018

No matter where you are, or what life’s circumstances might be, reading is a powerful tool for enrichment and strength.

John Bunn’s life changed forever at 14 years old when he was wrongfully accused and convicted of murder. Apprehended in his home, Bunn was taken in for questioning, put in a lineup, and identified as one of two suspects who shot two police officers in their car. John was tried as an adult despite his young age, and his trial was hurried through the court system. His was one of many cases that ex-detective Louis Scarcella quickly pushed through illegally. Scarcella has since been disgraced for faking evidence in a number of murder cases, with the convictions now overturned.

Although John Bunn maintained his innocence throughout the next decades, he was not fully exonerated until 2016. Barely literate at the time of his conviction, Bunn taught himself to read and write in prison in order to better communicate with his family.

The ensuing years would prove to be a harrowing story of his attempts to clear his name with little help―only family support. He discovered that through reading, he could empower himself and ultimately escape the prison of his mind. Now, he wants to turn a negative into a positive by empowering others and fostering an environment of encouragement and true rehabilitation within prisons. He received his GED while in prison and founded a pro-literacy nonprofit just one year after his exoneration.

What started as a book drive is now an initiative called AVoice4TheUnheard, an organization for the empowerment of prisoners through access, materials, and dialogue. You can read more about John Bunn and his organization through the above link.

For a great fiction book about a similar story, check out:

The Man Who Came Uptown by George Pelecanos

John Bunn’s story is just one example of how we can transcend life’s challenges through literacy.

How have reading and libraries changed your life?


Michelle C.
Library-By-Mail Readers’ Advisor

Comments

Dear Sirs:

Americans have spent 22,500 YEARS in prison, many wrongfully convicted, yet very few are publicized nationally.

Many are due in part to the above reverenced topic that unless gets main street or media coverage we never hear about; and then every tom, dick and harry lawyer wants to represent them.

In any case no one wants to "DEFUND" the police but INCREASE THEIR FUNDING to assure they have the necessary available resources to properly, independently, investigate these types of claims......as soon as possible.

Someone was just released after spending 46 years in prison who was wrongfully convicted and the state wants to pay him 1.2 million dollars.....that's absurd!

Share more of their stories!

From Diane E. Perkins (not verified)
Wed, 09/09/2020 - 03:45pm

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

View All Blogs

Read Similar Blogs:
Books and Reading

Resources You May Also Like

Find Your Next Read

Get librarian-approved genre suggestions.
More Info

Pressbooks

Use this tool to format your book for publication.
More Info

Read It!

Find research support for English language learners.
More Info

Blogs You May Also Like

L’Shanah Tovah! Reads for Rosh Hashanah
Read More

L’Shanah Tovah! Reads for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration of the start of the Jewish New Year.
From the Director: Staff Recommendations and Summer Reading
Read More

From the Director: Staff Recommendations and Summer Reading

The last few weeks have been unprecedented to say the least.
Banned Books Week: Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.
Read More

Banned Books Week: Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.

The classic 1953 science fiction novel
LitUp 2019 Registration Is Now Open!
Read More

LitUp 2019 Registration Is Now Open!

We have some extremely exciting news to share today—

Was this page helpful? Yes No