Sara Kruzan, Parole Success Advocate, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole when she was 17 years old. Her sentence was commuted by Governor Schwarzenegger and she was found suitable for parole after serving 19 years. Sara has engaged in healing dialogue, mindfulness, somatic healing, writing, and bringing her deep wisdom and healing energy back to women and men inside ever since.
“Defy one’s belief that the impossible can never be possible.”
Having experienced layers of trauma, I know there is deep value and appreciation in healing, and having the desire and courage to heal.
I am often asked how I was able to sustain my spirit through many years serving a Life Without Parole sentence. What comes to mind is the book by Viktor Frankl “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist who survived his imprisonment in the Auschwitz concentration camp during WWII. I read his book several times and it cultivated a sense of drive and determination within my spirit. It made me realize that one has a choice to choose to live free from within.
Having fluid thinking shifted my reality. Reality reflectiveness released me from the fear of the unknown. Acceptance motivated in me an innate desire to give back and build community; a community within confinements and dehumanizing day to day trauma. I began to share my insights with the other women and helped them see that their environment did not have to define them. This led me to create a curriculum I called “Free from Within.” 90 women joined for the first session. I found myself inspiring and being inspired by the voices and intentions of those I met, expressing and reflecting a human kindness approach to social change, and this created bonding within my community, both inside the trauma of imprisonment and with my community on the outside.
Since my release of nearly 20 years of incarceration, there continues to be an invisible lifeline to the ladies who are still confined. I like to defy people’s belief that the impossible can never be possible and share that inner healing is vital to OUR overall healing. Today I am intentionally positioned alongside others who are rooted in principles that are devoted to the healing and wellness of our communities. To share, encourage and inspire others who are incarcerated and who are transitioning out. I’m actively involved in policy reform advocacy around the protection of victims of sex trafficking and ending juvenile life without parole sentencing on a national level. My core mission is to empower and offer awareness for independent and interdependent skills to those who have been dehumanized. To remind our fellow human beings who are and were incarcerated, they too have all that is needed to be leaders.