Wrongfully convicted Hakim Crampton recalls his generation was told while growing up that “We were going to be dead or in prison. And we believed it,” he said to reporter Ashley Graham of WLNS in Jackson Michigan.
Crampton was in prison for 15 years until he was granted parole after proving his innocence.
Like the biblical man Joseph, who rebuked false accusations and wound up working for the authorities, Crampton is now closely aligned with the same judicial system that wrongfully convicted him.
Ten years after his release, Crampton, 46, now sits on Michigan’s Indigent Defense Commission becoming the first formerly incarcerated person to sit on a judicial branch commission.
During those 10 years, Crampton worked with schools in his hometown of Jackson and throughout the state of Michigan to establish a program called SLAM, which helped children improve work habits through poetry and lyrics.
Initiating SLAM helped Crampton rebuild his reputation. While earning praise at the state’s educational level, he never quit advocating for others who struggled to get out of and remain out of the prison cycle.
As he helped others adjust to free lives, people noticed and now he has a new role that may help free a lot more.
“By having a seat at the table, it gives a voice to that critical experience, that directly impacted experience that can help shape and reshape the criminal system,” Crampton told Graham.
The newest member of the Indigent Defense Commission will tackle similar topics he has faced during his own experience in the criminal justice system. These goals include addressing the parole system and ending the school-to-prison pipeline.
He considers this “a time in which everyone pretty much, both bipartisan, Democrats and Republicans, realize that our system is failing so many people.”