After Four Years Behind Bars, Duke Becomes A Prison Reform Advocate


Duke Cunningham, former congressman and current convict (and the inspiration for the Golden Dukes), is halfway through his eight year prison sentence. And he wants to make a change.

“Maybe that’s why God put me here, to bring about much needed prison reform,” Cunningham wrote in a letter to San Diego City Beat.

“The USA has more prisoners than any other nation, including Russian & China,” he writes. “The US Attorneys win 98% of their cases and if you do not plead in which 80-90% is not true they threaten your wife children etc with prison time.”

Cunningham’s numbers are slightly off. The U.S. Department of Justice’s 2009 statistics show that federal prosecutors won 94.1 percent of cases. In 96 percent of those convictions, the defendant pleaded guilty before trial. The difference doesn’t affect Cunningham’s point.

[…]”Millions of prisoners but 4x that in families are harmed.”

Cunningham is staying in a minimum security prison in Tucson, Ariz., which is adjacent to a maximum security facility. He’s there for accepting $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors in exchange for shuttling contracts their way. (One of those contractors, in fact, is raking in the dough while out on bail.)

Cunningham also wrote that he’s been teaching fellow prisoners working toward their GEDs.

“[Too] many students have severe learning disabilities from either drugs or genetic[s],” he wrote, according to CityBeat. “During the past 4 years only one of my students was unable to graduate–I taught him life skills, using a calculator to add, subtract, [multiply and divide]. This way he could at least balance a check book.”

Cunningham, a former Navy fighter pilot, signed the letter, “Check six & God bless, Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham.”

(H/T Washington Independent)