Newsworks.org
January 8, 2014

If you thought you would die behind bars, what would it be like to suddenly be sprung from prison? One Philadelphia man has found surprises and success over the last two years since his life sentence was commuted.

Tyrone Werts is an ex-offender to whom many people point as proof that someone who was sent to prison can come out and use his experiences to become an asset to the city where he lives.

To see Werts on the street now, you would never guess he spent 36 years in prison — let alone that he lived those years in a cell fully expecting to never get out.

Former Pa. Gov. Ed Rendell commuted Werts’ sentence along with those of two others sentenced to life for roles in murders that took place in Philadelphia in the 1970s. Werts was serving life for acting as the getaway driver in the 1975 murder of a man in North Philadelphia. Werts was 24 at the time.

By the time Rendell commuted Werts’ sentence, and he walked free, he was old enough to be the grandfather of the young man who’d walked into prison all those years ago. While behind bars, Werts vowed that he would use his experiences for good if he were ever released. Those who know his story say he has kept his promise.

Read More