Meet the Team


Vanessa Nelson-Sloane

Vanessa Nelson-Sloane; Director and Cofounder of Life Support Alliance;  she holds degrees from Chico State in both Political Science and Journalism, and a Paralegal Studies Certification from UC Santa Cruz (Extension). A recognized veteran of more than 25 years in the prison reform movement. Former member/ Chairperson of several Inmate Family Councils,  as well as Statewide Inmate Family Council member, she is Primarily responsible for the editorial content of all publications of LSA and program/workshop curricula. She is married to a paroled lifer, David Sloane, also active in the Prison reform movement

Board of Directors


David Sloane

Former lifer released in early 2013 after 23+ years as a life term prisoner, David brings a unique perspective to the challenges of promoting the cause of lifers and helps us focus on what is truly important to lifers and how best to engage them. His insight into the challenges of returning to society on parole is a major asset to our mission.  Although still on parole, David has been approved to return to several prisons to present LSA workshops to lifers still hoping for parole.  David is our resident IT tech and assists our organization in a variety of ways including but not limited to writing curricula and fundraising.

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Ellen Yates, Ph.D.

A Retired psychologist with CDCR, Dr. Yates holds a Ph.D. in Clinical and Developmental Psychology from U.C.L..A. Her professional insight and experience are valuable assets, both in terms of CDCR practice and clinical understanding.  Dr. Yates facilitates "The Amends Project" workshops and contributed to the formulation of the "Connecting the Dots" curriculum and the upcoming program, "Understanding Your CRA." Dr. Yates is focused on the roots and function of the Board of Parole Hearings' Forensic Assessment Division She currently serves as the Board Secretary.

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Raquel Reay

Married to a seasoned lifer who has served 23 years and is dedicated to personal change and achieving parole, Raquel brings lengthy career experience working with financial and data analysis and project management. She is our in-house "expert" on spreadsheet use and admin. She is recently Semi-retired and  applies her fine tuned skills to a broad range of tasks, including but not limited to: managing our (several) newsletter mailing lists and our volunteer mailers, and assists in managing our calendar to keep track of our prison clearances, appearances and timely returns. 

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Eugene Dey

A former 3-strikes lifer who served 15 years before his 2013 release via Prop. 36, Eugene has been a prolific litigator and writer on social injustice during his incarceration and developed a training and treatment program for self-help rehabilitation.  Eugene is a CDAC (certified drug and alcohol counselor) and forensic addiction counselor. He is currently working in the areas of policy, reentry and recovery to develop cost-effective rehabilitative programs and community partnerships. Eugene is affiliated and active with a variety of reentry and social justice organizations and holds a BA in Sociology from Cal. State University, Sacramento.


Ann Onimus, LCSW

Ann is a dedicated supporter of the Restorative Justice model  and a strong proponent for change of California's current draconian incarceration practices. She is a licensed counselor in private practice. Having worked in the CDCR Mental Health Delivery System, she has keen insight into the actual workings of that system.

Ann is instrumental in helping develop our in prison workshops to include  proven therapeutic methods to restructure beliefs and  patterns of thinking and behavior.

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Gene Hein

Gene is the father of a current life Term Prisoner who has recently been found suitable for parole.  Gene is a motivational speaker, focusing mostly on at risk youth, and the owner of a printing company. He oversees production of our bi-monthly publication, California Lifer Newsletter, with a personal interest in making sure it's of the best quality possible. Gene brings a practical perspective to the board from a business point of view. We're excited at the prospect of Gene's son's parole and the following adventure of him joining in the struggle, "outside the wire" for justice reform in California and the nation. 


Victor Abrunzo

Vic is an attorney, retired from the finance industry, and former member of the Inmate Family Council at California Institute for Women (CIW) and the Statewide Inmate Family Council in Sacramento. Vic is married to a former lifer. His passion is for incarcerated veterans and/or female prisoners and their specific issues. Vic serves as a stakeholder-member of the CDCR’s Gender Responsive Strategies committee. Vic also volunteers his time and talent as a handyman for the elderly and impoverished.  Vic's legal viewpoint in our orgqanization has been invaluable, and his keen perspective an unmateched asset. 


Kymberly Ketchum MSW

Kym is currently working as a social worker with Native American children. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work, specializing in mental and behavioral health and a B.A. in Sociology.  She is a Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor and has developed curricula for mutual aid groups for students affected by parental incarceration. Her advocacy for lifers developed over 10 years through a loved one serving a life sentence. She volunteers as a presenter with Life Support Alliance to educate lifers on family relations and reentry issues.  She has an innate talent for program development and presentation which we benefit from. 


Keith Chandler

Keith Chandler; Former lifer, who served 21 years, Keith won his freedom through court action and became a zealous advocate for change. Originally a self-educated paralegal he filed countless petitions for fellow prisoners prior to his own release through court action.  Keith became involved in campaigns for Prop. 66 and 36.  Now a law school graduate and having passed the bar he is in the process of becoming a licensed attorney. Keith’s work was the driving force behind the 2012 exoneration of Kash Register, after 34 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.  Keith helps keep us in line legally and lends his historical credentials to the movement.

Advisory Board

Jason Bryant

Jason Bryant, MA, MS, CADC II

Jason is a former lifer who served over 20 years in the CDCR and was released in 2020. While incarcerated he dedicated his time to earning a formal higher education and serving his peers through the development of several transformative programs. Jason is a state certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor who received Senatorial Recognition for his contributions to the recovery community.  In his commitment to restorative work, Jason's sentence was recognized when Gov. Newsom commuted his sentence in 2020. Today he serves as the Director of Restorative Programs for the nonprofit CROP Organization (Creating Restorative Opportunities and Programs) as well as an advisory Board member of Life Support Alliance.

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John Dannenberg

John self-studied the law while in prison over 27 years ago and fought his way out through the courts while this state's underground "No Parole for Lifers" policy was in full effect, earning John a hero's status among the lifer cohort. John has been the legal news writer for CLN for the past 10 years.  He is also well known to lifers as the subject of the iconic In Re: Dannenberg cases. John has an uncanny legal mind and his knowledge and insight are invaluable resources for LSA and CLN. In his other life, John is vice-president for business development of an electrical contracting firm, and holds BSEE (electrical Engineering) and BS, Mathematics degrees.

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Jeff Depue

Jeff is a former lifer who holds an AA degree is Social Sciences and served 16 years before being found suitable for parole at his first hearing in 2018. He earned his freedom through understanding and insight gained through years of self-help, introspection, workshops, and using the prosocial tools he learned.  Jeff’s desire to help those still inside has made him an able presenter of LSA’s Connecting the Dots and Amends Project workshops, returning inside with LSA to fulfill his goal of helping lifers understand that change and  freedom are both possible. Jeff is one of a handful of lifers still on parole whose pro-social behavior allows him to return to prisons to share his knowledge and commitment to change with others.