He Left Prison 12 Years Early After Connecting With His Childhood Friend

pen on top of letter writing paper
Zain Murdock
May 11, 2022

They were just two kids from different Maryland neighborhoods. But when 22-year-old Brandon Harris wrote to his childhood friend, 23-year-old Sura Sohna, the days of playing video games after school were no more – Sohna was now serving a 15-year sentence in prison.

When Sohna got Harris’ first letter in response, he was amazed. “I felt like … [prison] was going to define me and make the worst of me,” he explained, describing feeling “secluded” from the love in the world. 

And while Harris gave Sohna kindness, Sohna gave Harris perspective.

As a kid, Sohna experienced poverty, violence, and unbelievable responsibility. “...if our life circumstances were flipped, I might also be behind bars,” Harris realized. 

This inspired him to start an independent-study project at his college about Sohna’s life – which eventually transformed into both friends speaking at a hearing for Sohna in court.

As a result, on February 8, 2022, Sohna learned he was coming home – 12 years early! He now has a therapist, has reconnected with his father, and is hoping to work in film production after getting his GED. When he walked out of court, he was surrounded by love.

Prisons are intentionally brutal and unkind. But like Harris, we can all take it upon ourselves to remind incarcerated people of the kindness they deserve. Freedom can start with writing one letter!

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