Lane Garrison
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Lane Garrison

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States
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The best kept secret in music

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Former “Prison Break” actor Lane Garrison found himself locked up in real life after he was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in 2007.

Garrison opened up on the “Today” show Monday about what life was like behind bars.

“You have to trust that one of these guys, when you close your eyes, isn’t just going to wake up in the middle of the night, pull you off your rack and beat you with a lock or stab you,” Garrison, who was shuffled between eight prisons during his sentence, recalled.

“If you speak to anyone who’s ever done time, the fact that you make it out of there alive is a miracle. It’s like a bomb went off inside; it’s your worst nightmare,” he told “Today’s” Matt Lauer. “Your hardcore gang members are there, and the guards are pretty hard there as well. I probably saw about 300 fights; I had a bunkie who was killed; I saw people stabbed.”

Garrison believes the reason he wasn’t harmed was because of a “guardian angel.”

“I’d be sitting there on the yard and someone sitting right next to me would literally just get clocked and I was never touched,” he recalled. “It’s by the grace of God that I’m sitting here with you today.”

Nonetheless, Garrison said he “100 percent” needed to be behind bars.

The actor was 26 when he decided to attend a high-school party that led to a fatal car crash. He had some drinks before climbing into a car with three teens, and according to “Today,” his blood-alcohol level was double the legal limit. Garrison crashed into a tree, killing a 17-year-old passenger.

That night “was a night of bad decisions. I had two drinks, downed two shots…bottom line, I should’ve never been at that party; I should’ve never had drinks in my system; I should’ve never drove,” Garrison said.

“I think for me I’d been through so much; I’d just lost both my parents, and I felt like, nothing else bad can happen. The message is simple here – with drinking and driving, most people don’t have an intent to hurt somebody, but it happens and it can happen to anybody.”

Garrison was released on good behavior in 2009, and said he’s speaking out now to help others learn from his mistakes.

“I grew up learning from a father who said when you make a mistake or you make a bad decision, you man up and take responsibility. The minute I decided to plead guilty was the minute that everything changed in my life,” the actor, who has appeared on NBC’s “The Event,” told Lauer. “Going through 8 prisons, I never thought I’d make it out to see another set. I’m fortunate enough to get a second chance when a young man doesn’t have one, so I’m going to make the most of it.”
- CNN Entertainment


In 2006, actor Lane Garrison, then best known for his role on “Prison Break,” made 26 minutes worth of terrible, tragic decisions.

At a supermarket near his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., he accepted an invitation from
star-struck high schoolers to go to a party. He went, he drank and then he left the party with three teens to get more alcohol. While driving, Garrison jumped a curb in his Land Rover at about 50 mph and hit a tree. The accident killed Vaughn Setian, a 17-year-old Beverly Hills High School student, and injured two 15-year-old girls.

When the time came to go to trial, Garrison did something you don’t often see celebrities do: he owned up to his actions. On May 21, 2007, he pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter, drunken driving and providing alcohol to a minor. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison. For the first time since his 2009 release, the actor spoke about the experience Monday, on TODAY with Matt Lauer.

But Garrison has more to say about his experiences. He wants young people to know what life is really like behind bars and that not being able to contact the Setian family has been one of the most difficult parts of the experience.

“I wish I could have talked a little bit more about what life was like inside prison so that people could understand the consequences of their actions. Really see what’s going on inside of a prison, inside of a jail — which obviously I put myself in,” Garrison said after his TODAY interview. “Waking up in a cell covered in ants and roaches. Being tortured by guards. Not having anything but four walls. One of the things about jail that’s weird is that you’re sent to a place where you’re supposed to sit there and think about your actions and their consequences and why you’re there. And I think now, it turns more into — the minute you go there, it’s just
survival.”

Survival is one thing. Knowing you’re wholly responsible for a family’s grief is an added challenge. “There’s a family that doesn’t have their son. The least of my worries was doing jail time. The whole notion that I was responsible for someone losing their life, that’s what really ate me up inside,” Garrison
said. “This is something that I am never going to get over, they’re never going to get over.”

Getting through prison — eight different prisons, in fact — was something Garrison did by making the choice to be a “bright light in a dark place.”

“These people were in so much pain, no matter what crime they committed — and I
didn’t ask, because in there you’re all the same. You’re a number, not a name. Most
guys can’t leave, they can’t write, their parents were drug dealers and they were doing drops for them on their way to school by the time they were 11 years old. They’ve never had one chance, let alone two,” Garrison said.

“There were days in there that I felt, ‘how can I help these guys?’” At one point the actor organized a talent show. As president of the substance abuse program at one prison, he was able to use the program’s budget to get a Thanksgiving dinner delivered. Garrison recalls the reaction he got afterward: “There was a man over in the corner and he calls me over and is sobbing. He’d been locked up for 15 years. And he said ‘I want to thank you so much for doing this for us. Just the smell of real food gave me back all the memories of my family that I’d forgotten. I haven’t smelled
real food in 15 years.’ And there are days like that that I’d think, I’m in here for a reason.”

Through all of this, Garrison wishes that he could have contact with the family of the
young man he killed. Through his attorneys, he has reached out to the family. During the trial, Garrison was ordered to not make contact with the victims, which was difficult for him.

“It was eating me up inside. I literally wanted to scream. Walking into a courtroom and having the family right there and not being able to say anything literally made me go insane,” he recalled. “I just wanted to scream and say this is who I am; this is who I’m not. If you want to slap me, punch me, whatever. I
just wanted some kind of contact with them. Ipray to God that over time, that will
happen.”

In the meantime, Garrison is moving forward with his life, but that too is taking time. After his April 29, 2009, release, it took him about a year to be able to function on a level close to normal, much less work. “My nervous system was shot. You’re desensitized after, by all that you’ve seen. And as an actor, that’s the worst thing you can be. To be a good actor you have to feel life, and observe life.
And it felt like I came back from war. It took me about a year to adapt, to hug someone, to be able to tell someone I love you. Or even be able to hold a coffee cup. Post-prison, I was jittery.”

Garrison is currently appearing on a multi-episode arc on “The Event,” his first
television work since his release (he’s also written a screenplay, “One Heart,” and
participated in “Graduation - TODAY.com


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

From Prison Break to prison and back, Lane Garrison is living a real life hero’s journey. Growing up in a broken home in Dallas, Texas, Lane learned at an early age that if he wanted to achieve success in life he was going to have to work hard, follow his heart and believe in himself. After losing both of his parents to illness, Lane and his little sister Amelia were forced to endure a challenging road to make ends meet. Amelia was taken away by the state and placed in an orphanage as Lane worked as a janitor at a local church while living with friends. Lane had always dreamed of being in the movie business and was saving every dime he could to follow that dream. With $400 dollars, a suitcase of clothes and his car, Lane left Texas for Hollywood, promising his little sister that he would make it big and come back to get her.

Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Lane was overwhelmed by the size of the city and the business that was not usually fond of outsiders. It did not deter Lane, he was in it for the long haul and worked countless jobs to pay for acting school as well as studying the art of screen writing.

After years of hard work, Lane’s passion and raw talent won him a starring role in Fox TV Series PRISON BREAK as 'Tweener.' His other acting credits include 'Donnie' in Paramount's SHOOTER opposite Mark Wahlberg. He also starred as the lead playing ‘Heir’ in the critically acclaimed indie QUALITY OF LIFE, and the Hank Garland film CRAZY.

As a screenwriter, Lane has sold two feature films: the romantic comedy CHASING FATE for Maverick Films (with co-writer Mark Famiglietti) and SUCCUBUS, a horror comedy at MGM.

While all of these accomplishments might seem like a fete, Lane faced the greatest challenge of his life when he got involved in a drunk driving accident, leaving a family without their only son. Knowing the grief he caused, Lane pled guilty and found himself going from playing a role on Prison Break to living a real life behind bars. Lane spent two years at eight different prisons in the state of California. This is his story, real, honest and raw. Since this ordeal he has re-branded himself and has dedicated his career to helping people make better life decisions.