Congressman Leo Ryan, who was murdered while investigating Jonestown in 1978, had a record of directly looking into his constituents’ concerns. As an assemblyman, he investigated the conditions of California prisons in 1970 by using a pseudonym to enter Folsom Prison as an inmate.
For the Australian footballer, see Leo Ryan (footballer).
Leo Joseph Ryan Jr. (May 5, 1925 – November 18, 1978) was an American teacher and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the U.S. Representative from California’s 11th congressional district from 1973 until his assassination as part of the Jonestown massacre in 1978.
After the Watts Riots of 1965, Assemblyman Ryan took a job as a substitute school teacher to investigate and document conditions in the area. In 1970, he decided to investigate the conditions of California prisons. While presiding as chairman of the Assembly committee that oversaw prison reform, he used a pseudonym to enter Folsom Prison as an inmate. During his time in Congress, Ryan traveled… Continue Reading