A daughter asks: Sign the petition for 25 Women Deserving Clemency (including my mom)

“It takes less than 3 minutes to sign, and it will mean EVERYTHING to the families involved,” says Francine Walraven,  a Native American who lost her mother, Angie Jenkins, to an outrageously long 30-year methamphetamine sentence.

Here’s No. 16 Angie and Francine when mother and daughter were young and together.

Agnie Jenkins and daughter Francine Walraven

No. 16 Angie Jenkins and young daughter Francine

See what mom and daughter look like today, apart, but still wonderful. The resemblance will startle you. read more…

Children deserve legal standing when parents are sentenced

 

Are children entitled to legal standing when parents are sentenced in criminal cases?

The current answer is “no.” The answer should be “yes.”

ChildInCourt_HiRes1

Today, the well-being of a defendant’s children is close to irrelevant in criminal courtrooms. Institutional indifference to children is official policy. This is the most profound legal error in the last 35 years, the mistake that made mass imprisonment possible.

Criminal courts produce of millions of orphans every year using procedures that weigh only the interests of adults in the courtroom. This is a profoundly ignorant way for a bureaucracy to act, pretending that removing a mother or father from a child’s life is a mere “side effect” rather than the most damaging “effect” that will occur that day.

Child deserve rights — legal rights — established in law but ignored in criminal courts.

In domestic courts, the “best interest of the children” is the trump card overriding almost all other considerations in divorce and custody cases. In criminal courts, defendant’s children are treated as trash in the back row.

This difference is legally shameful and morally indefensible.

read more…

Veterans Day: Honoring vets who are prisoners of the drug war

On Veterans Day,  let’s not forget the 500,000+ military veterans behind bars.

Some suffer from PTSD. Others have struggled with substance abuse or homelessness. Many are simply innocent victims of the nation’s long, foolish and destructive war at home, the drug war.

 For Veterans Day on Tuesday, November 11, The Clemency Report celebrate seven veterans who should be freed immediately from their drug war sentences.
read more…

Attack against Deadheads was no hallucination

Deadheads in Raybrook, N.Y., federal prison. (Date unknown.)

Deadheads in Raybrook, N.Y., federal prison. (Date unknown.)

I wrote this story 22 years ago. It seems profoundly relevant, even today. — Dennis Cauchon, editor, The Clemency Report

Attack on Deadheads is no hallucination

Band’s followers handed stiff LSD sentences

 

By DENNIS CAUCHON
USA TODAY
October 17, 1992

David Chevrette was a young free-spirited hippie. His only possessions were his clothes, a dog and a 1970 Volkswagen bus painted with peace signs. For fun, he followed the Grateful Dead rock group on concert tours. read more…

Can my daddy come home now?

A heartbroken daughter wants her dad back in time for her medical school graduation in 2016.
Michael Taylor Palmer adults recent
2014
michael and taylor palmer young

1990

By Taylor Palmer

I am as old as my father’s time behind bars.

My father was arrested January 12, 1989. Seven days later, I was born.

Like many other men, mostly black, my father is serving an unjustly long life without parole sentence in federal prison for a non-violent crack offense.

But I don’t want to tell you about his case. I want to tell you about mine. read more…

How to make a change.org petition succeed for a loved one

  PLUS: The 12 most signed clemency petitions on change.org. The 5 keys to success. Petitions on change.org are a powerful  tool for people seeking clemency. The site currently has 2.2 million signatures supporting about 40 clemency petitions.  The Clemency... read more

What a man saw in prison today…

  Luis Anthony Rivera. Ever heard of him? Of course not. Luis is an invisible human rights abuse victim, among the tens of thousands of people serving immorally long drug sentences that disgrace our nation. Luis, 57, is nearing the 30th anniversary of a life... read more

The Top 25 Women Deserving Clemency

Pauline Blake cropped

No. 21 Pauline Blake

Please sign the petition today.

The petition now has 2,000+ signatures.

Meet the women

Let’s send these people home

A medical student dreams of her father.

In 1989, Michael Palmer was convicted of running a crack business in Washington, D.C. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. His daughter, Taylor, was born seven days later. “Like every other fatherless child, I have cried myself to sleep at... read more

No. 1 Alice Marie Johnson, 59, playwright and mentor

Alice is a talented writer and performer. She is currently writing a Christmas Play entitled, “It’s Time.” Alice is already renowned for her annual Easter play and has scripted and staged her own original sequels to “Sister Act” and “Madea Comes to Carswell,” which... read more

Mandy Martinson, 37, dental hygienist, Mason City, Iowa

Mandy Martinson is serving 15 years in federal prison for helping her dealer-boyfriend in exchange for feeding her methamphetamine addiction. Mandy’s judge, unable to go below the mandatory minimum, expressed his objection to the sentence stating: “The Court does not... read more

“We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu


More news from The Clemency Report

LaVonne Roach, mom, daughter, poet, Lakota woman

Give mom a (first) chance South Dakota native LaVonne Roach, 50, a member of the Lakota Nation, has been recommended repeatedly to The Clemency Report as just the kind of gentle soul who deserves freedom from a 30-year meth sentence that makes no moral sense. Those... read more

Why I Fight For My Brother…

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Veda Ajamu, 46, a mother of three, has led a vigorous campaign for the release of her brother, Robert Shipp, who was sentenced to life in prison at age 20 for... read more

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The U.S. should release one million from prison. 

Is it really that many -- one million?

The actual number is 1,606,535. Read why.

Why don't I hear about these people?

Prison silences. Imprisoned men and women are barely real to most free people. The Clemency Report aims to change that.

 

What can I do?

Tell the story of an affected loved one. Sign the petitions at change.org to show support for nonviolent drug offenders in prison.

Tell us about someone who deserves a shorter sentence.

7 + 6 =

E-mail List

The Clemency Reports sends content updates every couple of weeks.

Already signed up?

Please sign up again! Our old list got labeled as junk mail, so we're starting anew.

The 10 Historical Uses of Clemency

1) To correct hard cases.
2) To correct unduly severe sentences.
3) For mitigating circumstances.
4) For innocence or dubious guilt.
5) In death penalty cases.
6) For physical condition.
7) To restore civil rights.
8) To prevent deportations.
9) For political purposes or reasons of state.
10) To mitigate harm to children.

What We Do

The Clemency Report seeks to identify imprisoned men and women -- and classes of imprisoned men and women -- worthy of executive clemency and freedom.

The least we can do: The nation imprisons 2,280,400 people. The president and state governors should grant clemency each year to at least 1 of every 1,000 imprisoned people deserving of mercy. It is a "least we can do" standard.

Our purpose is to restore clemency to its historical role as an everyday tool to improve justice, mercy, common sense and proportion to our imprisonment system.

Human nature

"Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future." -- Oscar Wilde
Share This