Reefer sanity: States abandon driver’s license suspensions for drug offenses

But some big states continue practice

More than 200,000 people still lose driving privileges every year for drug offenses unrelated to driving, according to a new analysis by The Clemency Report. Most driver’s license suspensions are for marijuana possession, although all drugs and offense types are covered.

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The good news: The two-decade old federal policy seems to be falling out of favor. Click here for a map. Since 2008, seven states have dropped mandatory license suspensions for drug offenses (not related to driving), according to Federal Highway Administration records.  Reasons: administrative cost, harm to highway safety and simple fairness.  read more…

An angel’s brief taste of freedom


angel silohuette

Our star of the day is a gentle woman, a mom who’s been in prison for meth since 1997. She will remain there for another decade — until she’s 59 — unless granted clemency.

Let’s call her Angel.

Angel recently tasted freedom. She took a two-day bus trip, by herself, from a federal prison in Waseca, Minn., to a federal prison in Dublin, Calif.

In a little known, wise and fiscally prudent practice, the Bureau of Prisons lets trusted prisoners travel unaccompanied via Greyhound bus from one prison to another. Angel, dressed in civilian garb, got a bus ticket, meal money and an arrival time.

Imagine being institutionalized for 17 years, then dropped off at a bus stop in front of Casey’s General Store in Minnesota  to begin an unsupervised 2,000-mile road trip in a foreign land — the United States, circa 2014.

Angel, 49, tells a fascinating story of her two-day taste of freedom. 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

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 ten days later. “Like every other fatherless child, I have cried myself to sleep at... read more

More news from The Clemency Report

Saudis behead 5 more drug offenders

Saudi Arabia continued a murderous year against drug offenders, beheading five more people earlier this month. The United States continued its policy of silence, failing to condemn the violation of international and moral law of its ally. The victims, their... read more

Race and marijuana prosecutions in my small town

I live in the affluent college town of Granville, Ohio, home of Denison University.  I haven’t seen a black person in days. So why are nearly 30% of marijuana possession prosecutions in my village against black males? I analyzed five years worth of marijuana... read more

Why I Fight For My Brother…

Veda Ajamu, 46, a mother of three, has led a vigorous campaign for the release of her brother, Robert Shipp, sentenced to life without parole at age 20 for crack. Her petition has earned more than 140,000 signatures of support.  Veda explains what keeps the... read more

China executes two South Koreans for meth

China continues its murderous human rights violations against drug users and dealers, this time killing two South Korean meth dealers. The South Korean government objected. The United States government’s human rights researchers looked the other way. The U.S.... 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 to show support for nonviolent drug offenders in prison.

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Families Against Mandatory Minimums

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Julie Stewart, FAMM president

Julie Stewart, FAMM president


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What We Do

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

The least we can do standard: The nation imprisons 2,280,400 people. In a prison system of historic proportions, the president and state governors should grant clemency each year to at least 1 of every 1,000 imprisoned people deserving of mercy.

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.

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.