What would you do?

A case of “unfortunate guilt” 

Sunday polo in Granville

Sunday polo in Granville

My wealthy town of 5,600 has virtually no crime but lots of money. Our 22 police officers spend considerable time ticketing and arresting poor and working class people driving by on a  state highway on the edge of town.

Every Friday morning, low-income residents from elsewhere visit my rich town — Granville, Ohio — to be judged in Mayor’s Court.

This legally simple but morally complex case caught my attention.

Here are the facts.  read more…

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall

A Luis Rivera art show

Luis Anthony Rivera, 58, serving a life sentence for no good reason, is remarkably accomplished for an invisible man.

Violinist. Painter. Multi-lingual.  Nature lover. Computer programmer. Video artist.

And that’s just what he’s done since entering federal prison in 1985.

Luis is a smart, gentle soul, the type of person who makes others prosper. He was born with spirit and spunk, love and joy — plus a creative impulse tethered to a galloping work ethic. read more…

Can my daddy come home now?

Taylor Palmer lost her father to a life without parole drug sentence in 1989.
Now, the heartbroken girl wants him back — and in time for her medical school graduation in 2016.
Michael Taylor Palmer adults recent
michael and taylor palmer young


How long is too long?

 *   *   *   *

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.

I want to tell you how things turned out for the two-year-old in the photo, the one squirming in her father’s arm and looking at the ground. That infant is me. read more…

Changes to list of Top 25 prisoners deserving freedom

Euka Wadlington shockingly dropped from Top 25 The Clemency Report made seven changes — two additions, two subtractions, three ranking changes — to its list of the Top 25 prisoners nationwide deserving immediate freedom. Deadhead Tim Tyler, serving life... read more

An angel tastes freedom

  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... 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

Clemency Report letter in The New York Times

The New York Times published a letter to the editor from the today in its Sunday edition. To the Editor: “The Way to Beat Poverty” mentions almost casually that the mother of a troubled young girl named Jessica “was away in... 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…

“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

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

“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.

Hear from the families

michael and taylor palmer young

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Do you know someone whose story should be told?

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Hear prisoners

barbara scrivner and daughter Alannah

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Families Against Mandatory Minimums

Make the world a better place. Join the nation’s No. 1 sentencing advocacy group!

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 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.

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.

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