Top 25 Women Deserving Clemency
Do you know someone behind bars who once served in the military?
We are collecting photos of inmates from their days serving the country. A photo gallery will run on Veterans Day (November 11). Send pictures to email@example.com
By Amy Ralston Povah
Founder, CAN-DO Foundation
I was granted clemency on July 7, 2000. President Bill Clinton gifted me freedom after nine years and three months of a 24-year sentence for MDMA (ecstasy).
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 who know LaVonne talk of her kindness and intelligence as well as her spirited optimism and hard work while in prison for 17 years.
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
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…
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 without parole federal prison sentence for a nonviolent cocaine offense.
Yet, a wonderful thing happened to Luis the other day. He saw a bush!
Luis recently transferred to a federal prison not far from Disney World. His new medium security prison has vegetation. The sight made Luis feel alive and grateful.
“They have trees here and, yes, I said trees!” he wrote in an e-mail to Julie Stewart, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. “They did not have trees at USP-1…not even a stupid bush. (His latest prison) has a nice big yard with a fence, so you can see the countryside…something I haven’t seen in ten years. I am so glad. Thank you for asking.”
Let’s send these people home
Weldon Angelos, 35, father, music entrepreneur, victim of “unjust, cruel and even irrational” 55-year sentenceNine years ago, Weldon Angelos, a 24-year-old rap music entrepreneur from Salt Lake City, was sentenced to 55 years in federal prison for three small-time marijuana sales. In a letter released today, 113 concerned citizens, including 60 former prosecutors, 17 former... read more
“We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven.”Archbishop Desmond Tutu
More news from The Clemency Report
“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.
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Most Popular Over Last Month
- Attack against Deadheads was no hallucination
- LSD Lifer: “This is my best friend, Roderick Walker. But everyone calls him Rudd.”
- New list: the Top 25 Women Deserving Presidential Clemency
- Top 25 Women Deserving Clemency: Corrected Link
- LaVonne Roach, mom, daughter, poet, Lakota woman
- Richard Wershe Jr. Named Michigan’s No. 1 Inmate Deserving Clemency
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 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.