Obama 22 sentence commutations focus on crack + black

Francis Darrell Hayden, 65, sentenced to life for marijuana in 2002, will be released in July.

Francis Darrell Hayden, 65, sentenced to life for marijuana in 2002, will be released in July.

President Obama commuted the sentences of 22 drug prisoners Tuesday. The breakdown:

  • Offense: 12 crack cocaine only; 3 powder cocaine only; 2 powder and crack; 2 meth, 1 meth-and heroin, 1 marijuana, 1 drugs unspecified
  • Race: 16 African American, 6 white, including 5 who are of Hispanic origin.
  • Gender: 20 men, 2 women.
  • Life sentences. 8. Dates given: 1992, 1993, 1995 (2), 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002.

The names, ages, race, offense and release dates of the 22 people who had their sentences shortened Tuesday by President Barack Obama. read more…

This is what freedom looks like

Prisoner Releases Start Under “Drugs Minus Two”

David Mosby's first meal (outside of prison)

Free at last: David Mosby enjoys a first meal with family

David Mosby, 63, dressed in prison garb, enjoyed a mammoth, country-style breakfast with his family a few days ago at a Cracker Barrel restaurant.

It was, literally, his first taste of freedom.

David, an amazing dad and classic American character, was freed 10 years early from federal prison. He’d been serving a cruel, unjustifiable 40-year/no parole meth sentence since the first George Bush was president.

The Missourian’s release is just the beginning of tens of thousands of family reunions just starting under the landmark federal drug sentencing reform, called “Drugs Minus Two.”

read more…

Bob Riley, 62, gentle Deadhead serving a life sentence for LSD

BJ Oct 1990

Bob Riley, a wandering-wondering Deadhead, enjoying a sunny day in New York’s Central Park, in 1990, after several Grateful Dead shows.

Bob Riley, a kind soul who “treads lightly in this world,” is in the 22nd year of a federal life without parole LSD sentence.  The details of his unjust sentence are summarized in this New York Times article.

This story is about Bob, the human being. It was written with Bob’s help, to reflect his unique voice. read more…

Donald B.W. Evans, good kid, U.C. Berkeley student, crack lifer

Crack + Black = Life

Donald Evans, Catholic elementary school graduation

Donald Evans, Catholic elementary school graduation

“Intelligent. Concerned. Loving. Family-oriented.”

That’s how Donald’s mom describes her son.

Is she right? The evidence shows she is.

Spend a few moments today meeting a fine man, Donald B.W. Evans, an intelligent 50-year-old with much to offer.

In 1990, the nation’s justice system froze this good man’s life into a racist stereotype: worthless young black male. Today, Donald is serving life without parole because he — and hundreds of others who look like him — sold crack cocaine. read more…

LaVonne Roach, mom, daughter, poet, Lakota woman

Give mom a (first) chance

No. 13 LaVonne Roach and her family

No. 13 LaVonne Roach and her family

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.

Read “See What I See,” a poem by LaVonne Arlene Roach

read more…

Federal drug sentence lengths fall sharply from 2006 peak

Short sentences on the rise. Federal judges handed out 78% fewer ultra-long sentences for non-violent drug offenses in 2014 than at the peak eight years ago. The number of drug defendants sent to prison for 12 years of more fell to 2,414 in 2014, down from 4,303 in... read more

Pot lifer Larry Duke released after 24 years

Larry Duke, 67, was released immediately from federal prison Thursday when the Bureau of Prisons and a federal judge approved his request for “compassionate release.” Larry was ranked No. 6 on The Clemency Report list of marijuana offenders deserving... read more

Let’s send these people home

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

Lisa Lorentz, 44, working class kid, great parents

  Lisa grew up in a nice suburb outside of Dallas, Texas, in a loving, working-class home with two older brothers. Her parents have been married 50 years. Despite this upbringing, she had difficulty fitting in during her teenage years. She eventually dropped out... read more

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

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

More news from The Clemency Report

Indonesia to execute 9 more drug offenders

Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered nine more drug offenders, including eight foreigners, to be shot to death by firing squad. Waiting to be murdered Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, 30, single mother from rural Philippines. Domestic worker. Speaks only Tagalog.... read more

True rehabilitation and a second chance at life

Jermaine Sims is serving a life sentence for purchasing a gun used in a fatal bank robbery in 1997. A bank teller was killed, three others were wounded. Sims did not participate in the robbery — the two men who did are serving life for the crime — but... read more

Crack Lifer Project: A quest for justice

By Veda Ajamu President and Founder, Crack Lifer Project “Never, never, never give up” — Winston Churchill I will never, never, never give up on fighting for freedom and justice for my brother, Robert Shipp, as he is serving a dreadful inhumane life... read more

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

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Crack + Black = Life

New: The 10 Most Outrageous Crack Cocaine Sentences

robert shipp close crop

No. 1 Robert Shipp — life without parole for selling crack at age 20

Read list

The Top 25 Women Deserving Clemency

Pauline Blake cropped

No. 21 Pauline Blake

Please sign the petition today.

The petition now has 3,200+ signatures.

Meet the women

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.

1 + 9 =

LSD lifer Bob Riley says thanks for caring about him.

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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.

Human nature

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

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.

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