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).

Amy Povah White House

Amy Povah, at the White House, supporting No. 7 Barbara Scrivner

This day — the happiest of my life — still haunts me. I can’t forget the images of so many good women left behind. Not a few good women, but many hundreds of great women serving cruel, pointlessly long prison sentences.

I want you to meet the best of the best, women who have done way too much crime for their offenses.

These women are ghosts to the public, never seen or heard, barely part of our imagination. But to me, they are very real, moms and daughters and sisters, taken from their families for far too long.

Therese and fiancee Chris, her high school sweetheart

No. 9 Theresa Crepeau and fiancee Chris, her high school sweetheart

After my release, I founded the CAN-DO FoundationClemency for All Non-Violent Drug Offenders — to bring attention of these wonderful women.  I’ve created a “Top 25 Women Who Deserve Clemency” list to help the public and policy makers meet a few of these “ghosts,” to understand the pointless cruelty and injustice of multi-decade drug sentences.

The justice system is broken today, especially the federal justice system and especially for drug crimes.

My case is an example. I got 24 years for all the drugs manufactured by my estranged husband, the ringleader, who got three years probation for “cooperating.” Sadly, my case isn’t the worst example or even an unusual one.

  In future articles, I will detail the problem, especially with the “conspiracy” law, which allows reality to be perverted beyond recognition in a quest to manipulate sentence lengths.

Today, I gift to you a list of 25 good women who deserve immediate release from prison.

alice marie johnson cropped

No. 1 Alice Marie Johnson, playwright

I know these women, have researched their cases and spoken to their families. I did time with some of them, sitting next to them for years in the prison law library.  My heart breaks knowing they’ve been behind bars during my 14 years of freedom.

Many other women are worthy of a place on this list and in our hearts.

This list is a start. Most of  these 25 women have served many years of multi-decade sentences for non-violent drug offenses.

Kids have grown. Parents have died. A two-year drug sentence hurts a family, a 20-year sentence destroys it.

The law has done these women wrong. Let’s right those wrongs.

The “Top 25 Women Who Deserve Clemency” isn’t comprehensive criminal justice reform. Laws need to be changed.

Change begins when empathy and kindness reaches a place where it is needed but lacking.

President Obama, I’m pleased to introduce you to 25 of the best women I know…

"I'm so pleased to meet you."

“It’s a pleasure to meet you. Remind me of your name again…”

The Top 25 Women Deserving Clemency

  1. Alice Marie Johnson, 59, conspiracy, cocaine. Served: 18 years. Release date: Death.

    Josie Ledezman, all-around good person

    No. 2 Josie Ledezman

  2. Josephine Ledezma, 56, conspiracy, cocaine. Served 22 years. Release date: Death.
  3. Danielle Metz, 47, conspiracy, cocaine. Served: 21 years. Release date: Death.
  4. Teresa Griffin, 49, conspiracy, cocaine. Served: 22 years. Release date: Death.
  5. Ramona Brant, 51, conspiracy, cocaine. Served: 20 years. Release date: Death.

    ramona_brant_sm

    No. 5 Ramona Brant

  6. Sharanda Jones, 47,conspiracy, crack cocaine. Served: 16 years. Release date: Death.
  7. Barbara Scriver, 48, conspiracy. methamphetamine. Served: 22 years. Release date: March 17, 2019.
  8. Irma Alred, 57, conspiracy, marijuana. Served: 20 years. Release date: Sept. 28, 2020.
  9. Theresa Crepeau, 44, conspiracy, cocaine. Served: 20 years. Release date: July 26, 2017.
  10. Dr. Marion “Mollie” Fry, 58, conspiracy, medical marijuana. Served: 3 years. Release date: Sept. 7, 2015.

    Marion Molly Fry and family

    Dr. Molly Fry and family

  11. Mary Ritcherson, 69, conspiracy, cocaine. Served: 24 years. Release date: March 16, 2016.
  12. Anita Gage, 64, conspiracy, methamphetamine. Served: 24 years. Release date: Sept. 26, 2016.
  13. Lavonne Roach, 50, conspiracy, methamphetamine. Served: 17 years. Release date: Jan. 28, 2024.
  14. Beth Cronan, 54, conspiracy, methamphetamine. Served: 16 years. Release date: Dec. 31, 2022.
  15. Rita Becerra, 63, conspiracy, methamphetamine. Served: 20 years. Release date: Nov. 11, 2017.
  16. Angie Jenkins, 50, conspiracy, methamphetamine. Served: 16 years. Release date: July 26, 2024.
  17. Lori Kavitz, 55, conspiracy, methamphetamine. Served: 13 years. Release date: Nov. 4, 2022.
  18. Deniese Watts, 50, conspiracy, heroin. Served: 14 years. Release date: Feb. 2, 2017.
  19. Cynthia Shank, 41, conspiracy, cocaine. Served: 6 years. Release date: March 24, 2021.
  20. Karan Denise Daniel, 46, conspiracy, methamphetamine. Served 18 years. Release date: October 16, 2017.
  21. Pauline Kay Blake, 46, conspiracy, methamphetamine. Served: 9 years. Release date: Feb. 17, 2022.
  22. Mandy Martinson, 37, conspiracy, methamphetamine. Served: 10 years. Release date: Oct. 21, 2017.

    Lisa Hanna

    No. 23 Lisa Hanna

  23. Lisa Hanna, 51, conspiracy, methamphetamine. Served: 15 years. Release date: Oct. 10, 2015.
  24. Patricia Clarke, 42, conspiracy, cocaine, marijuana. Served: 23 years. Release date: Death.
  25. Mary Rose Ziman, 65, conspiracy, drugs. Served: 15 years. Release date: June 14, 2023.

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