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When one reads the charge “drug conspiracy,” it calls to mind kingpins and diabolical plots, not making the simple mistake of allowing a boyfriend to borrow a car. Still, for the 25 women included in this petition, that is generally what these charges mean; they had a personal relationship with someone who was facing charges. Most never bought, possessed or sold cannabis or other drugs, yet they have been sitting in prison for years with a serious criminal title looming over their heads.
According to an article and online clemency petition from The Clemency Report, 23 of these women have been in prison for over ten years, while eleven of them have been locked up for more than two decades! Among them, they have 55 surviving children and over a hundred grandchildren who are waiting for them to be part of their lives.
Patricia Clarke simply made the mistake of trusting her brother and cousin, whose crimes she has been paying the price for since her incarceration in 1993. Her parents are elderly, sick and in desperate need of the care she could provide for them.
Mary Rose Ziman, 65-year-old mother of 9, grandmother of 28 and great-grandmother of two, has been in prison since 1999 because of conspiracy charges.
Alice Marie Johnson, age 55, who has been locked up for 18 years, is serving a life without parole sentence. Sharanda Purlette Jones, a first-time non-violent offender, has been in prison for fifteen years and will never see the outside of prison again unless she is pardoned.
Irma Alred has been in prison for 22 years of her thirty year sentence, all over a marijuana conspiracy.
In the case of Sharonda Jones, who has been in prison for 15 years, all of her co-conspirators, even her supplier, have been released, while she will remain in prison until she dies.
Danielle Metz‘ story is particularly heartbreaking. She was married to an older man who was selling drugs and quite abusive. She had the courage to finally leave him, only to be indicted two months later. She is now serving life without parole and has been incarcerated for 21 years. More details about these women and the others on this list are available by reading the article on The Clemency Report website.
Many of these women made questionable decisions, but none deserve to die in prison for those mistakes. They have all made great strides toward self-improvement, including obtaining their GEDs, participating in continuing education efforts, working while incarcerated and even paying off their court fines while still incarcerated. As non-violent offenders, they deserve a second chance at life and happiness outside of prison, not to spend the rest of their days behind bars over mistakes from long ago.
Please take a few moments of your day to sign this petition to Barack Obama, asking that he grant these women clemency. Interested readers can sign the petition on Change.org here and follow The Clemency Report on Facebook here.
Photo Credit: babawawa under public domain via Pixabay