Confirmed victory

Clemency for Crystal Mattern

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This petition is in support of clemency for Crystal Mattern, who has been in prison for 9 years.  She was sentenced, like so many others, under drug laws that are harsh and unfair.  She has served a little under half of her sentence.  She has 4 children, 3 of which don’t know her.  They are growing up without her and are being raised by others.  It is really sad that before she was sentenced she had worked hard to turn her life around.  It was particularly heart rending to see her go to prison for so long and leave her young children behind. 

President Obama needs to be commended for granting clemencies and commuting the sentences of many, because it is no secret that this country’s prisons are full of low level drug offenders who do not pose a threat.  However, most of the commutations and clemencies thus far, have been for men.  Ten percent of the prison population are women, yet the clemencies do not reflect that fact.  Often, women’s crimes are less violent, lower level, yet they receive equivalent sentences.  The women have received little publicity and it is easy to overlook sentences of an under represented group.  Obama has been a leader in gender inequalities in other areas and he can become a champion for women here too.

Long prison sentences for low level drug offenses are costing tax payers big time!  It will cost around $600,000 to house and feed my daughter for her sentence and that is a flat rate for housing and food.  Many sentenced under the Mandatory Minimum law received exceptionally long prison sentences for non-violent crimes, while violent offenders leave prison after serving much shorter sentences.  This makes no sense!

For Crystal’s conspiracy drug charge she was told that if she did not debrief she would get a life sentence.  There was no actual drug involved in her charge but an informant provided information.  She had been clean for a while before this and signed a plea, because she was pregnant and knew that this would allow her some time to give birth and be with her baby and children before she went to prison.  The Drug Enforcement Agents who arrested Crystal, tore her mother’s house apart, confiscated her belongings and took money and anything of value.  Only a portion of what was confiscated was reported.  These men are stealing and getting rich, while low level offenders are spending decades behind bars, at your expense.  It is difficult to think of the magnitude of this problem and how many are in prison because of mandatory minimum laws.  

While Crystal has been in prison she has taken every opportunity to help others and better herself.  She takes college classes, works full time, and attends Bible studies and meetings to bring more richness into her life.  She is currently working with the Canine program and training service dogs.  She worked at UNICOR for years and will soon be taking mechanics classes. She had the benefit of being clean for quite a while before she went in and she has been gaining skills to use when she is released.  She has served long enough for the crime she committed.  She really needs to get out of prison, go home to her family and become a productive part of society again. 

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