Grant Matthew Charles' clemency

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Matthew Charles was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison 1996 for a nonviolent drug offense. After serving over 20 years, he was released in 2016 when a federal judge reduced his sentence. Unfortunately, prosecutors appealed his sentence reductions and won. Now Matthew must return to prison and serve another ten years.

Matthew Charles does not belong in prison for another day, let alone another decade. Governor Haslam should commute the rest of Charles’ sentence so he can return to his family and community.

Since his release Matthew has held a steady job, volunteers every Saturday, has reconnected with his family, and began a serious relationship. He is part of a community in Nashville, TN that strongly opposes this cruel decision to strip away his freedom. During his time in prison, he took college classes and correspondence courses, and even taught a GED program. He organized bible studies, became certified as a law clerk and used training to he helped other incarcerated men understand the judicial system. Throughout 20 years in federal prison he never had a single disciplinary infraction.

Even Judge Aleta Trauger, who had to reimpose this sentence, thinks it’s unfair. She called Charles’ case “sad” and commended his “exemplary rehabilitation.” She then explained that “her hands were tied” in reimposing the original sentence, giving him 45 days before he would have to be sent back to federal prison.

I am hopeful that this petition will gain a record number of signatures and catch Governor Haslam’s attention.