Clemency For Quinton Sanders
Clemency For Quinton Sanders
At 17 years old, Quinton Sanders was sentenced to life in prison for an unintentional, fatal car crash.
Quinton has served 22 years and is now almost 40; he has spent over half his life behind bars.
The incident began with money that was found missing from a gang. The gang leader at the time placed the blame on Quinton’s friend. They were told that there would be consequences if they didn't come up with the missing funds. At 17, Quinton understood what that meant and knew their families and lives would be in danger if they didn't come up with the money.
Quinton’s childhood experiences played a significant role in the fatal crash that day.
Growing up in a single-parent home without a father, he longed for male mentorship and guidance. His neighborhood, dominated by gangs, was a very traumatizing experience for a young boy. Gang culture is a challenging thing for a young mind to attempt to navigate. As a result, Quinton and others found themselves in situations where they had to make life or death decisions that no child is equipped to make.
October 12, 1999, changed the course of Quinton Sanders life: he and a friend attempted to shoplift clothes from a department store to cover the missing funds. During their attempt to flee, there was a car crash, and an officer lost his life. Acknowledging his poor decisions and the effect on so many lives, Quinton has grown and learned from this tragedy.
"I realized I had the potential to change my life after hearing the words of my victim's family during court. These words offered me a sense of hope, to stay focused, and to be transformed from the inside out. I will never forget what his sister said. She encouraged me to educate myself, which is necessary to live a productive life, and set me up for success upon reentry into society. The mercy she showed me fueled my desire to grow and become a better person."
"My road to transformation wasn't easy, and it wasn't perfect; I was still a child growing up in the prison system. In my darkest moments, I would go back to the hope that was given to me from my victim's family. I went to school every day until I got my GED. Once I got my GED, I started taking vocational classes and continued to educate myself through college courses, just like his sister told me to do. I also learned technical skills in sewing, carving, masonry, and electricity."
"During my incarceration, I lost many family members. This also played a pivotal role in my transformation. The loss my family suffered from my absence helped me to understand how my actions, intentional or not, must be remedied."
When the CoronaVirus pandemic began, Quinton worked double shifts, sewing gowns and face masks for the first responders without taking any days off.
"I wanted to do my best; for me, this was a way to show that I'm genuinely sorry for what happened that day. I never meant to cause harm to anyone, and I wanted to work hard on the PPE supplies because I felt like this was a way to give back and help save someone's life. I was convicted of taking someone's life, so I want to do everything I can to help save someone else's life. I'm asking for forgiveness; I'm asking for mercy and a chance at redemption."
Today, Quinton is a changed man. No longer a member of the gang, he is a youth mentor for "The Don't Follow Me" program in the West Tennessee State Prison. In addition, he is a certified residential electrician and has a certification in Masonry. He has also continued to contribute to society by joining the fight against COVID 19 by sewing PPE supplies. You can read more about these efforts at these links
A life sentence in Tennessee means there is no possibility of parole before 51 years. No one in the history of the Tennessee Department of Corrections has ever lived to serve the 51-year sentence.
Please sign this petition asking the Governor to grant Clemency for Quinton Sanders.