Clemency for Tuere Barnes

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This is his story:

My name is Tuere Barnes. I am a 35-year-old, humbled and changed man. I was convicted federally for my participation in a racketeering drug and kidnapping conspiracy. I was sentenced to 25 years based off of my role in that conspiracy. To date, I have served approximately 15 years of that sentence. At the time of my crime I was 21 years old. I was immature, selfish, and very easily influenced which led me to follow the wrong people and partake in a destructive lifestyle. I did not care about others or my community. My main concern was myself and how I could benefit financially from other people's short comings. My imprisonment has taught me invaluable, life-long, lessons. I now realize and understand the negative impact my choices had on my community, as well as my family. I often think about how I embarrassed them and turned them into victims of my own actions. Knowing the terrible choices I made is the reason why I'm separated from them causes me pain on a daily basis.

Spending so many years in prison gave me ample time to reflect on my mistakes, as well as put together a plan to right my wrongs and begin to make amends with my past. My first step was to take full responsibility for my actions without any form of justification. My next step was to fully rehabilitate myself so that I could help other inmates and people. I have earned dozens of certificates and participated in just as many programs. I have steadily maintained employment throughout my entire incarceration. I completed the Resolve Program which helped me accept the traumatic experiences that I have been subjected to and helped me learn how to get past them. I graduated from the Victim Impact Program which taught me the effect my crimes had on society as a whole. Dissatisfied by that feat, I now teach the class and speak at the graduations. I jump at any and every opportunity to volunteer for environmental services, such as helping my unit prepare for the American Correctional Association (ACA) inspections or aiding in tasks in the psychology department where I spent years helping out. I have taught classes on creative writing and wrote thousands of poems. I put these poems into homemade greeting cards to help other inmates establish firm connections with their families and more importantly their children. I have also written 15 novels, 4 of which have been published. I graduated from culinary school, received my ServSafe Certification, and now teach the class so other inmates can do the same. I have earned apprenticeships from the Department of Labor in Housekeeping and Baking upon my completion of 8,000 hours of work and also worked with the Career Connections Programs(CCP) which helps inmates prepare for re-entry into society. I graduated from parenting class and was able to create a brochure for family day. It was given out to the families in order to help the children better deal with their feelings and emotions that come from having an incarcerated parent. I have also donated to children with cancer at the New Haven/Yale hospital.

The staff have taken notice to my positive impact as well. They have referred to me as a "model inmate" and have said that I am making an excellent institutional adjustment. Furthermore, those same staff members have recommended me for a transfer to a lower level security prison for the purposes of participating in a program called Save The Youth. This program allows inmates to visit with communities in order speak with the kids and help motivate them in a positive way. My focus is to do as much I can to rebuild what I've destroyed by my actions, as well as help other inmates in order to lower the recidivism rate. My plans upon release are to make amends with my victims and society, as well as to be a productive, working citizen. I will visit schools, community centers, and group homes to do motivational speaking. My goal is to speak to the children who grow up in urban areas so that I can deter them from making the same mistakes as I did. I have children that are not biologically mine, but still look to me as a mentor and father figure. I would love nothing more than a chance to help raise them correctly before they become adults. I feel my sentence hinders me from fully being able to maximize my potential of change. I have 8 years remaining on my sentence unless President Trump grants me clemency. I feel the benefit of me being granted clemency far outweighs me spending another 8 years in prison. Please sign this petition asking President Trump to reduce my sentence.

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