Commutation for Domestic Violence Survivor, Tracee Ward

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Tracee Ward (W82517) is a survivor of Intimate Partner Violence and extensive physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her violent, older boyfriend.  She is serving her 23rd year of incarceration for a series of murders planned and committed by her boyfriend, who dragged Tracee along for the ride and hurt her and threatened to kill her when she tried to escape.

Tracee became involved with her boyfriend while suffering from clinical depression and PTSD resulting from childhood trauma, abuse, and neglect.  In addition, prior to her trial, a psychological expert determined that Tracee has extremely low cognitive function – he diagnosed her with a significant cortical brain impairment, which severely limited her ability to make independent rational judgments at the time of the crimes, and made her particularly susceptible to pressure from others.

At 19, Tracee was prosecuted for her boyfriend’s crimes.  She had no support, and tested “barely competent to stand trial.”  Ultimately, she was pressured into accepting a Life Without Parole sentence as a plea bargain, based in part on false information.  Despite her young age and low cognitive function, because Tracee was 19 years old at the time, she does not qualify for recent changes in the law that provide parole opportunities to juveniles sentenced to life without parole.

In prison, Tracee has fully committed to her rehabilitation and become a role model for others.  She attends numerous rehabilitation groups that have helped her heal from past trauma and address the factors that led to her conviction.  She has completed many vocational and educational programs, and mentors younger incarcerated people.  She has an exemplary prison record, having received no serious disciplinary violations during her 20+ years in prison. 

For all of these reasons, we strongly believe that Tracee should be granted a commutation to a parole-eligible sentence and be able to go before the parole board.  Please give her the chance she deserves. 

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