Clemency for Lewis C. Henry! 80 Years? Crazy Time for the Crime!

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Eighty years for Lewis C. Henry. Whoever heard of such an inhumane sentence for a non-violent crime which was given to my brother almost 27 years ago. Before leaving office President Obama said that he saw an injustice of sentences that were imposed in many situations, and he had a strong view that people deserve a second chance. After all this time, my brother Lewis deserves a second chance. The President repeatedly called on Congress to pass a broader criminal justice fix, but lawmakers never acted and prisoners like Lewis remain in honorable prisons like Statesville Correctional Center all of their natural life. Something is very wrong with that.

My brother Lewis C. Henry was convicted of Possession with the intent to Deliver 430 grams of cocaine and 700 grams of marijuana on one charge and sentenced to 80 years. Thirty of the 80 years resulted from a previously possessing only $10 worth of cocaine in 1989. These amounts of cocaine and marijuana is not a significant amount, however, Lewis was sentenced as though he was leader of a drug cartel. Marijuana use has recently been legalized in many states including Illinois where Lewis C. Henry is presently serving his extensive time.

My brother Lewis C. Henry III  was born on Sept 14,1957 in Chicago, ILL  to Lewis C. Henry II and Dorothy Mae Henry. Lewis Sr. passed away just before his son was sentenced. Our mother Dorothy is presently 89 years old and lives here in Lee's Summit, Mo. She only gets to see her boy maybe once a year now. Lewis has two sisters, two brothers, one recently deceased, a beautiful daughter, age 34 ,who was 8 years old when her dad went to prison, 4 grandchildren, and a host of outstanding nieces and nephews. Lewis said that his greatest fear is that our mom, passes away before he's released.

Lewis is 62 years old with a release date of 2037. He will be 80 years old. There was no trafficking to, or with minors,nor was he an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor of others within a criminal organization. Lewis did not have ties to large scale drug trafficking organization, gangs, or cartel. My brother Lewis C. Henry was just a low-level participant in the sale of small amounts of cocaine.

The former U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, stated, and I quote: The time has come to refine our charging policy regarding mandatory minimum and maximum penalties for certain non-violent, low-level, drug offenders. We must ensure that our most serve mandatory penalties are reserved for serious high-level, or violent drug traffickers. Long sentences for low-level non-violent drug offenses do not promote public safety, deterrence or rehabilitation.

Although possession with intent to deliver cocaine and marijuana is a serious offense, it cannot compare to the severity, and harm to society as murder. the maximum sentence Lewis faced was 50 years, yet, that sentence was nearly doubled. There was no rational reason to almost double a delivery sentence because of a prior simple possession conviction. This time did not fit the crime.

A recent study conducted by Professor Evelyn Patterson of Vanderbilt University indicated that incarceration has a jarring affect on life expectancy. It found that for each year of incarceration life expectancy is reduced by two years.Based on these factors the United States Sentencing Commission considers a 39 year prison sentence the equivalent of a life sentence. 

Lewis C. Henry's sentence in it's very essence is tantamount to a natural life sentence for a non-violent offense. It is inhumane to order him to spend the rest of his life in prison for a non-violent crime. Because of this, I'm asking you to stand with me and my family against policies that bury people alive by sentencing them to death by incarceration, and support this petition for clemency from the Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker for my brother, Lewis C. Henry III. Thank you.