Free Randolph Jamison: Seeking clemency to commute his 40yr sentence after 32yrs in prison

Free Randolph Jamison: Seeking clemency to commute his 40yr sentence after 32yrs in prison

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Kristin Maglabe started this petition to Governor Kathy Hochul and

This November, Mr. Randolph Jamison turned 60 years old. He has spent the past 32 years – over half of his life – in prison. Mr. Jamison is currently serving the 7th year of a 15-year sentence for drug possession originally handed down under the harsh and outdated Rockefeller Drug laws. Without a commutation of this sentence, Mr. Jamison will not be eligible for parole until 2029, when he will be 68 years old.

Currently, Mr. Jamison is seeking clemency in the form of a commutation of his 15-year sentence, which he received in 1993, for being in possession of 4 and 3/8 ounces of narcotics at the time of his arrest. The drugs were alleged to have been found on the floor of the car that Mr. Jamison was a passenger in, along with five other people, who were also charged with narcotics possession. This sentence is excessive not only because 15 year sentences are now seen as a harshly punitive approach to low-level drug offenses, but also because the 15 year sentence started AFTER his time had run on his previous sentence. With this conviction for low-level drug possession, Mr. Jamison’s time in prison went from 25 years to life, to 40 years to life.

Mr. Jamison is an exceptional candidate for clemency because of his ongoing commitment to transformation and his solid and supportive community to return to. He is a cancer survivor and is vulnerable to serious health complications as he ages in prison. Mr. Jamison hopes to spend the rest of his days at home with his family making up for everything he has missed over the past three decades, and giving back to his community as a mentor to young people.

This petition, and your support, will be submitted to Governor Hochul to supplement Mr. Jamison's clemency application, in advance of the annual Christmas Eve announcement of clemency grants by the Governor. Please help us bring Mr. Jamison home.  

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Mr. Jamison is among the aging prisoners in New York State suffering under the excessively punitive sentencing practices that took root during the 70’s and 80’s. The majority of deaths in New York prisons are of people 55 and older, and those who have served 15 or more years. Lengthy sentences like the one Mr. Jamison is facing continue to hold people in prison in spite of the growing body of evidence that harsher punishments and longer sentences do not have an effect on crime deterrence. The Rockefeller Drug Laws under which Mr. Jamison was sentenced particularly exacerbated this crisis by creating mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of narcotics (the sentence Mr. Jamison received and is seeking a commutation of), a punishment the same as a sentence for committing second-degree murder. Under the Drug Law Reform Acts of 2004 and 2005, meant to correct the decades of harsh sentencing for non-violent drug offenses, possession of the amount of controlled substance that Mr. Jamison was charged with-- 4 and 3/8 oz-- would today be classified as an A-II felony, subject to a minimum sentence of eight years.

As a 60-year-old who has spent 32 years in prison, Mr. Jamison would be the beneficiary of a bill currently being contemplated in the New York State senate that would make any incarcerated person 55 or over who has served 15 years of their sentence eligible for parole. This bill, along with legislation introduced in the 2021-2022 legislative session that would remove ALL civil and criminal penalties for possession of controlled substances, point to a society that believes in a vastly different approach to public safety.

Mr. Jamison was only 27 when he was initially incarcerated, and over the past 32 years he has been faced with increasingly serious health issues. In 2018, Mr. Jamison was diagnosed with cancer. Mr. Jamison received treatment, ending in August of 2019, and now regularly must be seen by a specialist to ensure his cancer is in remission. Cancer is regularly recorded by the Bureau of Justice Statistics Report as the leading cause of death for people over 45 in prison. Mr. Jamison also survived a severe case of COVID early in 2021, experiencing both COVID pneumonia and hypoxia and requiring hospitalization. As a 60-year-old cancer survivor in prison, he remains vulnerable to complications associated with COVID and its variants.

Family has always been important to Mr. Jamison. He has a strong network of family members who look forward to being reunited with him. Mr. Jamison’s wife has been steadfastly by his side since their marriage in 2003. He has three children and four grandchildren, and despite the obstacles, has remained a consistent and loving presence in their lives. Mr. Jamison’s niece owns a restaurant, and he calls her regularly at the restaurant to walk her through recipes and share ideas. He has even forged important relationships with his niece’s sons and tries to serve as a mentor to them and help them “learn from [his] mistakes.” Mr. Jamison is also the last surviving person who could legally assume responsibility for his nephew, who has cerebral palsy and is in assisted living, and who Mr. Jamison used to care for growing up.

Mr. Jamison is known and respected amongst the New York community of criminal justice reform advocates and organizations, who have pledged their resources and support for him upon his release. Mr. Jamison is also supported by a wide network of peers now involved in reforming the criminal justice system and supporting the reentry of formerly incarcerated people, many of whom attribute their current successes and life direction to his influence.

Mr. Jamison has a strong reentry plan, and so much to offer to his community and family. Mr. Jamison will leave prison to move into a stable, established home with his wife and son. Additionally, Mr. Jamison has an offer of training and job placement with a nonprofit that offers programming to the youth of imprisoned parents between the ages of 14 and 21. His community is excited to receive him in this mentorship role, which they see him as uniquely prepared for.

Please support this petition by signing it and sharing as widely as possible. 

On behalf of Mr. Jamison and his family, we thank you sincerely for your support!

 

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Background Information

The circumstances of Mr. Jamison's convictions

In 1989, Mr. Jamison was arrested in suspected connection with a robbery and resultant murder in the building his family lived in. Mr. Jamison maintains that he was falsely implicated in this crime due to statements he made to the victim’s mother when Mr. Jamison feared his son’s mother had been shot in the altercation. He was ultimately convicted of second degree murder for his suspected involvement, under the felony murder doctrine. Under this doctrine, a person involved in a robbery in which a person is killed, for example, can be charged with second degree murder for their involvement in the robbery, whether they themself killed the person or not. Felony murder is a historically criticized doctrine, and it is abolished in Canada because it violates “the principle that punishment must be proportionate to the moral blameworthiness of the offender.” He was sentenced to 25 years to life under this doctrine and has served 25 years of that sentence.

After going to prison in 1992, Mr. Jamison was tried in 1993 in connection with the circumstances of his 1989 arrest. He was ultimately sentenced to 15 years to life for criminal possession of a controlled substance, for a 4 and 3/8th ounce bag of cocaine said to have been recovered on the floor of the car he was a passenger in with five other people. Although the 1993 sentencing minutes have been lost, the courts maintain that the 15 year to life sentence was intended to run consecutive (starting after) to his 25-year to life sentence, in spite of statements made during his 1991 trial and other records indicating that the sentences were to run concurrently (at the same time).

Mr. Jamison's dedication to self-reflection and program involvement 

Mr. Jamison has spent the past 32 years thinking about the choices that led him to be implicated in his crimes of conviction, reflecting on the life he was living, and committing himself to the long road of transformation. Over the years, Mr. Jamison has participated in as many programs available to him in prison as possible. He participated in extensive vocational training, consistently receiving glowing reviews from supervisors.

Through other programs like Cephas, Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), and Anger Replacement Therapy (ART), Mr. Jamison found new approaches to life as well as his passion for mentoring. Starting in 2014, he began getting deeply involved in the AVP, completing the basic and advanced courses, and electing to do 21 hours of training to be qualified as an apprentice trainer for the program. Mr. Jamison hopes his experience mentoring younger people while incarcerated, carries over to life outside if released.

Mr. Jamison has also been able to use his passion for cooking as an outlet while incarcerated. Over the years he has worked in mess halls and kitchens as a cook, and he uses cooking to relax his mind and connect with people in his life. He would even take some time to teach other inmates how to cook new dishes and season their food. Mr. Jamison would recreate recipes he learned from his mother with what was available to him in the commissary, and he would even develop his own dishes and recipes. When possible, Mr. Jamison watches various cooking and food shows, one of which is Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and he hopes to one day be able to recreate recipes he’s learned and created and to own a restaurant of his own.

Mr. Jamison has had the past 32 years to reflect on the decisions he made in his life that led to his incarceration. His success in his programs and his own self-reflection have shaped who he is today. He is a father, grandfather, husband, and mentor to people both in and outside of prison, and he would be a great asset to his family and community if granted clemency.

Let’s bring Mr. Jamison home.

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