Clemency for Tadd Vassell
Clemency for Tadd Vassell
Why this petition matters
Please ask President Trump to commute Tadd Vassell's life sentence to time served.
Justice has been done and Tadd has paid his debt to society. Tadd has served 21 years of a life sentence for a nonviolent drug crime. He was a teenager at the time of the crime, ages 17 and 18. Arrested at age 18, the record shows that Tadd's criminal activity took place for only 45 days as an 18 year old "adult".
A life sentence is unduly harsh and disproportionate to the others involved. Today, Tadd is the ONLY co-defendant still in prison. All 12 other co-conspirators have been released including the two ring leaders who were convicted of much greater culpability. The last one came home in 2016.
Tadd is a model inmate and has transformed his life and is creating transformational programming in the prison. At USP Hazelton in 2012, Tadd was selected, because of his “standing within the [prison] population” and his character as a “leader,” to participate in the Inside Out Program, an unprecedented educational opportunity for prisoners in a high-security prison. Inside Out is a class comprised of college students and inmates and led by the sociology department of the University of West Virginia at Hazelton Penitentiary. Together the “Inside” and “Outside” students learned about crime and justice, and developed initiatives for reentry training for inmates at Hazelton. Tadd’s family attended the celebration ceremony, where the warden told beaming mother, “Your son is a good man.” He’s a far cry from the man he was when he entered prison. Today, Tadd is now the “inside” co-facilitator with Professors Jeri Kirby of Fairmount University and Lori Pompa of Temple University.
Now in his twenty-first year in prison, Tadd continues to participate in the Inside Out program as the co-facilitator of the program. His efforts led to the creation of the Bounce Back unit, a housing unit dedicated to assising inmates preparing for reentry develop the necessary life skills for success upon release from prison. In 2018, he single-handedly created an electrician apprenticeship program, purchasing the test materials and study guides. Inmates just sat for the first state exam certification. Formally and informally, he mentors other prisoners, promoting non-violence, helping them navigate life in prison and away from their families, and teaching individuals to read. He is regularly called upon by inmates and staff to mediate situations of conflict within the prison. He conducts courses on life skills in classrooms that Hazelton Penitentiary has reopened for his use after years of being closed due to violence in the institution.