17 petitions

Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to Harold Clarke, Director, Virginia Department of Corrections, George Hinkle, Jamilla Burney-Divens, A. David Robinson, Henry J. Ponton Jr., Marie Vargo, Corrections Operations

Making changes for positive relationships for inmates and families

Since the year 2017, Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC)  has taken many steps to prevent incoming contraband being transferred to inmates. Although the precautions taken have helped, many rules have been changed during visitation specifically. We wish to address those issues. Recently, meetings have been held on specific days at many facilities for visitors to voice their concerns with staff. Although our voices are being heard, there hasn't been a large turnout. Some family members live far away from the facilities and weren't able to express their concerns. There are new attempts being made to make visits more family friendly. However,the things that are lacking or being taken away outweigh any good being done. Below are the issues we wish to address in hopes that we can continue to make improvements while allowing safety to be a priority. *Food in the visiting area has no nutritional value, especially for young children and those who have medical conditions such as nut allergies, diabetes, and sodium restrictions. Offenders miss lunch during visiting hours as well which is being replaced with junk food from vending machines. For instance, an addition of a cold food vending machine could provide snacks like yogurt, string cheese, and sandwiches which is also supplemental enough to substitute for a lunchtime meal. DOC could check with their vendors to see what sorts of food could be offered other than candy and soft drinks. *The time it takes to process incoming visitors is longer due to added security and short staffing. Some facilities have introduced the ideas of pagers/buzzers as well as canopies and benches for outside waiting. These options provide no protection from the elements and technology doesn't always work as it should. Extra staff on visiting days could be provided if available, as well as additional indoor seating. *Extra visiting time should be allowed when visiting area isn't crowded. Some facilities are strict about allowing the minimum one hour even when space allows for incoming visitors. *In facilities where body scanners are being used, visitors and inmates should be allowed to the provided restroom in the visiting areas. Visitors are currently sent back to the processing areas to use the restroom and be reprocessed, slowing down processing for incoming visitors. Body scanners are able to pick up on feminine hygiene products and leave little to the imagination when it comes to a visitors anatomy of their body. This is on top of metal detectors,a pat down, and, if necessary, a strip search; after a body scan, this is excessive. Offenders shouldn't have to return to their living areas to use the restroom because they're searched upon entering and exiting the visiting area, nor should their visits be terminated should they need to perform a basic human function such as using the restroom. * Female visitors shouldn't be asked to change their feminine products to one provided by VADOC when menstruating. On top of being embarrassing, it borders discrimination, sexual assault, and a religious rights violation in some cases. *Activities such as coloring, board games, cards, books to read, and tv could be provided to keep children occupied instead of expecting them to sit still, especially very young children. Allowing books for reading could encourage literacy for both offenders and children and allow bonding between the two. *Offenders are no longer allowed to hold babies and small children--a setback that could cause psychological and developmental issues for children and offenders alike as well as hinder their relationship. VADOC supposedly supports and encourages relationships with offenders and their loved ones, but denies them the right to hold their children. *Offenders should be allowed to wear the clothes they wear in their living areas to visitation. The state issued jumpsuits and shoes take away from their dignity as a human. * Facilities could have a special family day as an incentive for good behavior every so often on a day other than a regular visit day.   We understand that contraband is a very real issue plaguing the facilities, but we as visitors and supporters have been stripped of many things because of it. We do, however, strive to see our loved ones do better and be better and become productive members of society, as a majority of them will be returning home. We feel as though Virginia Department of Corrections is hindering offenders’ health and relationships and separating them from the support systems that they need for successful re-entry.  We request that Virginia Department of Corrections review their visitation policies and procedures, and take into consideration the requests and suggestions being made by loved ones and supporters of offenders.

Supporters of the incarcerated, Virginia
355 supporters
Started 1 month ago

Petition to Edmund G. Brown Jr., California Governor, California State Senate, California State House, CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan

Free the 3,000+ nonviolent inmates still imprisoned under "three strikes" in California

Despite the fact that Californians have voted three separate times to release or resentence nonviolent offenders, more than 3,000 remain imprisoned under the state's draconian "Three Strikes" law  —  the so-called "tough-on-crime" law which sentenced three-time felons to 25-years-to-life prison sentences, even if the third felony was for drug possession or a minor theft. Unfortunately, the language written into well-intentioned ballot initiatives like Proposition 57 (passed in 2016), Proposition 47 (passed in 2014), and Proposition 36 (passed in 2012) left behind many "third strikers" and also allowed the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the courts broad authority over their implementation — authority which has been used to deny appeals for early release, resentencing, or early parole consideration for three strikes convictions. For example, because of CDCR's blanket authority on interpreting the new laws, Prop 57 ended up not being fully applied to third strikers, and Prop 36 (which removed a third strike for certain non-violent offenses), did not affect inmates with a “serious,” but non-violent third strike. Instead, they were lumped into the same category as murderers and rapists! Because of these injustices, Unite the People began crafting its own law in 2017, The People's Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act. The California Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) scored our bill and found that it would release three thousand+ nonviolent inmates in the first year with potential savings to the state of more than $100 million every year. Nonviolent third strikers are also among the least likely to re-offend, far below the national average at less than 2%. If CDCR refuses to listen to the will of the people, we hope that Governor Jerry Brown will take action and commute the sentences of as many of these nonviolent third strikers who have been left behind as possible. We also encourage a state legislative fix based on the language of our proposition. If these requests aren't met, we plan to immediately begin signature gathering for the People's Fair Sentencing and Public Safety Act with a goal of appearing on the 2020 ballot. Until then, we need as many voices as possible added to this petition to show Governor Brown, CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan, and the California Assembly and Senate that the people are serious about real reform. Finally, as a nonprofit organization with thousands of members in California, we have been approached by dozens of families seeking help for their loved ones who have been unjustly incarcerated under the Three Strikes law. Below is a link to list of names of incarcerated nonviolent third strikers who have asked us for help. We will continue adding to this list as more requests come in, as well as highlighting individual stories on our website. A more complete version of the list will also be mailed directly to Governor Brown. While we acknowledge that these individuals did commit a serious offense, they have all served their time in an exemplary fashion, and their lengthy sentences are unjust. We hope our efforts will aid in highlighting their situations and in fulfilling their commutation requests. Link to list of third strikers who have asked us for help with their commutation requests

Unite the People
1,815 supporters
This petition won 3 months ago

Petition to Ralph Northam

Conditional Pardon, Early Release for Kyle S. Rugg (“Uhura Loyal King Allah”)

On behalf of Kyle S. Rugg (“Uhura Loyal King Allah”), “I am seeking a pardon from the newly elected Governor, Ralph S. Northam. An early release from the penal system to reunite back with my family, friends and the communities surrounded by my permanent residence. My mother who is my world has battled cervical cancer, as well as unsermounted amounts of stress due to choices that led to my incarceration. My siblings are battling with different obstacles including, but not limited to stress, obesity and depression. A major effect of their ailments is due to my incarceration and they not having their big brother home to help keep balance like a nucleus in a cell. Incarceration has been a life changing experience. Being locked up in an animal cage and fed like a starving infant, metaphorically speaking, can and will have impactful neurological thoughts. Truthfully, those thoughts can be very toxic if an individual allows them to be. My experience has widened my horizon through trial and error. I have began to master my thoughts like, John Nash from a Beautiful Mind and even though I haven’t dealt with physiological disorders, I’ve still had to take full control of my thought patterns, as well as, what I feed my mind and body and through the teachings of the Nation of Gods and Earths, it has helped me seek a high elevation of knowing myself. Since my incarceration, I have completed and been apart of many different programs such as a custodial maintenance vocational trade, “L.A.B.” - Life and Business program, “I.C.A.N.” - Investing in Community Action Networking program and an elder/mentor training program. I have also completed my OSHA 10 hour construction safety and health course and am currently in the process of earning an electrician’s certificate through a vocational trade. I’ve also been taking drastic steps in refining my overall health and thought patterns. In so much that my passion for health and fitness has inspired me to train 4 individuals on their own health and fitness goals, as well as, mentor them for when they’re released into society this year. As an elder/mentor, I’ve held and conducted 3 seminars as a motivational speaker for individuals in the re-entry program and have plans to conduct more in the near future. My overall goals for myself, now and in the future are to help with the crime of the youth, gang violence, recividism and the total health state (mentally and physically) of our children, women and men in the communities. A new movement in which I am forming to help rebuild our communities internally, as well as, externally to have a much brighter and longer future is a program I call, “PEACE” - which means, “Proper • Education • Activates • Constant • Elevation”. I also plan on establishing two Non-Profit Organizations (NPO). The first NPO will be for young troubled boys and teens who live in a world of poverty, crime and gang violence. My goal is to be a positive role model for young boys and teens who, unfortunately, may not have an active or positive male figure in their life and are seeking positive guidance into becoming a strong, productive, law abiding individual with values and ethics. The second NPO will be a general education and motivational speaking conglomerate who speaks to anyone seeking upliftment on living a positive and healthy life. Another goal of mine is to obtain a certification in personal training, so I can open and run my own personal training business. I would also like to obtain a certification in becoming a life coach and yoga instructor. I want to create other programs that will help inspire and motivate people to be better than they were yesterday and emulate, “PEACE”. Dealing with victim impact, I have realized my poor choices and decisions in life don’t just affect me, but others around me, as well. I deeply and sincerely regret the hurt and pain I’ve put my family, friends and communities in. The only way to make amends is by continuing to elevate myself righteously, so in return, I can affect others righteously, as well. Hopefully through time and effort I will be able to demonstrate the genuine love and care, by and through, my visions. Please, help support my request and future endeavors of change. Thank you for taking the time to read and sign my petition, so I can get a second chance in society.” Sincerely, Kyle S. Rugg (“Uhura Loyal King Allah”)

Veronica Londoño
506 supporters
Update posted 3 months ago

Petition to Ralph S. Northam, Tim Kaine, Mark Warner

Conditional Pardon Petition: children facing adult consequences

At the age of 14, Dustin was sentenced to 70 years in an adult facility for his role in a crime. At such a young age he was described as a boy who was a danger to society. Not just an immediate danger but for the rest of his life. As a mother of two 14 year old boys, I couldn't imagine looking at them and telling them they'll be a danger and essentially not worthy of another chance for the rest of their lives. Dustin has grown up in a prison, that does not provide the proper opportunities for long term offenders to be rehabilitated. The majority of those opportunities are offered to short term inmates. Yet, despite that, Dustin has taken opportunites to recieve his GED, learn trades, work, and his own initiative to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually stronger. He has taken great strides to better himself and is more than capable of being a positive and productive member of society. He takes responsibility for his crimes. Dustin has goals in life, upon his prayerful early release, to mentor children to stay far from the path he himself has been on. He and our families would be more than greatful for the opportunity to show him he deserves another chance. To sentence a juvenile to an adult facility for a lengthy stay sends a message that they are incapable of positive change. It should be the intent of prison sentences to allow for rehabilitation and allow the offenders the right to be released into society and show they are capable of being productive citizens. To condemn him to such a lengthy sentence for mistakes made a child, with [currently] no review of sentencing, and no parole in VA for crimes committed after 1995, is devastating. This directly impacts families and therefore has negative effects on communities they interact with. To grant Dustin a conditional pardon will restore our families and bring healing to those directly affected with his lengthy sentences.It will also allow him to reach children headed on a difficult road themselves, who may otherwise not have the understanding of what potential consequences they could face. According to a recent study published by the ACLU in 2016, the number of juvenile offenders within 12 U.S states serving between 40 years and life, is an astonishing 8,300. When these children are convicted, they are not old enough even enter into agreements, often not old enough to drive. They are sentenced to terms longer than the lives they have lived and aren't qualified to even be released until they are old enough to recieve social security. Prayerfully, we ask for support in this conditional pardon request to the Govenor of the state of VA. I, and we, thank you in advance for standing behind us in hopes that Dustin may be granted this request and afforded the opportunity to come home and prove on this side of the fence that he is a changed man, he is a better man,  and he can be a productive member of society. Again, thank you for taking the time to read, sign, and share our petition. 

Krysti Chappell
456 supporters