Topic

Nonviolent Offenders

29 petitions

This petition won 1 year ago

Petition to Edmund G. Brown Jr., California Governor

Reduce my son's unjust sentence

My son Jeremy Stewart has been given 70 years in prison for stealing. He was convicted of burglarizing two homes while the residents were out. There was no confrontation, no threats, and no violence. California has the toughest Three strikes law allowing life sentences for property theft. My son had two prior nonviolent offenses, the judge made the decision to enforce the law to the fullest. I have been fighting for a fairer punishment ever since. Under previous California law, Jeremy would have most likely been sentenced to about 12-15 years in prison. But because of California's 3 Strikes law, Jeremy received a harsher sentence than drug cartel hit men who had confessed to killing more than 20 people. They only got 25-years-to-life. Jeremy's poor decisions were made while he was dealing with a serious drug addiction and depression. He needed treatment and rehabilitation.This doesn't excuse his conduct and he knows he needs to face consequences for his actions. But 70 years to life with no good time credits allowed, means he won't be eligible for parole until he is 96. The cost, 5 million dollars to taxpayers. This is an unjust and  inhumane death sentence, all for nonviolent offense. Jeremy is not the only one being punished -- I am raising his two children in his absence. Every day, these innocent young children suffer emotionally missing their father. I struggle financially working to afford day care and their basic needs.This unjust sentence means his children will never be able share the same four walls as their father. He should have an opportunity to earn the right to return home to provide for his two young children, Heatherly and David, currently ages 5 and 6. Today Jeremy is serving his sentence at Centenila State Prison. He tutors other inmates, leads the Christian worship services and the Narcotics Anonymous group. He currently has a 4.0 GPA through Coastline College and will soon be graduating, just 4 more classes to go. He has been a model prisoner. Jeremy made a terrible mistake, but should a nonviolent crime put him behind bars for life?  A Petition for Clemency has been sent to Governor Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown to exercise his discretion and reduce Jeremy's sentence. I am asking the Governor to reduce his sentence to 20 years. I humbly and respectfully request your support. Please sign my petition and stand by me and my family as we fight to give Jeremy the chance to come home one day. Thank you. Elizabeth Stewart

Elizabeth stewart
55,643 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump

Clemency for Craig Cesal - Serving Life Without Parole for Marijuana

Seventeen years ago, my dad, Craig Cesal, was arrested on a marijuana conspiracy case because he owned a trucking repair business. He would repair trucks that had been leased and used to smuggle pot. The trucks would be trashed after the marijuana was stripped from the secret compartments, and although it was obvious these trucks were being used to smuggle pot, my dad didn't think it was his business to report it.   He had no criminal history whatsoever, but today, he is serving a life sentence without parole because he didn't take a plea bargain, went to trial, and was therefore held responsible for everything the kingpin and smugglers had done. They cut deals, testified against him and they are all free today.  Marijuana is now legal for recreational use in nine states. And politicians like John Boehner are joining marijuana investment firms and plan to make millions of dollars while my dad rots in prison. His only chance at freedom is if President Trump commutes his sentence. My dad was a single, divorced, dad, and would tell my brother and I that if we got straight A's at school, we would go on a special trip, like Washington DC or Disneyland. It always worked. He would also make us wear T-shirts that said “I got straight A's and came to Disneyland.” He would also make us take photos with all the Disney characters. He loved to show everyone the photos of us with Disney characters when we got home. He was the best dad in the world and I don't see how his incarceration is serving any good purpose for our society. If President Trump does not commute my father's sentence, he will likely die in prison, especially since he has diabetes and has had medical complications and requirements that are not being properly met.  Please sign my petition so I can be with my father.  We want to make up for the time we have missed out on. You will end so much suffering if this petition succeeds in bringing him home.  Lauren Cesal

Lauren Cesal
302,810 supporters
Update posted 5 months ago

Petition to Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump

Please Grant Clemency to Robert Shipp

In 1993, at the age of 20, my brother Robert Shipp was indicted and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base and cocaine. In 1994, he was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He was involved in the drug conspiracy for only 5 months. This was Robert’s first drug offense and he doesn’t have a violent history.  At his sentencing hearing, Robert’s judge repeatedly verbalized his objections to the sentence that he was forced to give Robert. He explained that he had no choice but to give Robert a life sentence based on the Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Guidelines. He further explained that the law didn’t allow him to use discretion in the sentencing. He also noted that the cocaine suppliers plead guilty and received 12 and 14 years for supplying the cocaine in this conspiracy.   While Robert takes full responsibility for his participation in the criminality that resulted in his incarceration, I think it is important to share with you what led this honor student down this path. When Robert was in high school our brother was stabbed to death at the age of 19. Our brother’s untimely death devastated Robert and he began acting out in a negative manner. As a teenager, Robert’s inability to cope with this tragic loss ultimately and regrettably led to his risk-taking/criminal behavior. Our brother’s murderer was sentenced to 20 years and was released after serving 10 years. It is unbelievable that Robert received a life sentence for his 5 months involvement, in a nonviolent drug conspiracy, and our brother’s murderer only served 10 years. Robert should have been punished for his involvement in the conspiracy; however, a life sentence is excessive. Robert’s daughter was almost 2 years old when he was incarcerated. She has unfortunately experienced the all too familiar pitfalls of growing up without a father, and is now a single mother of four. In February 2015, due to a retroactive amendment to the federal sentencing guidelines Robert's sentenced was reduced to 30 years.  My brother is now 46 years old, but hasn't given up on life.  He spends his time reading, mentoring, speaking, and securing all possible certifications and college credits. My children have never seen their uncle outside of the visitation room; however, they look forward to spending time with him, as he shares with them the importance of making the right choices in life and reminds them that bad choices have consequences and could very well mean giving up their freedom. He also encourages them to do well in school, respect others, and take responsibility for their actions. The unexpected death of our father on July 17, 2012, remains difficult for all of us; and is compounded by what we know was our father’s unending hope to secure Robert’s freedom. As our father laid helplessly, on his death bed with weary eyes, I promised him that I would continue to fight for freedom and justice for my brother. Because Robert wasn't allowed to attend our father's funeral, he wrote a letter, entitled, "A Letter to my Dad," and asked that I read it on his behalf. It was by far one of the hardest things I had to do in my life. When Robert is released, our family and loved ones will provide him with emotional and financial support, and a reentry plan has been developed to ensure that he is given a fair chance at becoming a productive citizen. We will also assist him with his desire to mentor youth that are at a crossroad, just as he was as a grieving young adult. Robert has so much to offer society. Please sign my petition asking President Donald Trump to grant my brother clemency. He has more than paid his debt to society for his 5 months involvement in a nonviolent drug conspiracy at the young age of 20. Robert has been in prison for 25 years now...over half of his life. He was sentenced to life before his life even really got started. 

Veda A.
152,003 supporters
Started 5 months ago

Petition to Donald J. Trump

Does prison need change?

Does Prison Need Change? It took my coming to Prision to find out that I needed to change. I soon found that Prision is not the ideal place to make positive change, but it did provide an opportunity for those willing to do the hard work and without the distractions of real-world life.My name is Ricardo and this is my history.It started in earnest at age 11 when my dad, brother and I moved to America to find a better life for our family.We were all very excited about the immense opportunities that laid ahead although I didn't quit know what the move would mean at the time. We left my mom in Guayaquil, Ecuador until we could set up a home to start our new life. For that we stayed with my grandmother in New Jersey. The only English i had learn in anticipation of coming to America was my number and some greetings. I knew there were going to be changes, but what I was not prepared for was the cultural differences.In Ecuador dad was the worker and provider, and my mother took care of us kids and the house. We were to mind our parents, go to school, and play sports. Arriving at our Grandmother's house she wasted no time in giving us household duties. Cleaning the house, doing dishes, and then the cooking lessons started so I could make my own breakfast. I started crying for my mama. Grandmother stayed on the teaching schedule and soon I adapted. In no time I was taking care of myself and ready for more. I hardly remember learning English. In just a few short months I was confident in almost any conversation.After 18 months my dad had found a better paying job in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we just picked up and moved.We all had our responsibilities. We shared the work and saved everywhere we could in an effort to bring my mother from Ecuador.It was hard, but we knew we were lucky to have made the move to America and that there were responsibilities to go with it. I had made friends easily, excelled in my school studies, and I loved playing all sports. My track coach had encouraged me to take track all year around. I gave up soccer and concentrated on track, making all-conference all four years of cross country.I also completed three years of JROTC. I joined and was impressed with the Monroe Police Department's Explorer Program. I was also considering joining the military.I distinctly remember how proud I was when my brother Joao and I officially became American Citizens. Soon I landed a job at a bank after I graduated high school. This was the ultimate for me at age 21. I thought life could not get any better. But when my life seemed perfect in every way something went terribly wrong. I took and unexpected turn that I still can not explain. I stole bank money. I didn't have a plan or even try to get by with it. I was made to pay it back and was fired from my job. Instead of learning my lesson I went out and robbed two more banks, before being arrested and incarcerated where I remain to this day.Being incarcerated, the real life consequences started to seep into my psyche. The seriousness of what I did to others and myself began to mount. The extent of the harm I had caused i was being laid out for me. I had traumatized the victims of my crime. I dissapointed my family and friends and with the reality of what I did my future became an unsolved riddle.There was no way to rewind the tape. I pled guilty and was sentenced to 34 years in prison. No way to undo the harm.No way to fix what I had broke. As I become more aware of my Prision surroundings i realized I would have to work very hard to get it right, and that would mean finding some discipline or I would be pulled down by the system. I knew there was no legal way of reconciling my situation. If I could do nothing to help anyone else, all that was left was to work on myself. I didn't have to search far to find a void my life. I realized I had been running a lot of laps, but was not going anyplace real. I had to start with my own well being. The answer I needed was right there in the jail-house Bible Study Group. I found that it was God that was the missing element in my life. The guidance and structure of the Gospel give me the balance I needed to make my life whole and meaningful with a new understanding that I can be forgiven no matter how bad my crime. I could then find direction on where I needed to go from there. I found my Christian studies inexhaustible in developing and maintaining my moral compass.It's been a decade since my criminal acts and my existence in Prision has not gotten easier. I worked heard to keep my physical, mental, and spiritual balance maintained. I have also taken all the Prision programs, but have found them lacking.I worked up to all the best Prision jobs, and still love playing all the sports. I am a soccer commissioner, and still run the track. I volunteer with different ministries with any time I might have left on my schedule.But I still have this insatiable appetite for something more because we need so much more and I recognized prision could be so much more, "If Only." If only prisoners were given real incentives and offered real programs. If we had more nurturing programs in a more positive environment where we could progress, and calibrate our accomplishments, where we could see ourselves make the change. And especially programs that would give us hope for a second chance. A chance to earn our rightful place back into our communities.The debate for these very changes have been going on for several years. The studies have shown them effective in helping thousands more just like me. The good news is that legislators are now proposing the creation of a Prision environment that would do exactly this. Then when those of us that lose our way make mistakes and go to Prision, we can have a real correctional system to make positive change and in a much more reasonable time frame. Real and positive change will continue in to evolve in the communities and would be a tremendous savings to tax payers. This is my hope and my prayers.Ricardo Arellano, 23305-058, 2018

Ricardo Arellano
287 supporters