When Debra’s husband Ron died in prison, she was devastated. But then she started telling his story. She’s still in grief, but she’s channeled some of that feeling into action and advocacy.
Second Chances Resource Library
The Second Chances Resource Library contains resources related to expanding release opportunities
for people in prison who are serving long sentences or have other circumstances warranting release
Found 151 resources
Theirs is a tragic love story for the ages. She’s in prison, and he continues to deteriorate more each day from muscular dystrophy, at this point unable to care for himself. And the BOP wants to keep them apart—even though she meets the criteria for compassionate release.
UPDATE: After applying for compassionate release numerous times and being denied, Connie was finally released on September 19, 2019, because of the “Elderly release” provision of the First Step Act.
Even after 25 years of prison food, Lynn Reece hasn’t forgotten how to cook. Before he got in trouble, he ran a successful restaurant in Houston, The Real Meal. “It was home-cooked dishes. Everything that your mom’s going to prepare for you. Meatloaf, pot roast, chicken and dumplings, fried chicken. All from scratch. Homemade. And the little place got popular.” Business was so good that he expanded into catering.
Ernest Boykin was 41, not halfway through a 15-year sentence in federal prison, and COVID had been hitting prisons hard for months. He had underlying medical conditions that put him at high risk if he contracted the disease, and on lockdown, conditions inside deteriorated by the day. He applied to the warden for compassionate release and was denied. Despair would have been easy.
In September of 2020, Danica Acebedo Jucutan posted this happy message on the “FAMMilies in Action” Facebook page: “I just wanted to share that after the many nights and days of researching, crying, complaining, giving up … things got better. So don’t give up! Have faith. No matter how many people put you down, there are more people who will help you and stay by your side.”
What happens when someone in prison gets very sick and there is no mechanism in place for the system to allow for compassion? That’s the situation that Joseph Palmer and his family are in right now. They – and many others like them – urgently need the state to put medical parole in place.
In 2020 and 2021, Oregon Governor Kate Brown granted clemency to approximately 1,026 convicted felons, comprising three groups: (1) individuals “vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19,” (2) individuals who had fought “the historic wildfires that ravaged the state around Labor Day 2020,” and (3) 73 individuals who were sentenced as juveniles prior to the passage of a non-retroactive law that established early release hearings after 15 years of incarceration for juvenile offenders. Two district attorneys and four family members of victims challenged these commutations. The Oregon Court of Appeals concluded that the commutations at issue here were a lawful exercise of the broad clemency power afforded Oregon governors by constitution and statute.
The American Bar Association (ABA) Working Group on Building Public Trust in the Justice System has canvassed existing ABA policies, supplemented them and compiled the whole into a set of Ten Principles, which, if employed together and consistently over time, would set the United States on a path toward ending mass incarceration. This includes two principles related to second chances:
Principle 6: Adopt “second look” policies, requiring review of sentences of incarceration at designated times to determine if they remain appropriate.
Principle 8: Expand opportunities for incarcerated individuals to obtain early release under compassionate release or similar programs.
This resolution by the American Bar Association urges urges all jurisdictions to enact legislation permitting courts to hear petitions that allow de novo hearings to take a “second look” at criminal sentences where individuals have been incarcerated for ten years, to create guidelines for these hearings that allow petitioners to receive notice and obtain the assistance of counsel, and to develop due process procedures.
The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 reduced the disparity in sentencing for crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses from 100:1 to 18:1. But true justice won’t come until the ratio is 1:1. Until then, thousands of people, more than 80 percent of them Black, remain behind bars serving harsh and unfair sentences. Now, legislation before Congress, the EQUAL Act, would finally end the disparity once and for all, bringing the ratio down to 1:1. For Terrance and Sagan Stanton and their children, the fight for this reform is very personal.