Kemba Smith Pradia served 7 years of a 24 year sentence for crack cocaine before receiving clemency from President Bill Clinton. As it turns out, she was incidentally involved in her boyfriend's crack dealership. The facts of the case suggest that her sentence was unusually harsh. Prosecutors acknowledged that she never sold, used, or handled drugs. This year, the Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the Fair Sentencing Act, to limit harsh mandatory sentences and the unfair sentencing practices regarding powder cocaine vs. crack cocaine. Kemba has gone on to complete a college education, raise her son and daughter, and establish her own foundation. She points out that during the past 10 years over 5,000 men and women have gone to federal prison for crack cocaine offenses and were subject to the unfair sentencing structure. There's more. See the full story on CNN Opinion.
Thanks to Robert Belle for bringing this story to our attention
In celebration of the Dr King Holiday, New Mindz, LLC and Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writer’s Wordshop will present the 2nd Annual ‘Finding Your Dream’ Event On Saturday, January 15, 2010, 10am. This free event will have a special emphasis on education and self esteem. The event will feature authors, mentors, professional panels, entertainment, vendors, music, children’s activities and the winners of the ‘Finding Your Dream’ writing competition.
Wednesday, December 14, the Pardons Board voted unanimously on three cases, recommending a commutation of life sentences for Tyrone Werts, Keith O. Smith and William Fultz. A fourth recommendation was denied.
This is the first time since 2004 that the Pardons Board has recommended the commutation of a life sentence. That year, the Board approved one commutation of life which was granted by Governor Rendell, while three others were denied. Two further cases were denied in 2005.
Since then, no other cases for the commutation of a life sentence have been heard.
Yesterday's recommendations will go to the governor with the hope that he will grant the commutations.
Pennsylvania is one of six states where individuals can be sentenced to their natural life behind bars without the possiblity of parole. The Prison Society has been a long-time advocate for a change in this inhumane sentencing policy.
Werts, Smith and Fultz have each served 35 years, earning at the least a measure of mercy.
You can add to our News page by sending articles, essays, reports, announcements, etc., to any of the CRESC officers. Or, you can directly enter your own comments to any of the BLOG posts on this page.