Must Read: Obama's Clemency Program Has Failed Incarcerated Women
Date:  01-20-2017

Out of 1,715 people granted clemency, less than 100 were women
(Editor's note: The number of clemencies granted rose by 330, for a total of 1,715, since the article below was writte. The number of women granted clemency still remains below 100.)

From The Establishment:

Lori Kavitz is a 57-year-old woman who has been in federal prison since 2001. Kavitz was a first-time offender who was sentenced to 24 years and four months in prison after her boyfriend was arrested for dealing methamphetamine and she was deemed his “assistant.” Kavitz had fallen into drugs and this relationship following her husband’s suicide. Despite the fact that there was no physical evidence of any kind in her case, she was convicted under conspiracy laws based on hearsay evidence.

At the time of her sentencing, the judge on her case, Honorable Judge Bennett of the Northern District of Iowa, called her sentence “a prime example of the idiocy of the United States Sentencing Guidelines” and “another of the many, many, many, examples of what I consider to be unjust sentences that I’ve been forced to impose.” He went on to say, “…this is in my opinion an idiotic, arbitrary, unduly harsh, and grossly unfair sentence. And I don’t have to like it. I have to impose it because that’s my obligation under the law.”

In 2014, Obama announced his Clemency Project (CP14), intended for incarcerated people like Kavitz who were sentenced under overly draconian mandatory minimum and conspiracy laws. The program, which former Attorney General Eric Holder estimated could give upwards of 10,000 incarcerated people a chance at freedom, was created for people who meet certain criteria:

1. Currently serving a federal sentence in prison 2. Would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense(s) today (i.e., non-violent, low-level offenders without significant ties to large-scale criminal organizations, those having served at least 10 years of their prison sentence, and those having demonstrated good conduct in prison).

Lori Kavitz is a mother of two boys, and is exactly the kind of prisoner this program was created for and yet, her clemency request was denied just last week. Advocates have no idea why. Meanwhile, men with much more significant criminal histories have already received clemency under the project. Continue reading>>>