Target: Mr. Jay Nixon, Governor of the State of Missouri
Goal: Praise commutation of man’s life sentence for a non-violent drug offense.
Another victory has been won in the war on drugs; a man was granted clemency for his non-violent drug related life sentence. The man in question fell prey to a dreaded, and wholly unhelpful, three strikes law and has spent the last 20 years behind bars. This pardon and the people who worked tirelessly to make it a reality, including activists on ForceChange who signed a recent petition, deserve to be commended and encouraged to continue fighting for people in the same situation.
The United States has a terribly serious prison problem. The numbers are staggering; for example, despite only having five percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has twenty five percent of its prisoners. Many of these prisoners are non-violent criminals who have fallen victim to dated statutes on marijuana. This was the case for 62-year-old Jeff Mizanskey who fell victim to a three strikes law and has spent the last 20 years languishing in prison. He was slated to serve a life sentence–that’s right–life in prison for the possession and possible sale of marijuana. This is not to say that some drug offenders aren’t dangerous, or violent, and they all still broke the law, but a life sentence is outrageous.
Thankfully, Mr. Mizanskey’s plight made it to the public eye and activists and lawmakers alike petitioned the governor of Missouri to pardon him. Happily, the governor listened to the voices of the people and made the right decision to pardon Mr. Mizanskey. This type of pardon is becoming more and more common and must be encouraged to start cutting down the United States’ prison population. Many of these “criminals” are non-violent and not a danger to society in the slightest. Please sign here to commend this pardon and encourage many more like it.
Dear Governor Nixon,
I am writing to you today to express my pride in your dedication to solving the United States’ prison crisis. We currently house one-fourth of the world’s prisoners but only five percent of its population. A disproportionate number of the people who are locked up are non-violent drug offenders. This comes from a draconian sentencing system for drug offenses that includes things like three strikes laws and life sentences for possession.
Actions like you have just taken in pardoning Mr. Mizanskey are becoming more common and are, sadly, exceedingly necessary. Our prisons are set to burst and having people who do not truly belong in in them there means that prison guards have less time watch those prisoners who are actually dangerous.
Thank you for making the right decision and listening to the voices of your constituents and colleagues. Surely you have done the right thing and I encourage you to do the same in the future should you be afforded the opportunity.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: KimChee