Sharanda Jones

This week we will talk about female prison inmates. Mostly we will watch a documentary on a group of maximum security female inmates in NY State. However, this week’s blog post focuses on a woman who had her life sentence commuted by President Obama. Far from a violent offender, Sharanda Jones was convicted of felony drug charges and sentenced to life in prison. Watch this VIDEO that tells the story of the clemency.

Then watch the VIDEO that tells the story of her family that she left behind when she was incarcerated.

There are a lot of things we could talk about in this story. One thing that always interests me is to think of what it might be like to be locked up for 17 years. Check out this SITE that gives the reader a good sense of what was happening the year (1999) Jones was incarcerated. I think it gives one a good sense of how the world changes and moves on and in many cases leaves the incarcerated behind. I can only imagine how hard it will be for Jones to “catch up” to all the changes from 1999-present.


12 responses to “Sharanda Jones”

  1. Michael Brody says:

    The case of Jones definitely showcases an unproportional sentence given her crime. Many cases, like Jones, was a result of mandatory minimum sentencing policies. The fact that President Obama commuted Jone’s sentence says a ton about lack of fairness and justice that she received.
    Jones will of course have to “get with the times,” but she seems up to the task. Jones seemed to have the attitude and demeanor that she will make something out of her situation. It appeared she was speaking for a foundation, which seems highly appropriate. I would like to see Jones be an advocate for other incarcerated women like her by doing talks, conferences, and the like while getting paid for it!
    The world will never stand idly by, for anyone, including prisoners. This is why it is imperative that our jail and prison systems prepare soon-to-be released individuals so they are ready to reintegrate, and do not become an additional burden on social programs, etc.

  2. Paxton Bergin says:

    Jones was a very lucky woman for receiving that pardon, but I think she deserved it. It is crazy that she had gotten such a stiff sentence for her first offense. I am not sure if her judge was trying to set some kind of standard, but it was a hard punishment indeed.
    Now that she is released there is a lot of catching up for her to do. If her prison was anything like RCI she may not have too difficult of a time re entering society. Obviously it will still be a culture shock because she is not used to all that freedom, but I am sure she will adjust nicely. She was heard saying on the video something similar to, ” it is like i won the lottery, I’m not going to mess it up.” Jones appears to have her act together, after all she did have 17 years to sit and think about “what she did”.

  3. Sydney Hanick says:

    I do not believe Jones belonged in prison for that long of a sentence to begin with. I am glad she got pardoned by President Obama, but it makes me wonder how many people are serving excessive time in prison, away from their life, for false accusations, or minor crimes. She was lucky though, and has the rest of her life to get to know her daughter, since she got locked up when her daughter was 8. It seemed like she had a lot of connections outside of prison to family and friends,so hopefully that will help her reintegrate into society. Also, I believe she was extremely thankful for the pardon by President Obama, so I’m sure she will always keep that in the back of her mind.

  4. Kasey Miller says:

    This is just an insane circumstance. Its hard to believe that she got life in prison for her very first sentence. Personally I would think that is very unreasonable. Especially for a women with an eight year old daughter as well. But then to have the President of the United States to commute her sentence. What a roller coaster ride this must have been for her.

  5. Kasey Miller says:

    I cant even fathom what it must be like coming out of prison after 17 years. Its a totally different world than what it was like when she was incarcerated. Adjusting back to society and life cannot be easy at all. I mean her daughter is now about 25 years old. She just missed out on nearly her whole childhood. That has to be a crazy transformation and adjustment, but she seemed very well put together and hopefully she takes this new opportunity and makes the most out of it,

  6. tiarra merrill says:

    I find it interesting that, Mrs. Jones was sentenced to life in prison and this was her first violent offense. She did not deserve this sentence. The fact that she even served 17 years before President Obama had pardoned her; she was lucky to have been one to get picked this was unbelievable. I do not think there is justice in this. She served more than her debt to society and should get a check for serving way too many years. You can see how happy and grateful she is that the president did this; she is able to go and share her story but is not able to get those years back that she lost with her friends, family, and other members of society. All she can do now is make new memories and try to make a change and talk about her experiences. She lost out on a lot outside the prisons wall’s she can try to rebuild and reconnect to her daughter and others but it might be hard. A lot has changed within the 17 years she was away. I am glad that she is humbled about everything it makes it easier for her to reintegrate back into society.

  7. Tim Dies says:

    I don’t think that it was right to sentence Sharanda to a life sentences with this only being her first crime committed and due to the fact that she was a non-violent offender. It would have been more helpful if she was given probation or a small amount of jail time where she was able to learn some skills that would have allowed her to grow as an individual. by giving her a life sentence it removed any benefits of her learning new things and growing so that when she would have gotten out she could be reformed. Instead she was given a life sentence which provided no help in reinforcing her self-esteem. I think that it is time that we look at more first time, non violent offenders who have been convicted of long sentences and we determine whether these long sentences were justified. If we did this I’m sure we would find many more people who have been convicted of first time offenses and sentenced to unreasonable sentences. This would help in reducing the prison population as well even if only slightly.

  8. Shannon Lefebvre says:

    This is just an outrageous amount of time for a drug offense, especially the first one. I think that Sharanda should have been given a few months maybe, but life is not called for. I think that the hardest part Sharanda will have to face is going back to the real world. So much as changed and she needs to conform into society and not get into any more trouble at the same time. I think that her biggest obstacles are yet to hit her, but she seems like she is a tough cookie and will do amazing. She was never violent so her coming back should not cause a major disturbance to the world around her.

  9. Seth Daellenbach says:

    While I may not agree with all of President Obamas actions and polices, I love that fact that he grants clemency to whose who deserve it. Most people who are locked up for drugs are locked up for far to long and they aren’t necessarily bad people. Many of them just need rehabilitation and access to different services to push them in the right direction. Sharanda Jones is a great example of this. Just watching these short videos, it was clear that she had learned her lesson and that she was ready for many years to move on with her life. Unfortunately, she could not do so until Obama stepped in and did what was clearly right.

  10. Brandon Layber says:

    It’s shocking to me that Mrs. Jones had a life sentence put upon her for what seems to be a somewhat harmless offense. Having no prior offenses, Mrs. Jones should served at maximum a few years for an offense I believe cannot harm or even kill a few people. Obama pardoning her is astonishing; the fact that a president pays attention to a sole individual inmate is very cool. What I don’t understand is why any rehabilitation officers or even the prison itself did not see progress in this woman who was too harshly punished. What is the most detrimental is the time spent wasting away in a facility designed to house those not suited for normal societal standards. Jones is nowhere near comparable to first-degree murderers who also serve the same life sentences. I believe that it is important that Mrs. Jones becomes an advocate or face of a group that fights for the wrongfully convicted in prison. Groups that can review, release, and reintegrate inmates back into their community instead of out on the streets.

  11. Trenisha Battiste says:

    Its sad that Ms. jones had to spend a quarter of her life in jail away from her family, especially her daughter. She shouldn’t have been in jail for some conspiracy and she wasn’t given a fair trial. I am so happy that president Obama granted her clemency and that he paid attention to a person that was innocent. The whole criminal justice system at the point of time was more messed up because they didn’t use basic evidence like they use today. they only went on witness testimony and that’s how she got sentenced to life. A cocaine Conspiracy earned her life in prison nd she didn’t even murder anybody but she sits in a prison full of people that have murdered and harmed people. She was a devoted mother who was robbed from her daughter for 17 years and now she is out has to start from where she left off.

  12. Adam Earle says:

    I think that this happens to much in today’s criminal justice system. We have people serving time for non-violent offences, and getting ridiculous amount of years in prison. It is important to note that Ms. Jones isn’t the only person that has to deal with this unfair treatment from our justice system. I think that the website hit on something important, after these people are forced to live in a prison for a non-violent minor crime, as they finally get released they find the changed world very hard to adjust to. The part that scares me about Ms. Jones situation is that she got life in prison because of her crime.

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