CAN-DO Official statement: Today goes down in history as the day President Trump recognizes that non-violent drug offenders deserve mercy. Alice Johnson was #1 on the CAN-DO Top 25 women most deserving of clemency and was passed over by the Obama administration for some mysterious reason. We have reason to believe there will be more to come because we have been asked to submit a list of potential candidates for President Trump to consider, but today is all about Alice. Formerly incarcerated women, including Topeka Sam, Andrea James and myself started Skyping Alice into Ivy League Universities, such as Yale, NYU, Vanderbilt, in a symposium called Real Women Real Voices. This caught the attention of others, like Van Jones organization #Cut50 who Skyped Alice into Google in DC. Over time, Topeka Sam connected MIC with Alice for a Video Op Ed that caught Kim Kardashian’s eye and if not for Kim’s commitment to free Alice Marie, we would not be at this intersection today. I’ve talked to Alice’s daughters, Catina Scales and Tretessa Johnson, early this morning and recently spoke with Alice. She got the news from Kim Kardashian herself. Alice is now in the fold of her loving family, and on the media circuit talking about her commutation of sentence by President Donald J. Trump.
CAN-DO Foundation is elated that Kim Kardashian met with President Trump on May 30th, Alice Johnson’s birthday, to discuss her case. According to the Washington Post it appears Alice’s clemency is imminent. CAN-DO President Amy Povah speaks with Alice frequently and reports it’s been an emotional roller coaster for Alice, but she has never sounded so happy as she does now. It’s our hope that others in a position of power will consider propping up additional cases of individuals worthy of mercy because there are so many candidates who deserve a second chance. Especially women (only 105 women out of 1715 people received clemency from Pres. Obama) and pot prisoners. CAN-DO has over 50 cases of individuals profiled on the website we think deserve mercy.
CAN-DO Advisory board member and pardon expert Mark Osler plugged Alice Johnson’s clemency on Don Lemon’s CNN Tonight show. on April 23, 2018, at the behest of CAN-DO Founder Amy Povah.
CAN-DO has advocated for Alice Johnson since 2014 when she captured our heart and became #1 on the CAN-DO Top 25 women deserving of clemency soon after Clemency Project 2014 was launched by the Obama administration. Even the Warden at FCI Aliceville, her Case Manager, the Captain and her Vocational Training Instructor wrote letters supporting Alice’s clemency which is virtually unheard of. CAN-DO has copies of the aforementioned letters in our files.
Alice Johnson has a VIDEO OP ED published in Mic on 10/23/17; describes her sentence as “unexecuted death sentence.” Watch the video on Facebook, share and comment.
Alice and other CAN-DO prisoners in Wash Examiner with Alan Dershowitz
Alice Johnson on CNN, The Hill, Mic, Vice, and many more – see media below:
Alice is heavily quoted in Business Insider saying “Kim is my war angel.”
- Alice was selected as one of six prisoners featured in the ACLU’s ad campaign to end mass incarceration.
- Has used skype to speak at numerous universities, including Yale and NYU, plus Google in DC and Los Angeles.
- New Haven Independent: Drug War’s Collateral Lifers Seek Freedom provides a sampling of Alice when The Council and CANDO skyped her into Yale University, Sept 2016.
Served: 21 years
Supporters: (see below)
Children: 2 daughters and 2 sons, 6 grand-children
Grew up: Olive Branch, Mississippi,
moved to Memphis, TN at 24
Tried: Memphis, TN.
Will Live: Memphis, TN
Charge: Conspiracy to possess cocaine; Attempted possession of cocaine; Money laundering
Year Sentenced: 1996
Release Date: Death
Served: 21 years
Priors: First Time Offender
Prison Conduct: Exemplary record and “role model inmate.”
Prison Address: Alice Johnson #14873076, FCI Aliceville, PO Box 4000, Aliceville, AL 35442
Clemency Petition: Denied by President Obama. Granted by (waiting for verification).
Congressman Steve Cohen (D) Tennessee
Congressman Bennie Thompson (D) Mississippi
Congressman Marc Veasey (D) Ft. Worth, Texas
Warden A. Washington-Adduci, FCI Aliceville,
AAMA (African American Mayors Association on 11/18/2016
AlabamaNAACP President Mr. Thomas Plunkett…DeSoto Mississippi branch
Warden Washington-Aducci at FCI Aliceville (now retired – letter on file)
Captain Gentry – FCI Aliceville (letter on file
Case manager – A Collins (letter on file)
Actor Kenneth Holliday
Dr. Linda Holliday…Pastor and founder “I’ve Been Chosen Ministries International”
Dr. L. LaSimba M. Gray, Jr – Sr. Pastor, New Sardis Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee.
Dr. Jeff Wickwire…Radio Personality, Pastor and founder “TurningPoint Church” Ft. Worth, Texas
CAN-DO Foundation, Families for Justice as Healing, The Council
Chase Madar…journalist, Al Jazeera America
- Ordained by proxy at God’s Millennium Women’s Conference;
- Ordained in prison Horn of Oil Ceremony by Dr. Linda Holliday of I’ve Chosen Ministries International;
- Completed writing a Christmas Play entitled, “It’s Time.” Conducted four performances for staff and inmates which included viewing by over 60 people from the outside community in Alabama for Christmas 2015.
- Published writer by major publisher;
- Written and produced original plays such as: “The Life and Passion of Jesus Christ”, “A Praying Mama”, “Madea Goes To Carswell”, and “Sister Act III” and written many mini plays and short skits;
- Director/Choreographer Praise Dance Ministry (Daughters of Zion);
- Special Events Coordinator of The Year Award; volunteers every year to assist in the National Cancer Society’s “Race For The Cure” for breast cancer;
- Kairos Graduate; Christian Doctrine and Theology Graduate;
- Completed Accuplacer college entrance;
Contributed writings and sermons to outside ministry conferences;
- Religious Services Volunteer; Recreation Volunteer;
- Works on special projects for the institution;
- GED Volunteer tutor;
- Certified Hospice Volunteer; Certified Professional Trainer (NFPT certification);
- Instructor for Over 50 Wellness Class;
- Completed OPAC (Office Proficiency and Accredited Course);
- Completed Electrical and Core Training through NCCER;
- C.H.A.N.G.E. (Choosing Healthy Alternatives And New Growth Experience – a 12 month residential program) graduate, speaker, and mentor;
- Wrote presentation for new prisoners entitled, “Prison For Dummies”;
- Completed numerous classes for self help; Selected as mentor for housing unit; currently writing children’s books and preparing to produce a Christmas play entitled, “It’s Time”.
- Rubies For Life Graduate (a re-entry program)
- Pastoral Counseling, Samford University Ministry Training Institute (certification)
- Volunteers for various children’s programs (ie: Universal Children’s Day, A Holiday To Remember, etc.)
- Some additional plays I wrote: “Don’t Believe The Lie”, “No Weapon”, “He Lives”
- Spoke at Hunter’s College in Harlem on July 9, 2016 concerning clemency and prison reform and is scheduled to speak at Yale University in September 2016.
- Spoke from prison on the first ever National Clemency and Criminal Justice Reform Radiothon on June 17, 2016
Society, you don’t know what you are missing! I have so much life in me…so much left to give. I never expected to find myself in a situation like this. I never expected to be one of the ones forgotten by society. Locked away for life. Yet, I know that people would help, if they only knew how to help.
Kene Holliday who played Detective Tyler on the Matlock series is a big supporter of Alice’s clemency. He has offered to work with her on projects upon her release.
Alice has served 20 years for Attempted Possession of Cocaine. Alice admits she was guilty and assisted in the drug conspiracy.
She is remorseful and agrees she deserved to be punished, but a life sentence is very harsh for a first offender. Alice refuses to play the victim card and from the day she arrived in prison she has enrolled in and completed a long list of programs, courses and rehabilitative classes. She also mentors women in her unit.
According to Alice:
I have been a resident of Memphis, Tennessee since 1979 where I worked most of my life and raised my children. I currently have strong support from politicians, clergy and my community in Memphis. They have played a major role in helping and in encouraging others to support my clemency efforts. Upon my release from prison, I plan to return to Memphis where I have immediate employment already secured.
My work experience prior to coming to prison included working 10 years for FedEx Corporation (7 of which was in management); Memphis Urban League; Kellogg’s Corporation; Holiday Press; Keene Lighting; ServiceMaster Franchise Owner and worked as a part-time billing clerk for various truck lines to help put my children through college.
My desire upon release is to assist my community with the needs of ex-offenders to help reduce recidivism. I know first-hand what struggles they will be facing and the support they will need to overcome the stigma of being a convicted felon. I will use my knowledge and expertise in interviewing and job preparedness to help them make full use of their capabilities and talents. Once they can find a job to support themselves, the lure of illegal gain will be much slimmer. I am positive that I will be the one to make a difference because I have been one of them myself.
My faith in God is such an integral part of my life and this journey, that I cannot separate it from who I am. Maybe what I’m about to say is not politically correct, but it’s truth. There is a scripture in Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”
Before I came to prison I didn’t understand the plight of so many hurting women. Until I came and sat among them, I knew nothing of this kind of hopelessness. I prayed and asked God to show me my purpose in this. He stirred up the gifts He had already given me to help others. As a young girl, it was discovered that I had the gift of writing. So I began to write plays and thousands of women throughout the years have been a part of dramas I have written. The talents that they had were put to use. Artists, singers, dancers, prop makers, actresses and so many other areas of theatrical production were utilized. It has been absolutely amazing to see what happens in a person’s life when they discover that they can be productive and are validated as having worth.
I don’t boast in myself because I know that I am nothing without God. If my coming to prison has made a difference in someone else’s life…If a touch or a word has empowered someone to feel worth in life again…If someone has a renewed hope for the future, then these 18 years I have spent in prison have not been in vain.
Alice’s case has been featured in numerous publications (see below) and CANDO Founder wrote about Alice in her essay on the lack of women who received clemency from President Obama.
From Alice’s daughter, Catina: “I have always felt that you were like a phoenix. No matter how bad things get, you will always rise out of ashes and be an even better person. At this moment in your life, you are the mere ashes of yourself. Because your clemency is coming very soon, you too shall Rise back into the phoenix you are.”
Alice lost her mother in 2013 and will never recover the loss she felt in her heart by not being at her mother’s bedside or funeral. Alice wants to share her mother’s legacy and aspires to make her proud no matter what happens…she knows her mother is watching over her and therefore Alice strives to make her proud, even while in prison.
MEDIA ABOUT ALICE JOHNSON:
Alice Johnson in Mic, entitled: This Single Mother is Serving Life Without Parole for the Most Absurd Reason You Can Imagine
Alice Johnson’s Opinion on CNN, Clemency seeker to Obama: please don’t forget us
Alice Johnson included in Op Ed by Yale Law Students in Mic on 12/30/2016
Alice Johnson’s daughters in BBC Inmate families hope for the mercy of a president
Alice Johnson in Huffpost Thousands of Inmates Await Obama Decision
Alice Johnson in Vice: Fear Among Inmates
Alice Johnson in Truthout, A Desperate Hope for Clemency: Mothers in Federal Prison Pin Hopes on Obama
Alice Johnson in Al Jazeera: This American life (without parole)
Alice’s case was one of many cases profiled in Huffpost entitled: These 32 People Are Spending Their Lives In Prison For Nonviolent Crimes
Please sign Alice Johnson’s petition on Change.org