Andrea James – 27 years 6 months – Released due to First Step Act

Andrew with her daughter and four grandchildren

Andrew with her daughter and four grandchildren

Congrats to Andrea James who was released to ICE in Boston. She needs an immigration attorney.
Andrea Joy James #17868-056
DOB: 04/03/1966
Age: 53
Children: 1 Daughter – 2 granddaughters and 2 grandsons
Race: Black
Raised: Jamaica
Tried: North Carolina
Charge: Conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine base
Year Sentenced: 1999
Sentence: 27.6
Release date: 01/11/2022
Served: 20 years
Co-Defendants: Are all men and are all free. They got 5-6 years.
Priors: Concealed weapon – paid $60 fine.
Prison conduct: Clear conduct.
Institution: FCI Danbury
DANBURY, CT  06811
Clemency: Petition was submitted on Dec 17th, 2015 by CP14 attorney. Denied

  • GED (High School Diploma
  • Rev. License Religious Educator
  • Evangelist License
  • Suicide watch companion
  • Participates in Gospel choir
  • Usher board
  • College courses Lean-6 Manufactory Class I and II
  • Chaplain Support Services
  • Typing Master Pro Phase I and II
  • Parenting Classes
  • Self Esteem classes
  • Cognitive Processing
  • Drama
  • Dance and mime team director
  • Basic Computer Microsoft office XP 2007

Ms. James has been a prime example of what our judiciary system sets out to do by “rehabilitating” inmates for success upon release. She has strived to better herself and wants an opportunity to prove to her family, society and herself that she is worthy of another chance.

Through the pain and abuse and more importantly through time ( a lot of time spent behind bars) Ms. James has strengthened her relationship with GOD, found strength and found a way to not only continue her journey in recovery, but also utilize the skills and assets she has learned to help guide and strengthen others who have found themselves in prison, with her.

Ms. James’ case is one of many within our judicial system that demonstrates the cause and effect of abuse and self serving behavior that can result in incarceration. Many individuals like Ms. James had no coping skills necessary to deal with such domestic abuse and therefore, when introduced to an activity, a lifestyle that made her feel wanted, important, she took the bait. Not being able to distinguish between the realization of and purpose of her own identity, Ms. James continued to lose herself in illegal activity that ultimately ended in her lengthy sentence.  She is a different person today.

According to Andrea:

On January 27th 1998, my life changed when a lady in the restaurant where I was eating showed me that the police had surrounded my car.  At that moment, I had a decision to make – I could go through the back door, or upstairs or even call for a ride, but I did none of those things.  Instead, I walked to the door and self-surrendered. On the way to the car, I felt as if I was walking on clouds because a heavy burden had been lifted.  For the first time in my life, I felt free – I was rescued from the grave.  Prison has been the best thing that ever happened to me.

When I was seven years old, I was sexually abused.  At the ages of twelve and fourteen I found myself in the same situation of being raped again. I was never the same after the last rape.

I grew up in Jamaica West Indies – a very dangerous place to raise a small girl.  The only way I knew to live was in fear.  By 15, I was pregnant. During my pregnancy, once again, I was beaten and raped. By this time, I felt empty and numb inside. I had grown to think this was the way I was supposed to feel. My mother knew of the first rape but it was a family secret – I got no sympathy from her, so I added the other rapes to my file and never told her about the other ones. So I drifted into a world of silence, alone and afraid, not having anyone to talk to for over 20 years.  That mind set made me realize that I could not depend on anyone else other than myself – it was me against the world and I had to be in control of my life.

I came to America seeking a better life.  I got a job working for $5. an hour but after a year I lost the job.  I went to New York to see some guys I knew and they told me that I could make money in North Carolina –  they taught me how to cook crack, taught me the measurements, and took me to North Carolina and showed me how to sell it in nickel and dime bags at the crack house.

I was able to buy a car and pay for a place to live – I wanted to provide for my child and this seemed like the only way I could make a living.  I wish I had been exposed to other opportunities and I make no excuse – it was wrong to sell drugs, but it also led me to finally get the help I needed after I came to prison.

For me, this has been a life changing experience. I honestly believe God saved me from the hell I had created for myself and for others. Jamaica did not afford the same opportunities that one can receive here in America – prison saved me.

I am very sorry for selling drugs and breaking the law.  My greatest regret is not being there for my daughter and to help her raise her children. I was there when the first one was born, but came to prison when my first grand baby was four months old.

If I have an opportunity to remain in America upon my freedom, I know that I can give back to the community and reach out to those who are hurting or confused the way I used to be.  I can take the skills I have learned in prison, through programming and help others.  I yearn for that opportunity.  I will seek out an organization that works with sexually abused women and help them get with the healing process.  I pray that I am worthy of clemency and a chance to prove I can be a productive member of society.  I hope I will not be severed from my daughter and grandchildren upon my release.  I pray that President Trump will have mercy of me and my family.

Dear President Trump
I have been incarcerated for the past 20 years.  I am a first time offender of a non-violent crime and have another 4 years left to serve. While I have been incarcerated I have obtained my GED as well as Apprenticeships for Chaplain Support, House keeping, Office management, Material Coordinator and am currently working on my Peer Specialist am my Associates Degree in Ministry. I feel as though I’m a great candidate for clemency because I have never received a discipline citation in the past 20 years that I have been incarcerated. I have also grown from a reckless child to a grown educated strong intelligent woman who has taken full responsibility for my actions, and have paid for my wrongs by serving the past 20 years. I left my daughter at age 16 years old and now I’m a grandmother of 4 and I have been unable to bond with my daughter, and now it’s even worse that I can’t bond with my grand kids. I ask that you find it within your heart to grant me clemency because my mission is to start a non-profit organization for children whose parents are incarcerated, In 2017 I wrote to President Barack Obama and he denied my plea for a fresh start.

Sincerely, Ms. A. James

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