CAN-DO is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit foundation that advocates Clemency for All Non-violent Drug Offenders. Behind every face on the CANDO website is a human with a story. Overly punitive drug laws create negative consequences that trigger a chain reaction upon innocent family members, friends and our society. Most people featured on our website have been locked up for decades. Until our drug laws change, the only relief these individuals have for mercy is a sentence commutation in the form of executive clemency.
The CAN-DO Mission:
- Educate the public about the conspiracy law. Most individuals serving long sentences for drug charges were indicted and prosecuted for conspiracy to distribute, manufacture and/or import an illegal substance. The conspiracy law transfers guilt from one co-conspirator to the next and typically, only those who do not cut a plea bargain with the prosecution end up with long mandatory sentences.
- Communicate directly with prisoners. We currently email over 700 prisoners, one on one to stay informed and be responsive to their concerns and respond quickly to problems.
- Educate the public about numerous issues related to mass incarceration – slave labor, harsh conditions imposed upon prisoners, especially women, such as shackling during pregnancy, etc.
- Identify individuals seeking justice through clemency, assist those who need help with a clemency petition and advocate for them using social media and connecting petitioners to media outlets.
- When possible, we provide clothing to individuals who are transitioning from prison to society. Our resources are very limited, so this depends on what resources we have available at any given time.
The criteria for cases that CAN-DO gives top priority to, consists of:
- Minor participants ensnared by the conspiracy law due to their association with individuals involved in the drug trade, with a strong emphasis upon women. We educate the public about the conspiracy law and encourage journalists to write about it because we feel it’s the most abusive law in DOJ’s arsenal that transfers guilt from actual drug dealers to their wives and girlfriends for mere association or minor involvement.
- Anyone serving a long sentence for marijuana with special emphasis upon anyone serving a life sentence for marijuana.
- Individuals who were severely punished because they chose to go to trial or did not get the benefit of a plea bargain, hence received a draconian sentence for a non-violent drug offense.
- Individuals who fit in one of the following categories:
- Certain individuals who acted as a minor participant but were fingered by more culpable co-conspirators that received a lesser sentence.
- First time offenders. When minor priors exist, an explanation of how these infractions occurred will be provided.
- Anyone who is serving a life sentence who was clearly not the “kingpin,” especially if the convicting evidence consists of testimony alone and/or no tangible evidence.
- Individuals serving 10 or more years who have exemplary conduct while incarcerated.
- Select cases where prisoners have served ten years or more and have a clean record of conduct and have demonstrated a strong will to rehabilitate themselves by completing “The Drug Program” and/or a series of rehabilitative courses or programs offered in prison.
- Individuals who would receive a lesser sentence if convicted under current law.
CAN-DO has access to numerous cases, many of which are on this website. By sharing these stories, CAN-DO hopes to generate public concern that will lead to relief for prisoners via the clemency process. These individuals are serving sentences that are outrageously disproportional to most crimes of violence, such as rape and murder based upon statistics provided by the Department of Justice.
Fulfilling our original mission statement, CAN-DO teamed up with Harm Reduction Productions in the production of what became an award winning film entitled 420-The Documentary. The film focuses heavily upon marijuana and the many victims harmed by marijuana prohibition and our current drug war policy.
CAN-DO also works with other like minded organizations such as, The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, The Sentencing Project, Freedom Grow, and more to raise awareness to the collateral damage caused by legislation passed during a “tough on crime – zero tolerance” era that has proven to be a dismal failure.
CAN-DO has an extraordinary Board of Advisors who bring a wealth of experience to the table regarding criminal justice reform and the pardon process. Working in a collaborative effort, we strive to raise awareness and support for Clemency Petitioners who have meritorious cases worthy of Executive Clemency, and Full Pardons. We also assist with compassionate releases, elderly release and other paths to freedom based on new legislation such as the First Step Act. Together, we CAN-DO this.