Sharanda Jones, #5 on CAN-DOs Top 25 Women received clemency from President Obama. We are elated that this long overdue battle for justice has finally come to fruition. We hope Sharanda and her daughter will now enter a new chapter of wonderful memories for the future.
Sharanda Purlette Jones
Age: 47 yrs old
Children: 1 daughter
Race: African American
Served: 17 years
Release Date: Death
Priors: FIRST TIME OFFENDER
Prison Conduct: Sharanda has perfect conduct except she was punished because one of her visitors got into a argument with a prison staffer at visiting due to a broken machine that ate their coins.
Accomplishments: Coming soon
Clemency Petition: Filed a petition in 2013 by her attorney Brittany Byrd. Ms. Byrd is now supplementing her petition to fit the criteria of Clemency Project 2014
Institution: Carswell, Medical – Texas
I am a first time non violent offender serving a life sentence in a federal prison without any chance for parole. After a jury trial in August of 1999, I was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and acquitted of six counts of possession of crack cocaine and aiding and abetting.
I grew up in a very small town – Terrell, Texas – with four other siblings. My mom was paralyzed in an automobile accident when I was little, so I was raised by my grandmother. I had to assist my grandmother with all my mother’s medical needs from a very young age. Life was loving but hard, and we had very little money.
After high school, I started hanging out and, blinded by society and worldly idols, I started trafficking in drugs as an easy way to help my mom pay bills and get the extra things I wanted. I never intentionally or knowingly meant to harm anyone, and like a lot of people, I was ignorant of the harm drugs can inflict on users, their families and our communities.
I took my case to trial, but when I took the stand in my own defense, I realized that I had put myself in a lose-lose situation. I still cannot believe that, in the United States of America, we sentence first-time non-violent offenders to life, and death, in prison. That said, I must admit that prison has been a blessing to me in some ways. I have spent much of my time reading, which became my connection to God. I learned that I can change, and that I can adjust to many different situations. This life to which I’ve been sentenced has made me a stronger and more humble person, and I strive and work hard daily for change and a new life.
That journey, however, has not been easy. I’ve lost everything and almost everyone, though I’ve found and hold onto my faith. I know that I should pay for the wrongs I committed, but dying in prison for what I did is anti-productive.
Prison is only one chapter in my life. I do not believe this is my end.