CAN-DO has been tasked with making a video of formerly incarcerated people and family members of currently incarcerated people that we hope to share at several events, this year.   The intent is to show how many perfectly normal, wonderful people are free who pose no threat to society (and never did).  We have to overcome the stigma of prisoners being people that society is afraid of, and to overcome the opposition of releasing prisoners who deserve clemency or a reduction of their sentence.

We’d prefer to get videos by March 20th but we will continue building this video after that date.

Please have someone record, or record yourself using a smart phone or handheld video camera. We prefer
that smart photos record horizontally (sideways) and not vertical (up and down).
Send an email to if your video is a large file, so she can send you a folder using Dropbox for you to return the video.  PLEASE put the name of the prisoner in the subject bar.

With or without a video – we’d love more photos of you that can be sent through email – do NOT mail them. If you don’t have a scanner, take a photo of the photos with your Smart Phone and send it that way. Make sure there is not a reflection shining off the photo when you take it.  Preferred photos: when prisoner was a child, possibly a teenager and one with family or of them with their child/ren – holding a baby, etc. If you send only photos – state – PHOTOS in the subject line and name of the prisoner you are submitting for.



Please state your name, where you live, and who you are to the incarcerated person – brother, daughter, mother, friend…of _________________whoever the prisoner is.

Please provide the following:
Name of prisoner and how much time they have already served.
We will provide the charges in text – but you can say the charges in case we don’t have them.
State whatever you feel is important that will be meaningful and heartfelt or impactful. Try to make it personal.  Try NOT to read something from a piece of paper that simply states how long they’ve been in prison and then beg that this person be released. We CANNOT use videos with children screaming in the background or loud crashing and banging sounds going on, off camera. This is not a “PITCH” for clemency, Do NOT use the President’s name… This video is for multiple purposes and is supposed to MOVE people about who we lock up and how it’s hurting the families.  Tell family members to NOT say things like, “I’m begging you to please release my father/mother so s/he can come home.”  Instead, it’s ok to say, “There is no way to express how much pain our family has experienced due to the incarceration of ________. We are all serving time, every day (prisoner’s name) remain behind bars.”

If possible reference a memory with that person – you can begin by saying, “I remember the time we went…
camping, hiking, cooking together – what was their passion? What do you remember about them most. “We used to go fishing together,” “? loved to sing – She sang in the choir…” “My favorite memory of ______ was the time we ______.” I can’t wait to cook _____ her favorite meal – she loved pot roast.
________ has done so much to rehabilitate her/himself while in prison – she wants to use those skills and apply them to her life if given that chance.”
“I was ? years old when my mom/dad went to prison. They missed my graduation, 21st b’day, my wedding, the birth of my children…” however many occasions you’d like to say.
If the person had an addiction problem consider saying, ” ______ needed rehab and not a long prison term. Addiction is a medical issue – we don’t put alcoholics in prison, so please have mercy on ____.”
“My mother has never held her grandchild?”
“My mother is a first offender and she deserves a second chance.”
“Every holiday and special occasion is difficult with our loved one in prison. We have an empty chair at our dinner table waiting for him/her to return and bring joy back into our home. ”
“Our entire family is serving time – we are ALL being punished.”
“Please end mass incarceration.”
“Please end the drug war.”

We are considering a long and short version that we can use for other purposes – so lets make the most of this effort and get something amazing! (No more than 5 minutes please).

Please send file to and put VIDEO in the subject line together with the prisoners name or PHOTOS ONLY.
If the file is too big, we will send you a folder using Dropbox.


Please have someone record, or record yourself using a smart phone and hold it vertically or handheld video camera.  Provide the following info:

My name is ? and I served ? years on a ?? year sentence for conspiracy to? or __________.

If the charge was conspiracy, please reference it in some way:
“drug conspiracy case” or “conspiracy to possess/manufacture crack, meth, etc?” If you received a mandatory minimum you may want to say that also.
Comments to consider adding: 

“I’ve been out of prison for ? years and currently (do what) for a living.  I’m a productive member of society and I do not feel that I deserved the amount of time I got” for this reason – provide reason.
Or – if you DO think you benefited from prison, you can say that.
If you want to say something about the conspiracy law – please do – we are trying to shed light on it – as in
“Because of the conspiracy law, I was held responsible for the actions of others.”
“My sentence was based on the testimony of others who were cooperating witnesses.”
“Conspiracy doesn’t mean I sold crack/meth/LSD – it just means I conspired with others who did…”
“I was addicted and needed treatment, not prison.”
“I’m guilty as charged, but I did not deserve ? years”
“I was held accountable for everything my co-conspirators did.”
“My sentence was based (entirely) on ghost dope”
“Do you know what ghost dope is – it’s testimony alone – no tangible evidence?”
“I regret my past behavior but my crime should not define me as a human.”
If you went to trial and got a lot of time, say so:
“I got ? years because I went to trial.”
“The Judge said his hands were tied…” (or whatever he said)
“I’ve been out for ? years – and now I (do what?)”
If you own your own business or have a success story or graduated college or ?, share it:
“I’m a productive member of society and want my voting rights reinstated (if you can’t vote)
or whatever – you don’t have to say any of that – you can say what you want.
You can end with any message you like:
“Please end the drug war”
“Please end mass incarceration.”
“There are a lot of people still in prison who should go free.”
“I thought I would be free when I got out of prison, but I’m not free as long as my friend ____is still locked up.”
If you know someone in prison and want to give a shout out to their name and that you think they
should be set free – go ahead and say so. This will probably be for the long version.
Whatever message you think is relevant and yet respectful. No cursing, or inappropriate language.


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