Life After Prison: Ramona Brant

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Ramona Brant, prison sentence commuted by President Obama

“I had never been in trouble before”

I had never been in trouble before so I didn’t understand the law and how it works. When we completed in court, I was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

On March 30, 2016, President Barack Obama granted commutation of sentence to 61 individuals. On the same day The President also stopped by a White House meeting to meet with Ramona and other individuals who had been granted clemency in the past.

“Having the faith that one day the doors would open”

A lot of time they would come and seek us out for advice. There were times later on when they were like, “Miss Ramona, when you spoke that day you changed my life, because I knew that if you could do it, I could do it.”

February 2nd

I said, “God I know I’m going to be sentenced today. I don’t know what’s going to happen but I want you to know that I trust you.”

“Well, who’d you kill?”

Some of the officers were like, “How much time have you done?” I said, “21 years.” They said, “What was your sentence? I said, “Life.” So they started crying because they couldn’t believe that someone was sentenced to that amount of time. So the next question was, “Well, who’d you kill?” And said, “No one.” There was no violence in my case.

“I can do whatever I put my mind to”

My sons were three and four when I was arrested. When I came home they were 24 and 25 with children of their own.

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President Obama’s letter to clemency recipients

I didn’t know how to do time, but I had to learn how to do time.

“Because it just doesn’t make sense to require a nonviolent drug offender to serve 20 years, or in some cases, life, in prison. An excessive punishment like that doesn’t fit the crime. It’s not serving taxpayers, and it’s not making us safer.” — President Obama on criminal justice reform

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