Knowing President Donald Trump will “pardon” turkeys that have committed no crime, prison inmates and other clemency advocates are taking advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday by encouraging the president to pardon human beings, as well.
As is the annual White House tradition, Trump will “pardon” a pair of turkeys on Tuesday at the White House. However, for those behind bars, it’s an upsetting event.
“It is one of the greatest insults to watch the president pardon two turkeys every Thanksgiving while I and so many other people suffer for non-violent drug conspiracy cases,” said Michael Pelletier, a paralyzed Maine native with a pending clemency request.
According to a report in the Washington Examiner, Pelletier is serving life without parole for importing Canadian marijuana. His statement was provided by Amy Povah, a clemency recipient who founded Can-Do Clemency to advocate for other federal drug offenders.
“For everyone we communicate with, it’s like pouring salt in a wound,” Povah said about the turkey pardons. She was released in 2000 by President Clinton approximately nine years into a 24-year sentence for conspiracy to traffic the drug, MDMA.
Michelle West is serving life in prison for drug-related crimes. In a message shared by Povah, she complained, “[E]ach year, I watch the president of the United States pardon a turkey, wondering who started this tradition and why? The turkey’s life is saved while I continue to languish in federal prison, praying the president will consider pardoning me. I have done everything humanly possible to prove I am worthy and deserving. What did the turkey do?”
What West fails to realize is that the turkey didn’t do anything to land itself in jail in the first place.
Chad Marks, nearly halfway through a 40-year cocaine sentence, said that “President Trump should show mercy this year to both the turkey and those who deserve it.”
Marks believes he and others like him should be pardoned alongside the innocent turkeys. “Last year, I was filled with hope that while then President Obama pardoned the turkey, he would do the same on that very day for me,” said the convicted criminal. “I was left feeling hopeless while the turkey was saved.”
It turns out that televised turkey pardons are a “sensitive topic” in prisons across the country.
Convicted crack cocaine dealer Jamal Hanson spent around 17 years in prison before President Obama commuted his sentence last year. He calls the turkey pardons “an insult” to inmates.
As of Friday afternoon, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the Washington Examiner that she was unaware of plans to pardon human beings for Thanksgiving.
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