Lessen the sting and find the middle ground between casting judgmental people off altogether and hiding in the sand

An olive talking to a pair of peanuts saying, quote, “you’re nuts!”
All illustrations by the author

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” — Viktor Frankl

Shortly after Valentine’s Day 2019, I fell in love with an incarcerated man. I was elated. Micheal was everything I wanted in the man I knew I’d marry: compassionate and witty with a great smile to boot. But whenever I spoke about my relationship — eager for support and acceptance — even my most open-minded acquaintances reacted with

… concern.

I remember the first time I opened up about my…

Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Guidelines were devastating for families like Ro Clausen‘s, whose husband received 213 Years under a since-voided application of U.S.C. § 924(c). 20 Years Later, can Jared Kushner’s Clemency Task Force #FreeAdam Clausen?

When I ask her about it, she recalls an emotional rollercoaster. 16 years into her husband Adam’s 213-year federal sentence for a string of armed robberies — in which no one was physically harmed — the Supreme Court issued a decision in Johnson v. The United States that struck down a portion of the federal Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) and re-defined the term “violent felony.”

The same year, Adam’s petition for clemency made it to the White House. He had proved himself to be a model inmate — a clean disciplinary record, speaking engagements at national conferences, a…

Recent Washington Post editorials on #IRAA focus on applicants’ adolescent criminality, but those aren’t the men I know.

It’s 2 PM on a Friday and I’m standing at the back of room 218 at the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse in Washington DC, wedged between a wooden bench and the wall. The room is packed — a gentleman in joggers and a suit coat stands immediately to my left while another holds the door open behind me. A young child kneels before me, on the floor. A young clerk, visibly flustered, runs back and forth with stacks of plastic chairs.

My friend Halim Flowers, a “juvenile lifer” and DC native, takes a seat on a wooden bench up front.

Alicia Kenworthy

🏛 3rd Generation Washingtonian ⚖️ Advocate for Criminal Justice Reform 🎙 Developing a podcast on incarcerated love:

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