I tell this to everyone who hires me, but … shame on me … I should have told EVERYONE sooner, as I am doing now with this Article.  I also tell them to have the inmate prepare a summary – a list –  of everything positive he/she has done while incarcerated – attended chapel, helped school or train other inmates – anything positive, and send it to me. Your loved one should send you such a list. 

If your imprisoned loved one has completed any classes/courses/programs while in prison, he/she should have a certificate of completion. You should tell them NOW to mail those to you. If they want a copy make a copy and mail it to them, but you must keep one. Any and all of them and others as they get them; they could mean the inmate’s freedom. WHY? Because these things disappear, the guards destroy them – tear them up … or they “get lost” when you are transferred …  and you might NEVER be able to get a copy from the prison “records” office.*  In the process of Clemency/Commutation applications they are looking for 3 things, and one of them is “what is the inmate doing to improve his/her life”, as evidenced by those certificates. 


Tell your loved one to keep taking any and all classes/courses/programs available, the more the better. I know that most of them will help nobody, the way they are administered in prison,  but it is important to keep the paperwork!


I specialize in Applications for Clemency or Commutation. It’s the same process but different states call it different names. I have gotten 8 people out of prison so far and working on 9 more. I can tell you whether your loved one may have a chance with a 20 minute conversation. Some do, some don’t. There is NO guarantee; all I can promise is to do my best. A couple of people had told me that some lawyer told them that for a HUGE fee he could guarantee success. OMG, another F*%#^%^ lawyer who should be disbarred! If you meet any lawyer like that, keep a tight hand on your wallet and RUN away!

*The “records office” usually is as screwed up as the rest of the prison. One particularly sad case is that of R G, an inmate who was housed in the cell next to mine for about 18 months one time, and then when they moved us, he landed next to me for another year. R G had been in for over 35 years, and had been through every hell imaginable. I was able to help him file a lawsuit for extreme medical neglect, which he settled after I left for $50,000.00. [I had told him not to settle, to go to trial!]. But I could not get him out because .. R G had a list of about 50 classes/courses/programs he had completed and for which he had gotten certificates –  he had done damn near everything the prison offered over those years. He also had letters in his support from 2 prior wardens and some guards. Well, other guards years later destroyed them all. They are gone forever. The records department has no record of them. I have seen similar cases. YOU MUST SAVE THESE – ON TH OUTSIDE, IF YOU EVER HOPE TO WIN WITH A COMMUTATION OR CLEMENCY APPLICATION AND GET OUT EARLY. 

READ Practical Tip – Pardons, Expungements, and Clemency/Commutation Applications – with sample fee agreement.