This Campaign is part of the FreeRossDAO Reform Pod
Research and Education • Virtual Events • Action Items
Entering his tenth year of confinement, Ross Ulbricht is doing a double life plus forty year sentence at a maximum security prison. In the federal system, a life sentence is natural life without the possibility of good time or parole. As Ross has said, “There’s no such thing as a life sentence. It’s just a death sentence that takes a while”.
Ross’s case is particularly egregious in many ways – a first time offender sentenced to non-violent charges, shocking to the heart and soul. There are so many obvious errors, abuses, and inconsistencies – informant misconduct, rogue agents, suppression of exculpatory evidence, etc – that an examination of the facts reveals a gross miscarriage of justice and an unconsciously disproportionate sentence that any standard of justice and common decency would necessitate an immediate release.
The methods the government used to bury Ross are regular features of the US criminal justice system: a cruel calculation of conspiracy charges, sentencing enhancements, and mandatory minimums. Ross was punished for millions of other people’s transactions under sentencing guidelines for drugs he never handled (a common practice known as ‘ghost dope’) and the judge sentenced him based on activities he hadn’t been convicted of (“relevant conduct”). There is also a shameful tradition expressed through judicial discretion to punish extra hard those who exercise their constitutional right to trial, as Ross had. All in all, there are over 200,000 people in the United States in prison on a life sentence; and several thousand in the federal system doing life for non-violent drug trafficking charges.
As part of our new Solidarity Network, FreeRossDAO is launching a campaign to End Life Imprisonment. We are committed to freeing Ross Ulbricht and all others who had been impacted by the inherent cruelty of a life sentence. We’ll work to change these policies as well as provide support to those who have been impacted.
To mobilize our community around this campaign, we have created a few “Action Items” using our bounty system that awards $FREE tokens for completing various activities. The Action Items we have planned for this campaign include contacting congressional representatives to support legislation for sentencing reform, writing a letter to a person sentenced to life in prison, signing petitions in support of individual clemency campaigns, and more.
We also want to recognize several organizations that have been involved in this struggle and are doing so much to support those who have been affected by life imprisonment. We have made $500 in financial contributions to both The Sentencing Project and Release Aging People in Prison through The Giving Tree and encourage others to support their efforts.
Finally, we want to invite the community to attend two virtual events, including a Letter Writing Party on Twitter Spaces and a virtual watch party of “The Visiting Room Project” on the FRD Discord.
We hope the launch of this campaign to End Life Imprisonment can make some waves and bring change. Let’s get to it!
Research & Education
- “No End In Sight” Report by the Sentencing Project:
- “Dealing in Lives: Imposition of Federal Life Sentences for Drugs from 1990–2020” Report by Drug Enforcement Policy Center of Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Letter Writing Night and “The Visiting Room Project” Watch Party
When: Thursday, September 15 at 7PM CST
Where: FreeRossDAO Discord
We will be having a watch party of “The Visiting Room Project”: powerful testimonials from people doing life sentences in Louisiana state prisons. We will then be writing letters to some of the people who participated in the project.
Letter Writing Night on Twitter Spaces
When: Thursday, September 22 at 7PM CST
Where: @FreeRossDAO Twitter Spaces
We will be having a Letter Writing Party on Twitter Spaces discussing the importance and technique of writing letters to prisoners. Let’s send some love to Ross Ulbricht and other people doing life sentences.
- Ask Congress to Support the Second Look Act: this proposed bill would appoint federal judges to consider petitions for sentence reductions after a person has served at least 10 years.
- Bring Parole Reform to New York: Send a letter to state legislatures asking for their support for the Fair + Timely Parole (S.7514/A.4231A) and Elder Parole (S.15A/A.8855) bills
- Demand Gov. Newsom Commute LWOP Sentences: send a message in support of clemency for the over 5,200 people in California state prisons doing life without parole
- Write an Incarcerated Person Doing a Life Sentence: let’s show some love and send some letters! FRD will also be hosting an event to send letters to everyone who shared their stories with The Visiting Room Project.