Drug War Prisoners

Tami Jo Conner:

Incarceration is not the answer, rehabilitation is

My name is Tami Jo Conner. I am 38 years old, a single mother of two girls, a first time non-violent drug offender serving a 180 month sentence for a conspiracy with no co-defendants.

Before my nightmare began, I was a health care professional in a hospital in my home town Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I received an injury which required many surgeries and ended my career. I became addicted to drugs to cover the physical pain. I turned to a life of drugs to obtain my supplies and support myself and my daughter. I soon had an expensive habit and no income. I began trading stolen appliances for methamphetamine. At this time I was homeless with my teenage daughter and a child on the way. I loved my daughter and wanted her to have the things others of her age have. I was addicted to a potent drug, and ended up getting involved with people who manufactured methamphetamine in hopes of making enough money to get my daughter and unborn child a place to live.

I was eight months pregnant when the indictment came. The DEA told me that if I told them how much methamphetamine I was moving from the manufacturers, the information would not be used against me. This was the first time I had been in trouble besides traffic violations and a possession charge, so I believed them. I was wrong. Not only did they use the I made statement against me, they added things I did not say.

So I am charged with conspiracy, there are no witnesses and no drugs in evidence, only me. I was convicted on the basis of the statement I gave the government. If I would have kept my mouth shut I would not be in prison today.

I don’t consider myself a criminal. I have a drug problem. Incarceration is not the answer, rehabilitation is. Why lock a person up for 15 years who has a drug problem when rehabilitation can help make such a person productive in society?

Tami Jo Conner



About COUSColumns SectionContact COUSDocuments SectionDrug War Talk SectionLegalizationLettersLight SideLinksMediaProjectsResearch