Drug War Prisoners

Sharon White:

My sentence is my punishment for not cooperating

My name is Sharon White. I am 41 years old, a mother of 2 sons serving a 27 year sentence for a drug conspiracy. I am a first time non-violent offender. The circumstances for my being involved in illegal activity are very rare. My brother was in debt and his life in danger for drugs that burned in a fire, and he was responsible for payment for the supplies, but I was charged for being leader of the conspiracy.

I moved from New York to Virginia 6 months prior, due to my mother’s ill health. My life prior to this did not involve drugs. I had worked with the same company for over 14 years. The prosecutor and the agents in my case made it appear that I moved to take over the drug ring, which was far from the truth.

When I was sentenced in January 2000, my judge stated: “Ms White, I have no choice but to sentence you to 322 months according to the sentencing guidelines.”

I was told by the prosecutor that I did not do anything to help myself because I refused to testify against the suppliers, which would put my family’s life in jeopardy. According to the prosecutor, my sentence is my punishment for not cooperating.

As I sit in this overcrowded prison, like thousands of other women in the federal system where 65 percent of us are non-violent drug offenders, I hear talk about how the War on Drugs is targeted against drug kingpins. Well, there are no drug kingpins here.

I will be the first to admit I broke the law. Yes, I am guilty. But I am not guilty of everything I was charged with, like the hearsay testimony that is used in all federal conspiracies.

I pray that the laws will change and I will be given a second chance to be reunited with my family.

Sharon White



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