Women Behind Bars for Marijuana: Letter Writing Update

image for PhillyNORML by Casey Goldsmith

7/18/2011 – As many of you know, last month Freedomisgreen started a letter writing campaign for women behind bars for marijuana-related charges. We got a good response (though more letters are welcome. The guidelines are here.)

It’s an easy and accessible way to make a difference immediately.

Just drop us the email and we’ll relay it the prisoner. The NORML Women’s Alliance is participating in this effort by helping to print and mail to the appropriate facilities.

Here is a sampling of the letters we received for prisoner Patricia Spottedcrow.

I decided to write to you because your charges are ridiculous. I was shocked by what I read…



I have read your story in a few different places on the internet and it breaks my heart.  I can only imagine how you must be feeling.  The NORML website recently posted an article detailing the therapeutic benefits to inmates of receiving mail while in prison and I decided to write to you.  My mother was incarcerated (repeatedly though and for theft/failure to appear etc.) when I was younger and I know that our letters to each other throughout those difficult times are what have allowed me to remember her love and keep my heart open to building a trusting relationship with her again.



I was deeply touched by your plight and wanted to reach out and let you know that there are people out here who are outraged at the injustice that has been heaped upon you. I just signed a petition that someone started asking the Gov of OK to commute your sentence.  I then posted it to my Facebook page and asked all my friends to sign it too. I wish I could do more…so here I am reaching out across the miles in hopes of making your day a little bit brighter.

My mom raised me and my brother as a single mom in a public housing development. I wasn’t crazy about living there, but at least we had a roof over our heads. JP, as it is known, is a beautiful place with lots of opens spaces and parks. When I was a kid the Children’s Museum was also there and I spent many days dividing my hours of playtime between the museum, Jamaica Pond, and the Arnold Arboretum. The great thing about having the museum in a neighborhood was it’s accessibility to all the kids who were ‘latch-key’ kids and needed some place to keep us out of trouble after school let out for the day.



My name is Katie, I’m twenty-two and live in New York. I found a link to a page they have set up for you on NORML through my facebook, I read a little about your story and watched a clip on it. It honestly brought me to tears, you are a beautiful woman with beautiful children and do not deserve this at all. So I figured I’d write you to hopefully bring some cheer to your day.


I am a CNA and a Med Tech and I too work in the nursing home environment. I feel for you because I could easily be in your position one day, and the laws need to be changed. There is a man here in Louisiana who got his 3rd possession charge for marijuana and just received life in prison because of the 3 strikes law and that marijuana possession here is treated the same as if you had heroin or meth. Unfortunately honey, our country, as much as it says you are free, really tries to restrict everything that could possibly take money from their pockets. I am so sorry that you are going through this, but keep your head up. And, appeal, appeal, appeal!



I’m just writing to let you know that I’m aware of your situation and the injustice of it.  I hope the day will come when my grandkids won’t believe that people were once thrown in jail for using a beneficial herb.



Words can’t articulate how I feel about the injustice of your situation.  I have nothing but empathy and solidarity.



It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this too, shall pass.”



People everywhere are hearing your story and will push to prevent such an event from transpiring ever again. I sincerely hope that new opportunities will come, regardless of the obstacles in your life. You are a phoenix. Many in this world stand with you, may you be blessed, and may the happiness find it’s way to you.



I have never done anything like this before, I have never contacted someone who I have never met for no reason at all other than to comfort them and know that there are people, even people she’s never met and may never meet, who have been affected by hearing their story and who are sympathetic to their plight. However, upon hearing what happened to you I was so shocked that I felt obliged to contact you and tell you this, you are a strong woman who does not deserve what has happened to you and who has my respect.

I come from England, near Brighton, which is a town on the south coast, right on the beach. I have told many of my friends and acquaintances your story and we all want to let you know that our sympathies, thoughts and prayers are with you.

From the UK

Send a letter –  The guidelines are here.

Beth Mann is a popular blogger and writer for Open Salon and Salon. She is also an accomplished actor and director with over 15 years of experience, as well as the president of Hot Buttered Media. She currently resides at the Jersey shore where she can often be seen surfing or singing karaoke at the local dive bar. Contact: maryjane {at } freedomisgreen.com

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