Is This an Offence?

by Stacey Rena Candler, FCI Dublin
[At age 24 Stacey is serving a 15-year sentence for conspiracy to possess/distribute controlled substance, and aiding and abetting in drug trafficking]
On June 13, 1995 at 7am, the police forced their way into my boyfriend’s and my new apartment. I had just come home from my first job and was getting ready to go to my second job when my life changed forever. I had no knowledge of my boyfriend’s drug trafficking. When the police searched the apartment they found money, drugs, a scale and a firearm. My boyfriend had several past contions and was not working. I had never had any trouble with the law and was working two jobs. Because of my clean record, my boyfriend convinced me to say that the gun was mine. He said they would go easy on me because I was a first time offender. He forgot to mention the mandatory sentence that had to be given when a weapon was involved.
Because I did not report my boyfriends “suspicious activities” the police assumed I knew everything. Claiming the gun made it look like I was covering for my boyfriend, the judge gave me the maximum.
Since coming to prison I have met other women who have similar tales to tell. Many have been given sentences that do not fit the crime and many have been given additional sentences because of their refusal to “cooperate”. I hope that in telling this story I can help bring the attention of women on the outside to our situation. Maybe together we can take steps toward righting the injustice of excessive sentencing.