X

700 Club CBN Shows

The 700 Club

Commuted Sentence Sets A Captive Free

GROWING UP
Alice grew up in Olive Branch, Mississippi where she was one of nine siblings. Her parents started out as sharecroppers but worked hard to build a better life for their children. Eventually they obtained good paying jobs and were well respected in their community.  Alice was raised in a Christian home where church attendance was not optional, but in her heart she left organized religion when she learned a leader in the church was a hypocrite. The culture around her included the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Cuban missile crisis, and the Vietnam War. The sexual revolution was enticing and she wanted to be a part of it. When Alice began dating at fourteen she soon became pregnant. Her parents forced her to marry the father of her child. The school told her she would no longer be allowed to attend because she was pregnant. She gave birth to her daughter on December 20, 1970 and was able to eventually return to high school. Alice’s young husband was unfaithful to her early on in their marriage. When her baby was eleven months old she found out she was pregnant again. She graduated from high school and soon had four children with a fifth on the way when she decided to leave her husband after years of infidelity. She got an office job and then went to work at FedEx. Over the years she earned promotions and made efforts to empower people to achieve greater things than they thought they could. In the meantime,she and Charles got back together, but his infidelity continued. After fourteen years of marriage Alice finally filed for divorce.

In 1987 Alice met a man named Ted whom she had an affair with and he introduced her to the world of gambling. She began to get behind on her bills because of her gambling addiction. She gave the money her company gave her a cash advance for an upcoming work trip to Ted to gamble. When the trip was cancled she had to pay back the money. Ted promised to give the money back within a few days, but he didn’t. She was now guilty of embezzlement. FedEx opened an investigation and ultimately fired her after ten years of employment. A few weeks later she filed for bankruptcy, faced foreclosure on her home and her car was repossessed. Struggling to make ends meet, Alice’s cousin approached her about about helping her husband move drugs. She did not know anyone who sold drugs so she said no, but mentioned it to Ted and discovered that he sold drugs! Desperate for money, Alice was asked to pass on the number of people wanting to buy drugs to dealers. “Little did I know I would be paying for this decision with my life,” shares Alice. During this time, she also started a cleaning business, but continued to struggle with her gambling addiction. Her youngest child was in a scooter accident and died. Alice plunged into deep despair.

She continued with her illegal activities until one night Ted was arrested for selling drugs.  She and her daughter, Catina, were also arrested. Alice made a promise to God that she would submit to His will if He would let Catina go free. The charges against Catina were dropped before the trial because there was no real evidence against her. Alice figured she would not be charged since she was not a drug dealer. At her trial, her counsel advised her against taking a deal so she would not have this crime on her record and he also downplayed her defense and lost the case.

LIFE ALTERED
In 1996 Alice was sentenced to life in prison for her role in a Memphis drug conspiracy. She was charged with attempted possession of drugs (not possession), money laundering (a charge that automatically came with the drug charge), and money structuring. Alice had passed along messages as a telephone informant.

Alice did her best to mentally adjust to a life sentence but it was incredibly hard. Although she had a disdain for the church, Alice always loved Jesus and talked with Him. In prison, she began to call out to God more frequently, “Lord I’ve messed up.” Alice worked to improve some of the vocational program’s shortcomings by arguing for long-term training for prisoners so they could be skilled as they enterered back into the workforce. She even convinced prison officials to allow families to come in and see their loved ones graduate as they earned their GEDs. She trained to become a certified hospice worker to help terminally ill women die with dignity, helped create Special Olympic type events for wheelchair-bound prisoners, became an ordained minister, ran a prison ministry, and fought for the freedom of herself and others. Alice was a mentor to many of the women in prison. She also wrote and directed many plays, including an Easter play, which were loved by the prisoners.

FREEDOM
When she began serving her sentence, Alice was told that she would not leave prison unless she was carried out as a corpse, but she did not completely believe that statement. In prison she had a dream that a beautiful woman was responsible for getting her out of prison. Also many prisoners over the years had told her about having dreams about her release from prison in which the media covered the event. In 2013, she received a call that gave her hope. A woman with American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) notified her that she would be featured in a national ad campaign which highlighted prisoners with nonviolent crimes who had been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. The ad was in almost every major publication. She hoped that President Obama would see her story and grant her clemency.  In 2014, President Obama announced a new clemency initiative encouraging qualified federal prisoners to petition for reduced sentences. At this point, Alice had already filed eight unsuccessful appeals.  With her good record Alice thought maybe she would make the cut. She did not.

In 2017, Alice connected with Malika Saada Saar, the senior counsel on civil and human rights at Google to speak from prison at a YouTube Summit on criminal justice reform. Jake Horowitz, with MIC (a digital news company that challenges conventional thinking) attended the Google summit and wanted Alice to do a video opinion editorial. She was granted permission by the prison. The video dropped on October 23 and went viral. On October 25, 2017, Kim Kardashian West was scrolling through Twitter when she came across a four-minute video of Alice’s story. She immediately felt it was unfair for Alice to have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a first-time nonviolent drug offense. The way Alice talked about hope, love, and regret inspired Kim. She was also impressed with how Alice mentored other women and Kim knew she wanted to help Alice get out of prison so she asked her friend, Shawn Holley, who had worked on the OJ case with her dad back in 1995, to help. Kim also reached out to Ivanka Trump whom she had known for years who then connected her with Jared Kushner. The only way to help Alice would be if the President granted her clemency. For six months they gathered all of Alice’s files and then Kim took the case to the Oval Office. A week later she got the call from President Trump that he would grant Alice clemency. Kim delivered the good news to Alice on the phone, “I cannot believe it. We did it.” At first Alice was not aware of what she meant. She had not been told the good news by her lawyers yet so the news came as a complete surprise.

On June 6, 2018 Alice walked out of prison a free woman. She was surrounded by TV satellites and news reporters from every media outlet and she greeted family members. “I am very humbled by where this journey has taken me. My story is more than a story of a woman given a life sentence and then a second chance at life. It is more than a story of hope just for prisoners. It is a story of hope for all people,” shares Alice. She has been fighting for the freedom of other prisoners since her release. On February 2019,  she was invited to the State of the Union address in Washington, DC. She received a standing ovation from those in attendance and is thankful for Jesus who sustained her throughout life.

Mentioned in the Video

 

Comments

Guest Info

Credits

Author, After Life (Harper Collins, 2019)

Former prisoner - convicted of nonviolent drug trafficking in Memphis, TN and served-twenty-one years

President Trump commuted her sentence with the help of Kim Kardashian West

Ordained minister

Mother

Grandmother

Great-grandmother

Download

Right-click on a link below and choose "Save link as..." to save the file

High Definition - MP4
High Quality - MP4
Low Bandwidth - MP4
Audio Only - MP3

Full Episodes

Herb and Anita spent money on partying—money they didn’t have. They used credit cards to cover expenses until one day, they got a reality check that...

Belinda was a struggling single mother who wanted more than poverty in her future. She did one thing faithfully every month and now she and her...

Incurable cancer was spreading and one man’s hope was running out. See why he turned down treatment and what saved his life on today’s 700 Club.

Two swimmers lost two miles from the shore and no one knows they’re out there. It’s a survival story on the high seas as “Seven Days Ablaze”...

Upcoming

When Jamal lost his job, he had to work part-time jobs and still couldn’t provide for his family. Then a financial challenge and a step of faith...

Donate