In 1995, Ramona was sentenced to life in prison for a cocaine offense related to an abusive boyfriend’s drug dealing. Although her sentencing judge said he was “shocked at the severity of the sentence,” he had no legal discretion to sentence her to less time.
After spending 20 years in prison, Ramona received a commutation from President Obama in 2015, and was released to a halfway house in February 2016. In March, Ramona met President Obama during a special lunch for commutation recipients, and participated in a White House briefing on clemency, where she shared her story. “I never accepted the life sentence,” she said at the event. “I never believed that I would spend life in prison.” Ramona’s story was recently featured on both Humans of New York and Fusion.
Watch Ramona Brant walk out of prison after 20 years:
Watch Ramona Brant talk about the joys and challenges of post-release life at the White House’s “Life After Clemency” briefing: