She Filed A Motion To Free Herself. 6 Days Later She Was

photo of nerika smiling
Zain Murdock
October 23, 2022

Nerika Jenkins was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being accused of drug-related offenses committed by her then-boyfriend. It was so outrageous, even the judge felt uncomfortable giving her the charge. But, because of mandatory minimums for drug charges, the judge couldn’t help her.

While in prison, Jenkins took up several trades to keep herself busy. And, three years later, with the help of her mom and some friends she made in prison, she figured out how to file a motion to get her sentence reduced.

Six days later, the same judge she’d met years ago announced her freedom. The Supreme Court had just ruled that sentences were no longer mandatory, but “advisory” – judges had wiggle room to reduce sentences.

Jenkins was able to maintain a solid support system while in prison, which was crucial in her effort to get free.

She continued to challenge the system by launching her own program to support formerly incarcerated women!  Today, she provides resources to keep women from getting sucked back into the system.

The criminal legal system is intent on isolating us and breaking us down. But like Jenkins, we can build our own community and frameworks to take care of each other.

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