Lizette Calderon -- #14861-069

Cocaine Conspiracy, 97 Months

Lizette Calderon, prisoner of the drug war
I was sentenced to 97 months plus three years supervised release for possession of cocaine. I'm a single mother with young girls who now reside in three different homes.

When I was initially arrested in 1990, I was pursuing a career as a producer / booking agent. I got myself caught up in an abusive relationship and made a big mistake. When we were caught with drugs, I did something that would abruptly change my life forever. Instead of appearing in court, I absconded for several years.

My desperation caused a lack of judgment. But as a single parent raising children who needed a solid foundation, how could I leave them? During this period I worked odd jobs and sometimes three jobs to maintain our home. I was exposed by a person who was offered time off for his cooperation (a person who knew me and was not a personal friend). I was arrested. Though the district attorney dropped the absconding charge, I was given a two-point enhancement for obstruction of justice, which effectively resulted in the same sentence. Ironic, how the government could change terms that mean the same thing to their benefit.

I always intended to pay my dues in order to terminate this madness that I had created, but not until my oldest daughter would be old enough to care for the youngest. After all, Dad is incarcerated, who would care for our girls? But this struggle has made us stronger even after splitting us up in different directions. I have received support from those I never thought of!

Lizette Calderon with her family Lizette Calderon with her family Lizette Calderon with her family

The sad reality is, even though I had proven that I could lead a law-abiding life, it meant nothing. We lost 8 years of our lives together. Miles have kept us apart, but finally after three years, I was transferred closer to my loved ones and I'm looking forward to the day when this whole nightmare will end.

I was merely a courier and never had a chance to prove my minor role to the judge who clearly stated his disagreement with the sentence he was forced to give me because of mandatory minimums. My court appointed lawyers treated me and (my life) as a daily chore. Therefore, my family and I will have wasted eight years.

I've learned many lessons in this social war and I' m eager to be part of the consciousness raising of our society.