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Drugs, Clemency, and Freedom

photo submitted
Mandy Martinson with her cat "Kitty"

In 2004, Mandy Martinson was addicted to methamphetamine. She helped her drug dealer boyfriend as a way to feed her habit, but when her home was raided and drugs were found she received a 15 year mandatory minimum sentence in federal prison. She received clemency last year and is now home rebuilding her life. During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with Martinson about her long road to freedom and recovery.

"While I came across as this totally confident self-sufficient woman, I was actually an insecure girl trying to pretend like everything was okay, when in fact everything wasn't okay.  And that led me to make poor decisions and then to hide my poor decisions," she says.

Martinson says learning that about herself led her to know that everything does not have to be perfect, and she can ask people for help.  Now, she is looking to the future and advocating for changes to laws regarding mandatory minimum sentences.  

Also in this hour of the program, we hear from Kathrina Litchfield who is heading a pilot program this fall to connect University of Iowa instructors with prisoners at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale. It's called the UI Speaker Series.  Litchfield has also run a monthly bookclub at the Oakdale facility.

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa