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As tough-on-crime sentencing lengthened prison terms and shrank opportunities for parole, gubernatorial clemency became the last hope for prisoners facing long sentences. In response, prisoners in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola agitated for clemency. The chapter explores how long-termers mobilized to agitate for mercy by pleading their cases in the penal press or by following the tradition of prisoners working as trusties in the governor’s mansion, one of the last “corridors to freedom” available to prisoners whose chances for release were being foreclosed. The chapter concludes by returning to Mississippi governor Haley Barbour; by the time Barbour authorized his controversial clemencies in 2012, gubernatorial discretion to grant clemency was under attack from both liberals, who sought fairness and equity in uniform policies, and conservatives, who advocated retribution. Barbour’s clemencies were controversial in part because the public had forgotten the long tradition of clemencies as commonplace.

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