Elaine Bartlett Speaker & Booking Information

At the young age of 26, with four small children and no criminal record, Elaine Bartlett was sentenced to 20 years to life behind bars by one of the toughest judges in Albany for selling cocaine under New York's controversial Rockefeller drug laws.
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Winning clemency from Gov. George E. Pataki, Bartlett was released on January 26, 2000, after serving 16 years. With a general equivalency diploma, a two-year college diploma, no job prospects, and $40 from the state, she embarked to start her life over.

Upon her release Bartlett was faced with the harsh reality that she had not been the only one serving time. The past 16 years of missed birthdays, teacher meetings, and home cooked meals, had left a scar on her children and drained her family financially and emotionally. Her eldest son had given up a college basketball scholarship to look after his siblings, one of her daughter's had moved in with another family and wanted nothing to do with Bartlett, and her younger son turned to drugs. Her oldest daughter fell into a deep depression as she struggled to raise a child on her own. The punishment that was handed down that day in court had repercussions far beyond reprimanding Bartlett for her drug offense and now the burden fell back on society.

Bartlett is not alone in her struggle. Enacted in 1973 under former Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, the statutes carry harsh mandatory sentences and have failed to snag drug kingpins and violent dealers, while sweeping up scores of low-level runners like Bartlett. As other states mimicked New York's strict laws, the US prison population exploded from 200,000 then to 2 million today. Last year, lawmakers failed to reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws.

Not only does the US put more citizen's in prison than any other country in the world, it also releases more convicts, while making few preparations for their eventual release. Now these prisoners are coming home in record numbers, as unprepared for "life on the outside" as society is for them. Bartlett is hoping to call attention to this mounting national crisis as well as prepare offenders for the life they will face upon their release.

Since her release, Bartlett has helped found the Mothers of the Disappeared, an advocacy group fighting to repeal the drug laws. She has also collaborated with Jennifer Gonnerman, a staff writer for The Village Voice, to write Life on the Outside. The book starts the day she is released from prison and documents the challenges Bartlett has faced as she tries to pick up the pieces of a life she left 16 years ago. Since its release, this groundbreaking account has been featured in newspapers across the country, including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and The Washington Post.

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NOPACTalent acts as a Celebrity Speakers Bureau and Athlete Booking agency for corporate functions, appearances, private events and speaking engagements. NOPACTalent does not claim or represent itself as Elaine Bartlett’s speakers bureau, agent, manager or management company for Elaine Bartlett or any celebrity on this website. NOPACTalent represents organizations seeking to hire motivational speakers, athletes, celebrities and entertainers for private corporate events, celebrity endorsements, personal appearances, and speaking engagements.

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