INMATE ADVOCACY: WHAT A HOLLYWOOD SUPER-STAR AND GREENSBORO MOM HAVE IN COMMON MAY INSPIRE YOU
Piedmont Triad International Airport professional pilot MayCay Beeler has landed an unlikely role as an inmate advocate. And she’s not alone. This record-breaking pilot/local TV personality turned best-selling author of a multi award-winning true crime book has a surprising connection to a reality TV star.
Last year, everyone’s favorite selfie queen, Kim Kardashian West, got serious for a moment when she met with President Trump to plead the case of a great grandmother serving a mandatory minimum sentence of life without parole for a nonviolent drug crime. Alice Johnson was pardoned by President Trump within days of that meeting. And now Kim K has done it again, to the tune of 17 times, according to CNN that reports Kim has been instrumental in freeing 17 more inmates in 90 days.
While the super star receives well-deserved praise for calling the president’s attention to the unfairness of mandatory minimums, there are thousands of inmates like Johnson who have been behind bars for decades serving unfair prison sentences. It seems there is little hope for these forgotten souls and the probability of a high-profile celebrity coming to their rescue is unlikely.
Like the selfie queen, I fought for the freedom of a similar offender. I sought the release of Jack Carlton Reed, a nonviolent Medellin Cartel drug smuggler and pilot who was a co-defendant in the longest, most publicized drug trial in U.S. history. Reed was also serving a life sentence without parole. But, unlike the $350 million dollar socialite, I fought to win Reed’s freedom without the help of money, star power and 60 million twitter followers. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done and, I have to admit, when the reality star disclosed it was her phone call to Ivanka Trump that swiftly led to the Oval Office meeting, resulting in Johnson’s freedom, I thought, “Wow, if only it were that easy for the rest of us.”
My unlikely journey to free Reed is documented in the multi award-winning true crime biography we wrote together; Buccaneer- the Provocative Odyssey of Jack Reed- Adventurer, Drug Smuggler and Pilot Extraordinaire.
This may seem like shameless self-promotion for our book, but there is an important message here. The fact that a powerful super-star and a not-so-powerful average Jane like me can make such a difference is remarkable. The only things the celebrity and I have in common is that our fathers were both criminal defense attorneys; we have no law background, and the inmates we helped free were initially total strangers to us.
While it is hard to take Kim seriously, you have to give her credit for using her platform to bring attention to prison reform. And now she will take it to another level. On her TV show, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Kim announced her intention to go to law school, citing she is eligible in California as a college drop-out with a minimum amount of credit hours to earn a law degree in an apprentice program.
It is my hope that my book, along with TV star’s significant accomplishments that continue to gain worldwide attention, will propel additional inmates in desperate need of sentencing leniency into the spotlight. If you know of someone in need of justice, DO something. Be their advocate. Too many prison inmates are dismissed, forgotten, or rejected by family and friends who gave up on them long ago. You may be the one who makes a difference. It is possible.
~ by MayCay Beeler
Buccaneer- the Provocative Odyssey of Jack Reed- Adventurer, Drug Smuggler and Pilot Extraordinaire by Jack Carlton Reed and MayCay Beeler is available on amazon. See www.maycaybeeler.com
Editor’s Note – This is an updated version of an article written last year on Beeler’s LinkedIn. The topic is red hot right now, with Kim K in the news yet again regarding prison reform. Her story has been trending on TMZ, CNN and various other outlets within the past few days.