Another birthday behind bars for Jacqueline Montanez

Update 30th May:
Thank you to everyone who took the time to write all these wondeful birthday messages for Jacqueline. We are gathering all the messages and will pass them on to her. In the meantime, please continue to take action on Jacqueline’s case by writing a letter to the Governor of Illinois calling for her sentencing to be removed and granting her clemency. 

The 29th May is Jacqueline Montanez’s 37th birthday, and another day she will spend in prison. Jacqueline has spent more than half of her life in prison, after being sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for a crime committed when she was a child. Please join us in sending Jacqueline a message to show solidarity on her birthday and let her know that we are thinking of her. 

Leave your message for Jacqueline as a comment below

Jacqueline was just 15 years old when she and two other women shot and killed two members of a rival gang. Despite her age, Jacqueline was tried in an adult court where the only sentence available was life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. This meant that Jacqueline’s young age, difficult childhood and history of abuse could not be taken into consideration when deciding her sentence.

A sentence of life without the possibility of parole violates international law when it is imposed on a child. It means that a child’s potential for development, change and rehabilitation can never be taken into account. We all know that children develop and change as they grow up – but children given the sentence of life without the possibility of parole face spending the rest of their lives in prison, no matter who they become as adults.

After spending more than 20 years in prison, Jacqueline has grown into a very different person. She has completed almost all of the available education and vocational programmes; she trains service dogs for disabled people; tutors and mentors other inmates; and speaks out for troubled young people, especially those who have been abused and trapped in the gang lifestyle which she was born into.

However, Jacqueline’s sentence means she is destined to spend the rest of her life in prison, unless granted clemency.

As her 37th birthday approaches, we want to show Jacqueline that we are thinking of her and all those in the USA who face spending the rest of their lives behind bars for childhood actions. At the Amnesty UK AGM on 13th-14th April, we collected messages of support in a giant birthday card for Jacqueline.

Please join us and let Jacqueline know that people around the world are thinking of her on her birthday. You can stand in solidarity with Jacqueline and send her a message for her birthday by adding a comment below. Amnesty will make sure that your messages are sent to Jacqueline.

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59 comments

All my best wishes on your birthday Jacqueline. Yours in solidarity, Karen

KarenW 5 years ago

Happy Birthday to you. Hope things work out for you and they let you out of there cause you do deserve a second chance. Maybe I'll see you when they free you.

brandilawson98 5 years ago

Happy birthday to you Jacqueline,in our thoughts on this special day.Keep strong,be proud of what you have achieved and of your ongoing support for those individuals who need to be heard like yourself.I hope one day in the near future you will be granted clemency.Love and best wishes

christines51 5 years ago

Happy Birthday Jacqueline
Keep shining. Have a great year.
All the best from the UK

Richard Seabury 5 years ago

Happy Birthday Jacqueline with all our best wishes. Your are in our thoughts on this special day. Cheers, John

John Dunleavy 5 years ago

Happy birthday Jacqueline.We both hope you have a great day.Keep up the good work and stay positive.Our thoughts are with you.

Barry Watson 5 years ago

Happy Birthday, I hope you have a lovely day, chin up and remember to smile. We're here for you and wish you the best xxx

9kelly.jones7 5 years ago

Thinking of you on your Birthday Jacqueline, take pride in your achievements, you are a credit to yourself and humanity as a whole and I hope you feel some happiness in knowing there are many people who are proud of you too, stay strong x

birros 5 years ago

Happy Birthday! I hope you have a good day, stay strong!!

DavidJPM 5 years ago

Sending you birthday wishes and thoughts. Stay strong and keep believing a change is going to come your way xxlorna

lorna.shephard14 5 years ago

I wish you everything good.
x --Omar

badranos 5 years ago

Best wishes Jacqueline, you deserve a second chance.

martins_1 5 years ago

Happy birthday Jacqueline, I'm thinking of you. Rosemary

Bookworm699 5 years ago

Happy birthday,Jacqueline; hoping you will get released alive one day. Lotus

Lotus White 5 years ago

Happy Birthday, Jacqueline, Stay strong and keep looking for the rainbows after the rain. Everyone deserves a second chance - may it happen for you. All the best, Jomo

Jomo 5 years ago

Happy birthday and stay strong. My thoughts are with you.

Andrew Bullock 5 years ago

Happy Birthday,
Hope You Get Out,
It's Only Fair,
You Have Changed,
Good Luck.
^-^

CookeeMonsta 5 years ago

Happy Birthday xx
You have proved that people can change
Stay strong and Good Luck :)
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

amelia matrejek 5 years ago

have fun and happy birthday Hope You Get Out You have proved that people can change stay strong hoping you will get released alive one day wishes and thoughts.

callum.payne 5 years ago

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.

happy birthday

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jake.murray 5 years ago

Happy birthday hope one day you make it out xxx

matt2006 5 years ago

Happy Birthday. Remain positive and continue with all the good work that you do. I'm thinking of you x

c.crowther2 5 years ago

Happy Birthday. I am inspired by all the good work you are doing, and hopefully you will soon be out :)

Helet3 5 years ago

Happy Birthday Jacqueline. I'm full of admiration for anyone who turns negative to positive. Keep the spirit. Love, Marc

Marc 5 years ago

Hope you have a lovely birthday. x

Faff 5 years ago

happy birthday Jacqueline Montanze i congratulation

scosudan 5 years ago

May the law change and allow you to continue your good works on the outside Jacqueline. The thoughts and prayers of many are with you until that day comes, keep that strong spirit. Happy birthday to you Jacqueline. Xx

victoria100 5 years ago

Dear Jacqueline

Hey Hi Sending you BIG HUGE BIRTHDAY WISHES. You are a star- keep up the good work you are doing- YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION!! With love Mel

rainbowmel 5 years ago

Happy Birthday Jacqueline, keep doing what you are doing, It is so positive to hear what you are doing. Happy Birthday and God Bless

Danny Hoare 5 years ago

Happy Birthday, Jacqueline. It is so impressive to see how you have worked so hard to make positive contributions to the lives of others. I hope you will have the opportunity to continue this work some day outside of prison. In the meantime I wish you all the very best and a happy day.

Gail2 5 years ago

Happy Birthday, Jacqueline and I wish you to stay strong. It is so admirable that you have accomplished so much and keep on doing what you're doing! Don't ever lose hope.

"In the hour of adversity, do not fear, for crystal rain falls from black clouds"
Persian Proverb

Jeevan Ravindran 5 years ago

Happy birthday Jacqueline! People around the world are thinking of you. Never give up hope.

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” – Nelson Mandela

Lucy Hayes, London, UK

lucymhayes 5 years ago

Happy Birthday Jacqueline. People around the world have you in their thoughts.

tom.newrick 5 years ago

Happy Birthday! Well done for all your achievements.
Alice

Alice Book Worm 5 years ago

Happy Birthday Jacqueline!!!
Have a great day and keep your head up!
You sound like a great person and I admire you for how much you have helped others.
Many happy returns,
Anya (Sheffield, UK)
xxx

anyamariesd 5 years ago

Jacqueline I hope despite the circumstances of your imprisonment that you are able to celebrate your birthday & know that there a thousands of people who are thinking of you & hoping that the day will come soon that you'll be able to apply for your release. Thank you for your hard work & dedication to help those who for many reasons have found themselves in a similar situation as yourself You are not forgotten & you are not alone. Simon

Spencer Davies 5 years ago

Happy birthday Jacqueline!

Huge respect.
You are one of the reasons the rest of the world does not give up on the USA.
To say 'One day you will be free' is a misnomer for me.
You are already free: you have freed yourself.
I hope you will also walk free too very soon.
With the greatest admiration,
Tony Roberts

newharper 5 years ago

Best Wishes from Paris for your birthday. In solidarity.

sandreler 5 years ago

Happy Birthday Jacqueline! Your courage is admirable, don't lose hope. You are an inspiration to myself and others.
I hope these messages make you realise you are not forgotten.

Kate

kateamitchell 5 years ago

Happy Birthday Jacqueline!

The thoughts of all of us are with you today. May it be blessed with happiness.

Jamie

jamiemacmanaway 5 years ago

Happy Birthday!! You are making the most of your life and should be proud of your achievements. You deserve your freedom and the chance to live the rest of your life away from prison. We in Leicester, UK, are thinking of you and hoping that you have a flame of joy and positivity in your heart. You have earned our respect. Again, Happy Birthday!!

JonathanUre 5 years ago

Happy birthday. You are making the most of your life despite the odds being stacked against you and have the right to feel proud of what you have achieved in the face of adversity. Good luck with whatever the future has in store for you, and please try to find happiness whenever you seek it.

m.peters456 5 years ago

Happy Birthday Jacqueline. You have worked so hard to make a different life for yourself. I hope that one day the authorities will come to realise this and give you a chance to do the same with your liberty.

redbabs 5 years ago

Happy birthday Jacqueline, I wish you peace and happiness in all your endeavours.
Regards,
Joss

gojoss 5 years ago

Jacqueline please accept my support. I am one of many who will continue to lobby for the ending of your Nations lack of humanity in its justice system.
Andy McAdam - Scotland

Andy McAdam 5 years ago

Thinking of you on your birthday, I wish you all the best.

NDA 5 years ago

Hi Jacquline,
Happy 37th birthday. I turned 37 earlier in December. I admire you for your perseverance and strength. May the Lord sustain you and give you hope, peace and wisdom always.
From the rainy UK, with kind thoughts,
Shirbanoo

Shirbanoo 5 years ago

Dear Jacqueline,

I send you birthday greetings from across the Pond, in London, England.

I'm not sure how happy a birthday you could have while locked away behind bars, but I hope you are comforted by the messages you have received today, and to know that people are thinking of you.

One Love,

Burkuss xxx

Burkuss 5 years ago

I wish you as Happy a Birthday as possible, and hope it is some comfort to know that people haven't forgotten you and others like you

lbrook000 5 years ago

Dear Jacqueline,

Happy birthday from Scotland. Your story is as inspiring as your punishment a travesty of justice.

Good luck and take care

Dave

DS 5 years ago