A local woman was among 73 people who were pardoned and 70 whose sentences were commuted by President Donald Trump on the final day of his term last week.
Lerna Lea Paulson, 52, a Grafton resident, was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison in 2014 for her involvement in a group selling methamphetamine, court documents show.
A sentencing memorandum at the time found that Paulson's criminal history stemmed from addictions to alcohol and methamphetamine due to a difficult and often turbulent life. The memorandum described Paulson as someone capable of being a productive member of society who was committed to her recovery and rehabilitation while in prison.
According to a statement by the White House Press Secretary on Jan. 20, Paulson appears to have done just that.
"During her time in prison, she has maintained an exemplary disciplinary record, has worked full-time in UNICOR (the Federal Prison Industries program) and served as a mental health counselor," the statement reads. "In addition, she has served as an inmate companion as well as a suicide watch companion. She is also authorized to work outside the prison perimeter."
Paulson's warden has recommended her for home confinement under the CARES Act, according to the statement. After her release, Paulson plans to spend time with her family and seek employment.
She could not be reached prior to this article's publication.
It is common for outgoing presidents to issue flurries of pardons and commutations before they leave office. Trump has notably pardoned several former associates, including political consultants Roger Stone and Steve Bannon, and former campaign personnel Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.