When he was first arrested, he had a wife named Anne, and my husband was then working as an aid to then MK (Knesset Member) Geula Cohen. As I remember, Geula, one of Israel's most sincere, dedicated, honest and idealistic public figures, was the first to adopt the Pollard cause. Geula and my husband were in contact with his family, and my husband even visited him in jail.
The basic story is (from my memory) of an idealistic American Jew, who was working in a sensitive position in the American Government, saw/was purposely allowed to see documents proving that the United States was ignoring signed promises to Israel concerning Israel's security. In response, Pollard began feeding information to Israel. When he was caught he tried escaping to the Israeli Embassy. The Israelis turned him over to the Americans.
Pollard's family hired lawyers who made a deal with the Americans, in which Pollard would confess and get a "lighter punishment." Instead the Americans renegged and gave him the heaviest punishment, short of execution, much, much worse than any Communist or enemy spy ever got for anything even worse. That is besides the Rosenbergs... who were also Jewish.
I left out a very basic element of the story. The charge against Pollard was spying for an ally, a friendly country, not for an enemy and not to destroy/damage American security.
Our family custom used to be to set extra places at our Passover Seder for missing and imprisoned "Prisoners of Zion" Jews. I can't remember all the names, but I do remember Ida Nudel and Natan Sharansky and of course Jay Jonathan Pollard. We're not the only people who did that, and I'm happy to say that it proved a positive experience for almost all. Almost everyone has been released, freed. The one exception is Pollard.
Pollard's chair is still empty.