Former Prisoners

 

Maria Martinez

In 2002, Maria was staying in the apartment of a friend of her boyfriend’s in Michigan when police raided the apartment and discovered approximately 20 pounds of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. Although police conducting surveillance never witnessed Maria engaged in illegal activity, she ultimately received a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence. She was paroled in March… Read more »


Susan Taormino

Susan received two consecutive five to 30-year sentences in 2000 after selling a half gram of cocaine to a former customer-turned-informant. She was released on March 10, 2009. Susan was born in Michigan where her elderly parents still reside.  After a rough divorce in 1971, she began drinking and abusing cocaine.  She found a job… Read more »


Karen Shook

Karen was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 1993 after arranging a drug deal for a man who turned out to be an undercover police officer. She was released in 2003 after Michigan passed sentencing reforms that made her eligible for parole. In 1994, Karen was a paralegal in her prison library when she… Read more »


Marcus Boyd

Marcus received a 169-month sentence for distribution and possession with intent to distribute 37.4 grams of crack, even though only 5.6 grams were attributed to him at the time of his arrest. He was released in 2009 due to the crack sentencing guidelines retroactivity amendment. Marcus began using drugs shortly after his mother’s death in 1993. He… Read more »


Telisha Watkins

Addicted to drugs from an early age, Telisha was sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, because of drug-related priors. President Obama granted her a commutation on July 13, 2015, and she was released on November 10, 2015. Telisha was born… Read more »


Michael Brandon Shuler

Michael served a 15-year prison sentence for possessing a firearm as a felon, even though he was simply transporting his late mother’s shotgun and pistol to his aunt’s house when he was arrested. He was released in 2015. Michael lived with his father in Lee County, Virginia until the age of 12. His father was… Read more »