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Cynthia Powell: 25 Years for 35 Pills

Cynthia Powell was not an addict. She was not a dealer. She sold 35 of her diabetes pain pills to a confidential informant—for $300. Just...
“She was never an addict,” says Jackie. “She wasn’t a drug user, or a drug dealer.” She was charged with trafficking in hydrocodone over 28 grams, less than 30 kilos and possession with intent to sell or deliver a legend drug (prescription).
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Calvin Bryant: 17 Years for a First Offense

Beloved by friends, family, teachers, and co-workers, Calvin Bryant is now serving 17 years for a first-time offense. His sentence was grossly enhanced by Tennessee’s...
Life delivered him a harsh blow, in the form of a government informant. This person, a longtime family friend, pressured Calvin repeatedly to get ecstasy pills for him. He played on Calvin’s sympathies, telling Calvin that he needed the drugs to make money to feed his family.
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The Story of Mandy Martinson

Mandy Martinson was serving 15 years in federal prison for helping her dealer-boyfriend in exchange for feeding her methamphetamine addiction. Mandy’s judge, unable to go...
the judge was forced to give Mandy a mandatory minimum of 10 years for the conspiracy and possession charges, and a mandatory five-year consecutive term for the gun charge, for a total sentence of 15 years behind bars.
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Oliver B.’s Story: Prison Is the Wolf That Scatters Sheep

My brother has served 25 years of a mandatory life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense. John is now 70 years old with no prospects...
John acknowledges that he was wrong by getting involved with drugs and has said that it was something that he is truly ashamed of doing, especially because our mother and father instilled a set of values in each of us. He yearns for an opportunity to get involved with our...
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Jacqueline mother prison photo

Jacqueline C.’s Story: “There Is No More Pretending to Be Okay”

Jacqueline’s mother has been in prison since 1999 on drug conspiracy charges. Her deterioration in prison has been shocking—and has taken a huge toll on the whole family.  Read More
State:
Issue: Sentencing

Rufus Rochell: A Gentleman and a Gentle Man

Despite his 35-year sentence for a drug crime, Rufus Rochell remains upbeat, kind, and forward-looking. For more than three decades behind bars, he’s immersed himself in service to others—a kind of remarkable self-rehabilitation.  Read More
State:
Issue: Federal

Clarence Aaron

Clarence was sentenced to life without parole as a first-time offender after he introduced an old high school football teammate to a college classmate whose brother was a drug dealer. He was present for a drug transaction and another attempted...Read More
State:
Issue: Clemency

Yolanda Flournah-Perkins

In 2004, two semesters before she was set to graduate from the University of Central Florida with a degree in criminal justice, then-23-year-old Yolanda Perkins was sentenced to 37 months in prison for possession of stolen mail, a white-collar offense....Read More
State: Florida
Issue: Sentencing

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...Read More
State:
Issue: Drug-free school zone law

David Brian Veatch

When his wife fell down a flight of stairs and couldn’t return to work, David became involved in a coworker’s marijuana conspiracy to make ends meet. When the coworker was arrested, law enforcement held David accountable for the entire weight of...Read More
State:
Issue: Sentencing

Patrick Ryan

Over the course of decades of battling addiction, Patrick served terms in prison for burglary, escape, and DUI offenses. One drunken night he pawned a firearm as a felon, and although he attempted to rectify his mistake upon sobering up,...Read More
State:
Issue: Drug-free school zone law

Angela & Kimberly Bush

After selling drugs to support their addictions, Angela and Kimberly were sentenced to 15 1/2 years and 19 1/2 years, respectively, based on minimum guideline sentences. In 2012, Angela’s sentence was reduced from 188 months (15 ½ years) to 150 months...Read More
State: Tennessee
Issue: Sentencing

Ricky Minor

Ricky is serving a life-without-parole sentence for attempting to manufacture methamphetamine. His sentence is based on prior offenses, even though none of them resulted in prison time. He had been fighting addiction and depression for years when he was sentenced. ...Read More
State: Florida
Issue: Clemency