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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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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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Rick Turner

Rick Turner: Lost in the System

Last year, one of the jurors in Frederick “Rick” Turner’s trial talked to the Washington Post after Rick’s sentencing hearing. “Mr. Turner has a problem, he made really bad decisions. But do I think he can be a productive member...Read More
State:
Issue: Sentencing
Anye Young

Anyé’s Story: Speaking Out and Breaking a Vicious Cycle

My name is Anyé Young and I am the child of a prisoner. I was born in Greensboro, N.C., and now live in the Washington, D.C., metro area. I am currently 17 years old, a graduating senior in high school,...Read More
State:
Issue: Sentencing

Kerry’s Story: Father and Friend

Kerry Weyant’s son Erik is living the nightmare that is Florida’s 10-20-Life mandatory minimum. Erik was sentenced to 20 years for firing a gun into the air to ward off attackers, even though no one was hurt. In 2016, Florida...Read More
State: Florida
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

Matthew Charles: Saved by the First Step Act

Matthew Charles’ life has seen some extraordinary turns recently. After spending 21 years in prison on a 35-year sentence, he was released in 2016. He walked out of prison with nothing, but soon created a full life for himself. It...Read More
Category:
State:
Issue: Sentencing
Charceil Kellam

Charceil Kellam

When Charceil Kellam was arrested in September of 2006, her family assumed that she wouldn’t spend much time in prison. She had a history of arrests, related to her decades-long addiction issues, but even when convicted, she never spent a...Read More
State:
Issue: Sentencing
Chad Marks

Success on the Inside: Chad Marks

At age 24, Chad Marks was sentenced to a 40-year federal mandatory minimum sentence. The prosecution offered him a plea deal that could have resulted in a 10-year term if Chad would admit his guilt. Instead, he went to trial,...Read More
Category:
State:
Issue: Sentencing

Ashley Renee Keeton

In 2011, three days before Christmas, 23 year-old Ashley Renee Keeton was worrying about being able to put toys under the tree for her four young children. Wanting to make some quick cash to buy gifts, she decided to take...Read More
State:
Issue: Sentencing

Success on the Inside: Jorge Maldonado

I still think about wrestling. I watch it here in prison every Monday and Tuesday. I wrestled for over 25 years, in many countries. You can see my videos on YouTube – just search “Rico Casanova Lucha.” I want to...Read More
Category:
State:
Issue: Sentencing
Ainsley Woods

Ainsley’s Story: The Value of Speaking Up

“I’m never getting married again,” I told my lawyer as we walked out of the county courthouse. I was feeling free and at the end of a very hard journey. Life was going to get easier! Looking back, I couldn’t...Read More
State:
Issue: Reentry