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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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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
Portnoys

Francie’s Story: Loss of Trust

This is very difficult for me to write. I am scared, depressed, sad, fearful, and angry. The scared, depressed, fearful, and sad are for my family and my son. The anger is at the system, which failed us terribly.  Read More
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
Paul Houser

Paul Houser: A Sentence That’s “Just Not Right”

“Those people don’t want to hear about a poor country boy’s sad story.” — Paul Houser Paul Houser’s story is sad, but it is well worth hearing. He’s now 11 years into a 60-year sentence for drug crimes. How he...Read More
State:
Issue: Mandatory Minimums
Connie Farris

Connie Farris: Watching Her Husband Die Slowly From Behind Bars

Theirs is a tragic love story for the ages. She’s in prison, and he continues to deteriorate more each day from muscular dystrophy, at this point unable to care for himself. And the BOP wants to keep them apart—even though...Read More
State:
Issue: Compassionate Release
Debra Cupp

Debra Cupp: Why I Tell My Story

When Debra’s husband Ron died in prison, she was devastated. But then she started telling his story. She’s still in grief, but she’s channeled some of that feeling into action and advocacy.Read More
State:
Issue: Compassionate Release
Elizabeth Melson

Success Story: Elizabeth Melson

Elizabeth was a shy child and adolescent who struggled with self-esteem issues from an early age.  Problems for Elizabeth became even worse during her teens, around the time of her parents’ separation and divorce.Read More
Category:
State:
Issue: Sentencing

Adam Kubinski’s Story: “A Real-Life Snowball”

Adam’s father Kenny is serving life for drug charges. He’s been behind bars for 24 years now, and Adam and his sisters bear the deep scars of their dad’s unfair punishment.Read More
State:
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

Success on the Inside: Kenny Kubinski

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State:
Issue: Mandatory Minimums