Stories - FAMM


Featured Stories

Free to Succeed: Ernest Boykin

“2027” is written boldly on the back of Ernest Boykin’s phone as a reminder of the year he would have been released, had he not...

A Lifetime of Remorse and Service to Others

Too many people in Pennsylvania are serving long prison terms that don’t make communities safer. There are plenty of people locked up like David Mandeville,...

When a Second Chance Means Powerhouse Advocacy

There’s nothing romantic about prison. But here’s a FAMM story that’s undeniably romantic. It’s about what happens when fierce advocacy, Fantasy Football, 35 birthday cards,...

A Racist Disparity, the EQUAL Act, and One Man’s Redemption

The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 reduced the disparity in sentencing for crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses from 100:1 to 18:1. But true justice...

Motivating everything we do here at FAMM are real people—prisoners, families with loved ones locked up, returning citizens—who experience firsthand our broken criminal justice system. When FAMM started more than three decades ago, it was the stories of these people that defined our mission and our work. And that hasn’t changed.

On this page, you’ll find many different kinds of stories, featuring people of all stripes from all over the country. Each and every one of their stories shows in sharp relief the problems with bad sentencing laws and prison policies. We hope that these stories educate and inspire you, just as they do for us.


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Michelle’s Story: “They Call Him Uncle Awesome”

My name is Michelle. I am the proud mother of Danny Knight. At the age of 17, he was sentenced to 40 years in the Florida prison system. That was 2008, and now he has 28 years left behind bars. I...Read More
Issue: Sentencing

Wayne Potee: From Hero to Addict to Prisoner

For Wayne Potee, it all comes down to one day. It was a weekday, and he was working on power lines when he took a bad fall off his truck. He suffered an injury to his rotator cuff that required...Read More
State: Tennessee
Issue: Drug-free school zone law

Jomari DeLeon: Pressured Into a Terrible Decision

Jomari DeLeon made two drug sales over 24 hours, making less than $200. Kingpin? Hardly. Yet this first-time offender was sentenced to 15 years. Even the judge didn’t want to give her that much time. And making matters worse, the...Read More
State: Florida
Issue: Sentencing

Terri Minor Spencer: A Force of Nature in Her Community

“Good Morning, Boom Shakas! Have A Great Day, Do It With Your Chin Up & Back Straight” Scroll down Terri Minor Spencer’s Facebook page and you’ll see many messages like this one—and in Terri’s case, what you see is what you...Read More
State: Pennsylvania
Issue: Reentry

Glenda’s Story: “I’m the Rock”

Glenda’s story of struggling through her son’s addiction and then incarceration is the story of a mother’s love and frustration. It also shows what a fighter for justice she is – clear-headed, driven, and focused. Her brutally honest take on...Read More
Issue: Sentencing
John Knock

John Knock: Two Life Sentences for Marijuana

John Knock is in prison for marijuana charges for a term of two life sentences plus 20 years. This story is from his sister, Beth Curtis. From day one, Beth has been John’s strongest supporter. She will never stop telling...Read More
Issue: Sentencing
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
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
Issue: Sentencing

Kerry’s Story: Father and Friend

UPDATE: Erik was released in February 2021 through a resentencing to time served. 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...Read More
State: Florida
Issue: Mandatory Minimums