Stories - FAMM

Stories

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...
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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,...
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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,...
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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...
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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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Jodi Richter

Jodi Richter was sentenced to 15 years for her minor part in a drug conspiracy that involved more than 500 grams of methamphetamine distributed in North Dakota, Minnesota, and elsewhere. Her story—with its myriad threads of addiction and mental illness...Read More
State:
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

Tracy Cowan

UPDATE: Tracy was released January 2022 after being granted parole. Despite a clean record and no evidence proving that she sold drugs, Tracy was sentenced to 20 to 40 years for her ex-boyfriend’s dealing operation. She was arrested before the...Read More
State:
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

Robert Furlong

Robert Furlong is serving 15 years in prison for growing marijuana – his first offense. Under the sentencing guidelines, Robert would have received about five years in prison, but the mandatory minimum sentencing laws left the judge with no option...Read More
State:
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

Stephanie Troy: Making the Most of a Bad Sentence

UPDATE: Stephanie was released in the fall of 2018. She is working hard at her reentry, bonding with her children and trying to find some stability in her life. Stephanie’s story is a messy one, reflecting the chaotic life of...Read More
State: Arizona
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

Lisa Andrews: Addiction, Abuse, and Now Prison

A very troubled life of addiction and abuse landed Lisa Andrews in prison for 12 years. It’s clear that she needed intervention and help—but is more than a decade in prison the answer?  Read More
State: Arizona
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

My Story: Kaylee G.

For most of Kaylee’s childhood, her father was incarcerated. She was one of the astounding 2.7 million children in the United States growing up with a parent in prison. Now she is an adult with a child of her own,...Read More
State:
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

Fulton “Mr. Wash” Washington

Once a young man with a promising future, Fulton ended up in prison for nonviolent offenses related to the drug PCP. Mandatory minimums landed him with a life sentence. He spent more than 21 years in prison before receiving clemency...Read More
Category:
State:
Issue: Reentry

Shirley Schmitt: “She Never Sold a Single Ounce for Profit”

UPDATE: Shirley was released in January 2020 through compassionate release. Shirley is serving a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for her role in a methamphetamine conspiracy – in which she never sold a single ounce of the drug for profit. It...Read More
State:
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

William Forrester

William Forrester became addicted to pain medication after surgery. In the fierce grip of his disease, he obtained oxycodone with a fake prescription. He badly needed help with his addiction; instead, he is now in state prison. UPDATE: William was...Read More
State: Florida
Issue: Mandatory Minimums