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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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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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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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Amber Carlson: Mother Gets 10 Years

Deep in addiction and mental illness and trying to scrape together enough money for gifts for her kids one Christmas Eve, Amber Carlson agreed to transport methamphetamine for a drug dealer. She had no prior felony convictions, but she got...Read More
State: Arizona
Issue: State

My Story: Danielle W.

Danielle’s husband Keith is currently serving a 270-month mandatory minimum sentence. Danielle has written a book about her experiences as a “prison wife” and an accompanying blog, https://forthelivesofprisonwives.com/.Read More
State:
Issue: Sentencing

David Lee Sanchez

David was only 14 when he first started selling marijuana to support his own habit. At 18, he and his uncle were arrested for dealing, and David’s uncle blamed David for everything. He received the mandatory 18 years and nine...Read More
State: North Carolina
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

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

Telisha Watkins

Addicted to drugs from an early age, Telisha was sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, because of drug-related priors. President Obama granted her a commutation on July...Read More
State:
Issue: Clemency