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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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Robyn Hamilton

Robyn Hamilton used drugs and had “bad thinking,” in her words, and she was caught up in a drug conspiracy that netted her a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. The judge in her trial did not want to sentence her...Read More
State:
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

Dejarion Echols

Dejarion received a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for possession with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of crack cocaine and an additional 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for possession of a firearm during the commission of a drug trafficking crime....Read More
State:
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

Jeffrey Woods: Sober and Stuck in Prison

When police discovered drugs in his car and arrested him, Jeff finally found the strength to clean up his act and get sober while he was out on bond. Sentenced to nearly six years, Jeff is working hard in prison...Read More
State:
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

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

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 passage of sentencing reforms in Michigan that would have reduced...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

Stephanie’s story is a messy one, reflecting the chaotic life of a drug addict. It also shows how drug-weight threshold laws can have a devastating “cliff effect” on low-level offenders.  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