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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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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

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”

Shirley is serving a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for her role in a methamphetamine conspiracy – which never sold a single ounce of the drug for profit and was only created to feed her addiction.  Read More
State:
Issue: Mandatory Minimums

Jaquale Clark

After making drug deliveries for her boyfriend, Jaquale received a mandatory 10-year sentence for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base. Because she and her daughter’s father were codefendants, her daughter has two parents in prison....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  Read More
State: Florida
Issue: Mandatory Minimums