After 32 years behind bars, America’s longest-serving non-violent cannabis prisoner Richard DeLisi will be able to spend the holidays with his family once again, thanks to the Last Prisoner Project and its dedicated legal team.
“We participated in decarcerating someone who couldn’t deserve it more.”– Chiara Juster, Lead Attorney on Delisi’s case.
Incarcerated at the age of 40 in 1988, Richard DeLisi began his 90-year prison sentence for marijuana trafficking on December 5th, 1989 in Florida’s South Bay Correctional Facility. Now 71, his December 2020 release comes 18 months ahead of schedule, after years of legal battles fought by pro bono attorneys Chiara Juster, Elizabeth Buchanan, and Michael Minardi.
“Richard’s original sentence was horrifying back in 1989; it is even more horrifying today when the State of Florida licenses, regulates, and taxes the sales of unlimited quantities of medical cannabis.”– Steve DeAngelo, Last Prisoner Project Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Harborside.
Upon hearing news of his clemency finally being approved, Richard DeLisi was overjoyed. “It feels amazingly wonderful to know that I will be home with my family and loved ones very soon. I am grateful to everyone who has been there and helped me along in these long years. I have missed so many important moments with them and I can’t wait to get out there and create precious memories with everyone. I am so thrilled that this dark chapter of my life is finally over.”
While the team is ecstatic Mr. Richard DeLisi will finally be seeing his rightful freedom next month, the real loss is that of time; during his sentence, both of DeLisi’s parents passed away, as well as his son. “Richard can never be fully repaid for the decades that were stolen from him. The best way to honor him by making sure this never happens to anybody else,” said DeAngelo.
Musician and Last Prisoner Project Advisory Board Member Damian Marley echoed DeAngelo’s thoughts on time poetically. “It’s about time… literally… it’s all about time; time served… time spent away from family and loved ones… time that is gone forever… congratulations to Mr. DeLisi … it’s about time!”
But the work doesn’t stop there. Jim Belushi, Founder of Belushi’s Farm and Last Prisoner Project Advisory Board Member “Although in the courts this criminal injustice has been righted, his life has been stolen from him. Let’s return to their families and society all the other 40,000 lives that have been stolen and let them go.”
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