How much is enough?

Taxpayers are spending enormous sums to keep thousands of harmless old men behind bars for long-forgotten drug deals.

The Clemency Report ranks retired pot smuggler Richard DeLisi, 66, as Florida’s top prisoner deserving a sentence commutation.

DeLisi, whose family ran a successful marijuana importation and auto body repair business in the 1980s, was sentenced to three consecutive 30-year terms, or 90 years, for an offense that had a guideline range of 12 to 17 years. No violence was involved.

Today, instead of the grandkids hearing colorful tales of grandpa’s days as a bootlegger during marijuana prohibition, the stories to be told are about Florida’s fiscally reckless and repetitiously harmful arrest-and-imprison response to marijuana cases.

We don’t execute people for speeding. Nor do we give three-second sentences for murder. Proportion matters. Ninety years for marijuana? Too much.

  • 1988

    Sentenced to 98 years

    DeLisi, whose family ran a successful marijuana importation and auto body repair business in the 1980s, was sentenced to three consecutive 30-year terms, or 90 years, for an offense that had a guideline range of 12 to 17 years. No violence was involved.

  • 2015

    10 more years before possible parole

    Richard has applied twice for clemency. No luck. After over 27 years behind bars for marijuana and another 10 to go before possible parole at age 76. Please help by spreading the word and signing the petition. Hopefully we can get him home sooner.

Sign the Petition

Sometimes people think drug offenders doing insanely long sentences have only themselves to blame. That’s a lazy way to think about it.

People who support drug prohibition don’t like to discuss their moral responsibility, the concept that moral limits exist on what they may do to drug offenders. In Richard’s case, prohibitionists have gone far beyond what they may morally do to others.

However well-meaning drug war supporters may imagine themselves, when the prison clock keeps running, decade after decade, into the Medicare years, the finger of moral culpability is no longer pointing in its original direction.

signatures

Click here to sign the petition

years incarcerated
more years until possible parole
taxpayer's dollars wasted
states with marijuana decriminalisation