The man considered by the Last Prisoner Project to be the longest-serving non-violent cannabis prisoner in the country was released in early December by the state of Florida after serving 31 years of his 90-year prison sentence.
Richard DeLisi, 71, was 40 years old when he was convicted in 1989 of marijuana trafficking. During his time in prison, his wife, one of his sons and both his parents died. Upon release, he was able to meet his five grandchildren for the first time, according to the Associated Press.
According to reports, DeLisi and his brother, Ted, were convicted of trafficking more than 100 pounds of marijuana from Colombia, as well as conspiracy and racketeering charges, and were each sentenced to three consecutive 30-year terms, though Ted DeLisi was released on appeal in 2013.
The early release date comes after the Last Prisoner Project and attorneys Chiara Juster, Elizabeth Buchanan and Michael Minardi, working pro bono, supplemented DeLisi’s previously filed clemency application and continued to advocate on his behalf to local officials and key stakeholders in Florida.
“I am so excited to hug my children and grandchildren. I have missed so many important moments with them and I can’t wait to get out there and create precious memories with everyone,” DeLisi told the Last Prisoner Project. “I am so thrilled that this dark chapter of my life is finally over.”