A Missouri grandfather who was serving life in prison without parole for nonviolent marijuana offenses has finally been set free.
In early August, we reported on Jeff Mizanskey, a Missouri man who was serving 21 years for a non-violent marijuana bust.
Governor Nixon commuted Mizanskey's sentence, and yesterday, he was officially freed from prison.
In a nutshell, here’s what transpired, as reported by RawStory:
Jeff Mizanskey, now 62, was arrested in 1993 for selling 6 pounds of marijuana to a dealer. He was sentenced to life without parole, a provision in state law that was repealed in 2014. According to local KRCG, Mizanskey’s case was the subject of intense lobbying, and Governor Jay Nixon commuted his sentence to life with the possibility of parole. Mizanskey went to the parole board last month and was easily granted release.
Yesterday, Mizanskey met his great granddaughter for the first time, and they went out to eat a meal of steak and eggs with family and supporters in celebration of his release.
His family detailed a photo timeline of his release on the Free Jeff Mizanskey Facebook page:
Photo caption: Jeff Mizanskey in the center, proudly wearing his "I'm Jeff & I'm Free" t-shirt, with his son Chris on the right.
Raw Story reports that Mizanskey “hopes to continue his career in home remodeling.” He also plans on being “an advocate for prison reform,” in the hopes that inmates can be better prepared to transition to life outside prison walls.
Here's one possible way inmates could become better prepared: the Obama Administration has a new pilot program that gives Pell Grants to eligible prisoners so they can complete a higher education program while serving time. The experiment aims to end recidivism by rehabilitating prisoners through education so they have a shot at staying out of jail once they are released (rather than returning like a majority of them do). Will Pell Grants will set prisoners up for success back in the real world? Only time will tell.
Watch the details of the experimental Pell Grant program here:
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