62-year-old Missouri grandfather Jeff Mizanskey walked out of the Jefferson City Correctional Center on Tuesday, where he was met by a cheering crowd of friends and family members.
21 years earlier, Mizanskey had been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for three non-violent marijuana convictions under Missouri’s since-repealed, three-strikes style Prior and Persistent Drug Offender statute. However, passionate and relentless protests by supporters led elected officials in Missouri to intervene, climaxing in Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s May commutation of Mizanskey’s sentence, which granted him the opportunity for parole. In August, Missouri’s Board of Probation and Parole reviewed his case and approved his parole request.
According to KRCG-TV, Mizanskey said that he plans to continue his advocacy of cannabis legalization and prison reform and wants to get back to work remodeling homes. He recommended that prisons provide inmates with training in information technology careers to help their chances of reintegrating into society after their release.
The newly-freed Mizanskey reportedly dined on steak and eggs with friends and family at a local restaurant after leaving the maximum security prison in which he had been imprisoned for over two decades.
The Free Jeff Mizanskey Facebook page celebrated his freedom by posting several pictures of him following his release, including a picture, seen below, captioned, “Getting some food and meeting his great granddaughter.”
In the original Change.org petition that supporters used to drum up support for his release, Mizanskey’s son Chris wrote, “While my dad has been trapped behind bars, generations of kids and grandkids have been born into our family who have never even met the man.”
Mizanskey’s family has created a crowdfunding page on the website GoFundMe which seeks help with his transition back into society after being incarcerated for decades.
Watch the Truth in Media Project’s Consider This video, embedded below, which exposes some important and lesser-known facts about non-violent inmates serving hard time under the War on Drugs.