Richard DeLisi's wife died while serving a 90-year sentence for selling marijuana, his adult daughter had a horrific car accident and suffered a crippling stroke as a result, and his two granddaughters never met, memories he will miss for the rest of his life. On Wednesday, DeLisis, 71, left a Florida prison and hugged his weeping family and two of his grandchildren.
Last Prisoner Project, which campaigned for DeLi's release, he is considered one of the longest-serving non-violent cannabis prisoners in the U.S. His wife, daughter, and two granddaughters also visited him for the first time this week. After 31 years in prison, “I am just trying to make up for lost time”, he said after his 31-year tenure.
“I don't know what to do with myself, but I'm just happy to be back in the community and be back with my family and friends”, he said.
“I'm a blessed person and a survivor”, DeLisi said in an interview with The Associated Press, when he saw his granddaughter laughing and bouncing a ball. The New York-born Italian was targeted by a judge who mistakenly thought he was part of an organized crime. He was sentenced to 90 years in prison in 1989 for marijuana trafficking - when He was 40 years old and the typical sentence was only 12 to 17 years.
He is not angry, but he prefers not to point to what he has lost and that he will never come back, and instead he takes the opportunity to express gratitude and hope. DeLisi said he was grateful for the chance he had and never had a desire to lead a different life.