Seth Ferranti

Federal Inmate Petitions Congress to Eliminate Outrageous Crack Cocaine Disparity

Steffany “Stet” Frazier was convicted in 1994 of crack cocaine possession with the intent to sell, and was given a life sentence under the harsh edicts of the drug war and the 100-to-one crack cocaine sentencing ratio. This ratio—which has since been lowered—resulted in harsher penalties for defendants who sold crack, than those caught with larger amounts of powder cocaine. The disparity targeted African American men at troubling rates, due to the hysteria around the crack epidemic

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Can Hollywood Free White Boy Rick?

Richard "White Boy Rick" Wershe is an iconic figure straight out of the 1980s Detroit crack era. His legend as a drug dealer far outstrips the truth of his situation. He has spent the last 28 years in prison due to that notoriety, an infamy that has ignited Hollywood movie interest, but his time inside might be over soon.

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Meth Comes to the Hood

“All the homeboys are using crystal,” an LA street-gang member from the Neighborhood Bloods, says. Tick-Tock* is an OG and has been gangbanging since he was a youth. He knows the ins and outs of the drug trade and was hustling when crack was at its peak and the Colombians were dumping kilos of yayo on Los Angeles’ streets. “Blood, Crip, it doesn’t matter. They are all going crazy on crystal. It’s the new big thing in LA. It's rapid.”

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Obama's Clemency Lottery

Last week, The New York Times reported that President Obama plans to use clemency to free a multitude of nonviolent drug offenders. Everything is pointing to Obama using his clemency powers to free dozens of federal drug offenders, if not more. This will be a historic moment and a new foray into righting the wrongs of the drug war by Obama. He has been working steadily at correcting the draconian drug laws of the past but for many of those in prison it has been too little and too late. His track record in this forum has been spottyto say the least.

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How to Run a Drug Dealing Network in Prison

At every single correctional facility in the US, a drug network something like the one I’m about to outline operates and prospers. Take it from me—I was recently released from federal prison after spending 21 years of my life inside.

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I Nearly Lost My Freedom Because I Couldn’t Pee in a Cup

A few days ago at 6:30 am, just as I was getting ready to go to work, I got called down to the front desk of my halfway house in St. Louis. I have lived here for the past two months since being released from federal prison after doing 21 years of a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for a drug conspiracy.

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Inside the Aryan Brotherhood’s Heroin Empire in Prison

Prison is a place where racial hatred is routine, where gangs rule the roost and heroin is the most valuable commodity. “A white person in prison is in deep trouble if he doesn’t have people to stand with him,” one prisoner tells The Fix. “The guards can’t do nothing. All they can do is prosecute the winner.” And there are few bigger winners in the feds than the Aryan Brotherhood.

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The Fascinating Story of 'White Boy Rick': Feds Made Him a Drug Kingpin at Age 14, Then Threw Him in Prison for Life

Meet Richard Wershe. To other convicts in the Michigan penal system and the handful of DEA and FBI agents who once employed him as an informant, Wershe is known by the memorable moniker, White Boy Rick. Wershe was a baby-faced, blond-haired teenager who grew up in the the middle-class fringes of Metro Detroit in the 1980s. Around the time he hit puberty, he transformed into White Boy Rick, a prolific drug dealer and teenage prodigy in the cutthroat and vicious streets of the Motor City. He ranked as high in the public imagination as colorful Detroit drug heavyweights the Chambers Brothers, Maserati Rick and the notorious Best Friends. By the time he was 16, he was dating the mayor of Detroit's beautiful niece. White Boy Rick had arrived.

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Waiting List for Addiction Treatment in Federal Prisons Is 51,000 Inmates Long

Federal prisons are full of drug offenders—more than 90,000 of them, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released this week. Yet only about a third of those prisoners— most of them low-level drug dealers, users and addicts—are receiving treatment to combat their addictions. “Its really tragic,” one longtime federal prisoner tells The Fix. “The feds lock up all these crackheads and junkies and then don’t even give them any programs to get them off drugs. Worse still, the one drug program they do have, RDAP, has all types of restrictions on who can get in, for what crime, etc. If you don’t fit the specific criteria, you can’t get in.”

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