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A 71-year-old man who was sentenced to 90 years in prison for selling marijuana has been released, having spent more than three decades behind bars.
Richard DeLisi walked free this week after serving 31 years of his sentence, making him believed to be the longest-serving non-violent cannabis prison, according to the The Last Prisoner Project - which had campaigned for his release.
During his time in prison in south Florida, DeLisi's wife died, along with both of his parents and his 23-year-old son. His daughter was also involved in a horrific car accident, suffering a paralysing stroke in the incident.
Now just eager to make up for lost time with his family, DeLisi was reunited with loved ones as he was finally freed - and was able to meet his 11-year-old and one-year-old granddaughters for the very first time.
DeLisi was sentenced to 90 years for marijuana trafficking back in 1989, when he was aged 40.
According to CBS, the typical sentence was just 12 to 17 years, but DeLisi believes he was targeted with the lengthy sentence as the judge mistakenly thought he had links to organised crime because he was an Italian from New York.
However, DeLisi said he never had any desire to pursue such a route, despite having been handed opportunities.
Speaking to the Associated Press on Wednesday after being released, DeLisi referred to himself as a 'blessed human being' and a 'survivor'.
He said: "Prison changed me. I never really knew who God was and now I know and it changed the way I talk to people and treat people."
Explaining how he became a mentor to younger inmates, DeLisi added: "For me, being there so long, I was able to take gang members from gangs to gentlemen."
His 43-year-old son Rick opened up about how his father's incarceration impacted both him and the family, telling the Associated Press: "It's just kind of like torment on your soul for 31 years.
"I was kind of robbed of my whole life so I just appreciate that I can witness it, but on the other hand I feel like, isn't somebody responsible? Is there somebody that can answer to this?"
But DeLisi is choosing not to dwell on the time he'll never get back, instead channelling his energy into fighting for the release of other inmates through his organisation, FreeDeLisi.com.
He added: "The system needs to change and I'm going to try my best to be an activist."
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