Michael Thompson Just Served 25 years for Selling Weed. Now Michigan is Putting Him on Probation for 4 Years

My dear friend and brother, Michael Thompson, was just released from prison after serving 25 hard years behind bars for selling weed to a friend. And to be clear, Michael wasn’t released for “time served” - tens of thousands of us had to fight for years to force the Governor’s hand to issue him a commutation.

I spoke to Michael this afternoon for the first time with him as a free man. And he and I both had to express our deep frustration at something the State of Michigan did to add insult to injury - they put Michael on probation for four years.

Mind you, he’s now a got-damn senior citizen.

This man just lost his entire adult life in prison. His parents died while he was locked up.

His only son died while he was locked up. The whole world has changed.

And after serving 25 years in prison - where he was washing his damn clothes in the toilet - Michael now has to be on a supervised release probation for four more years - checking in and out, with everything he does monitored - from where he travels to, who he works with and more.

It’s preposterous.

And what it also means is that it impacts where Michael can live, who will hire him and even who he can mentor and help - which is how he wants to spend the rest of his life. See - if you didn’t know this - probation is just prison outside of the 4 walls.

You aren’t free at all. Michael will be governed by hundreds of policies and rules and laws that don’t apply to me and you. And they will impact every single facet of his life. It’s so ugly. And guess what? Donald Trump didn’t have a damn thing to do with tacking four more years of probation onto Michael’s life.

Michigan has a Democratic Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General. The local DA is a Democrat. So we can’t blame Republicans for this one. But let me tell you an open-secret - nearly 5 million people just like Michael are on probation or parole right now - which is more than twice the number of people in jail or prison today.

We are right to focus on police brutality. We are right to focus on the number of people in prison. But we have to reduce the number of people on probation and parole as well. It’s too much.

I’m going to be fighting to have these four years of parole removed from Michael’s life and will let you know how you can help when we get some action steps together.

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