His case has received legal support from the Last Prisoner Project, a nonprofit that advocates for ending prison sentences for cannabis offenses. With 31 years in prison, DeLisi is the country’s longest-serving nonviolent cannabis prisoner, according to the group.
DeLisi, now 71, could be released from South Bay Correctional Facility as early as December 4, though the exact release day still depends on several factors, according to the Florida Department of Corrections press secretary Kayla McLaughlin.
“It feels amazingly wonderful to know that I will be home with my family and loved ones very soon,” DeLisi said in a statement to Last Prisoner Project. “I am grateful to everyone who has been there and helped me along in these long years.”
‘Sick indictment of our nation’
DeLisi’s wife, son and both parents died during his time incarcerated. He said he was looking forward to reuniting with his two living children and to holding his five grandchildren for the first time.
“If I could go back to 1988 I would tell my former self to put more value in the time I spend with my family. I have learned that money is something that comes and goes but family is forever. I will take that lesson home with me and I will make the most of every moment I have left on this earth with my wonderful family.
“I am so excited to hug my children and grandchildren. I have missed so many important moments with them and I can’t wait to get out there and create precious memories with everyone. I am so thrilled that this dark chapter of my life is finally over.”
His daughter Ashley hasn’t spent a birthday with him since she was 3 years old. “I just want to hug my dad outside of prison,” she said in a statement.
Chiara Juster, the lead attorney and a legal advisor for Last Prisoner Project, expressed disbelief that DeLisi was in prison for so long.
“We participated in decarcerating someone who couldn’t deserve it more,” she said, calling the lengthy sentence for a nonviolent offense “a sick indictment of our nation.”