Ferrell Scott was sentenced to life in prison for possession and conspiracy to distribute marijuana, a drug that's now legal in many states and turning a handsome profit for the (primarily white) pot industry. Scott, like many nonviolent drug offenders serving long sentences, is black. Without any chance at parole, despite an exemplary behavior record, he appealed to President Barack Obama for clemency. He found out that his bid had been denied when a friend emailed him about "bad news." Thinking something bad had happened to his 93-year-old mother, he called home. His daughter answered, crying, and told him the news.
"She cried like a baby and she was telling me that she didn't know what she was supposed to do now. Couldn't understand it," Scott said in a phone interview.
"Why haven't I been contacted? I hope this is a mistake. My God I'm f----!" he wrote to Amy Povah, who runs CAN-DO, an advocacy group for prisoners incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses.
It's not a mistake. His name is on the list of clemency denials published Tuesday on the Justice Department's website.