Michigan man released from prison after serving decades behind bars


JACKSON, Mich (WLNS)- This morning a man who’s been behind bars for over 20 years was released early, and it all had to do with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer granting him a form of clemency. 

Michael Thompson, 69, was serving a 42 to 62-year sentence. He was originally convicted for selling three pounds of marijuana to an undercover informant- back in the ’90s, along with other marijuana convictions.

He was released just hours ago at 4 a.m. from Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center in Jackson, where he was greeted by his two daughters and granddaughter.

Back in 1996, accompanied by his marijuana convictions were previous felony convictions.
Those involved a felon-in-possession of firearms and the possession of firearms during the commission of felony convictions. That led to a 40 to 60-year sentence.

He wasn’t going to be eligible for parole until he was 87, in the year 2038.

Michael’s case caught the attention of many celebrities, activists, and even government officials, like Attorney General Dana Nessel.

She called the sentence, “Unheard of,” in a letter to Gov. Whitmer when she asked for her to grant him a form of clemency.

In December, Gov. Whitmer did just that. For Thompson and three others after a review of their application requests. Something that Thompson said is life-changing. 

“I’m happy that I’m free. There’s so much that needs to be done on prison reform,” said Thompson just moments after he exited prison.

His daughter, Rashawnda Littles said her dad’s life is looking up from here.

“He can rest in a decent bed. He don’t have to sleep in no cot. He don’t have to eat the bad food,” Rashawnda said.

As for now, his lawyer said the fight is not over and he remains on probation.

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II today issued the following statement after Michael Thompson, Lawrence Cadroy, Lorenzo Garrett, and Larry McGhee were released from the Michigan Department of Corrections following commutations for their non-violent sentences. 

“For these four men, today has been a long time in the making. It represents the ending of their debt to society and the beginning of an opportunity for better days. It’s also a chance to reconnect with their families, neighborhoods, and communities in a way that proves our commitment to second chances and providing pathways to full participation in civic life. Governor Whitmer and I will continue to prioritize a more equitable and just criminal legal system, and every step forward is a step in the right direction.” 

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