By Ray Downs
|Jeff Mizanskey at the Jefferson City Correctional Center|
When Eric Sykes, a mass communications senior at SIUE, read the October Daily RFT story about Jeff Mizanskey, the Missouri man doing a life without parole sentence for marijuana, he thought he might have a good subject for his video documentary class. But as he delved into the project, it became more important than just a grade.
“When I first contacted Chris Mizanskey, Jeff Mizanskey’s son, I realized just how real this situation was,” Sykes tells Daily RFT.
In November, Sykes made the trip from Edwardsville to the Jefferson City Correctional Center where Mizanskey has been held for nearly 20 years for an on-camera interview. He was able to speak to Mizanskey and hear his story in person. The next day, Sykes met some of Mizanskey’s family. And although Sykes had never been a proponent of marijuana legalization, this experience convinced him that prohibition laws are a lost cause.
“I have never been one to support the legalization of marijuana until I heard about this case,” Sykes says. “I can truthfully confess that I have never been in the same room with marijuana. Never smoked it and never will, but after meeting these people, however, I feel that we need to decriminalize marijuana. Who are we to sentence someone to die in prison because they were in possession or marijuana? This entire story is just painstakingly wrong.”