It’s a huge burden to bear for Gregory’s brother Larry, his mother Diann, and his children. But these extreme habitual laws affect many families in Mississippi — and disproportionately impact Black men. Black men make up 13 percent of Mississippi’s population, yet account for over 75 percent of those sentenced to 20+ year habitual enhancement sentences.
Long prison sentences have become the norm in Mississippi. First-time drug possession can land you in prison for 20 years. Stealing tools from a garage can result in 25 years behind bars.
“He’s missed a lot of birthdays, holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Especially his kids’ birthdays. I’m 62 years old, working, trying to keep things together, keep things for what his kids need. Do what I gotta do.”