Canton community rallies for criminal justice reform after man sentenced to 235 years

Canton community rallies for criminal justice reform after man sentenced to 235 years

CANTON, Miss. (WLBT) - Protestors chanted outside of the Madison County Courthouse Wednesday afternoon demanding change.

Local attorney Lawrence Blackmon organized the group in less than a day.

“This is also a movement that’s been going on across the nation, in other states and other cities. The movement to end mass incarceration. The movement to decriminalize marijuana, just to make other common sense reforms in communities,” he said.

While it happens nation wide, the issue has come up in Canton. Thirty-nine-year-old Lavar Williams was sentenced for non-violent, drug related charges for a total of 235 years.

“When you hear that number, 235 years, and keeping in mind that the United States is only 243-years-old, what a normal person would think is ‘who did he kill?' We know that that is unjust, we know that if it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone else because the fact of the matter is the laws, as they exist right now, allow for that," said Blackmon.

Other protesters, like Hunter Dossett, share the sentiment: “My mother, she was facing 36 years in prison for a half of a mushroom and a quarter gram of meth,” he said.

Signs held high as T-shirts were worn, calling for action.

Blackmon says they will continue to protest while gathering 15-hundred new voters to push for political change in August.

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