How a 7-Year Prison Sentence Turns Into Over 100

How a 7-Year Prison Sentence Turns Into Over 100

By The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX

WBEZ reporter Shannon Heffernan brings us the story of Anthony Gay, who was sentenced to seven years in prison on a parole violation but ended up with 97 years added to his sentence. Gay lives with serious mental illness, and after time in solitary confinement, he began to act out. He was repeatedly charged with battery – often for throwing liquids at staff. 

Gay acknowledges he did some of those things but says the prison put him in circumstances that made his mental illness worse – then punished him for the way he acted. With help from Chicago-based lawyers, Gay appealed to the local state’s attorney. What happens when a self-described “law and order” prosecutor has to decide between prison-town politics and doing what he believes the law requires? 

Finally, host Al Letson speaks with Ear Hustle co-creator and co-host Earlonne Woods about the power of local prosecutors and the complicated politics of prison towns.

This episode is a partnership with the podcast Motive from WBEZ Chicago. 

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