Richard Stratton’s education helped him to vacate a coercively harsh sentence, and now he speaks out to help others who are behind bars unjustly. The irony is not lost on Stratton, that recent cannabis legislation has legalized many of the activities for which people are still locked up. He offers a unique glimpse into the mind of an underworld leader, an award-winning writer and filmmaker, and a human rights advocate.
Richard Stratton is a former international cannabis smuggler, CEO of a multi-million dollar operation. Arrested in 1982, he was convicted under the “Kingpin Statute” and sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.
While incarcerated he wrote the underground cult classic novel, Smack Goddess. He also became a jailhouse lawyer, had his sentence vacated and was released after serving eight years. His work has been published in Story Magazine, Rolling Stone, High Times, Spin, Newsweek, Penthouse, Esquire and a number of literary quarterlies.
Stratton has also worked as a producer and creative consultant on a number of HBO productions including Prisoners of the War on Drugs, The Execution Machine: Texas Death Row, Thug Life in D.C. and the dramatic prison series, Oz.
He is qualified as an expert witness in state and federal courts in the areas of prison violence and prison culture, and has testified in capital prison murder cases in Texas, Oklahoma, Utah and California.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx