Corie Priest knew many people who were in and out of prison while he was in high school, yet he finished school and went on to attend Delaware State. During his third year there, he went home at Christmas to visit his family instead of going to work. He lost his job, and withdrew from school. To this day, Corie has never smoked marijuana, but he started selling it to make some money.
He was eventually caught and pleaded guilty to one count of drug trafficking. Despite having no criminal history, the judge had no choice but to send him to prison for two years as a mandatory sentence.
After prison, Corie worked hard to get his life back on track. He has worked as a substance abuse counselor and peer support specialist. He dreams of going to law school, and wants to empower those with whom he grew up. In a world where completing one's prison sentence was the end of punishment, Corie's future would be limitless.
However, that is not the world in which we live. Delaware law brands Corie as a "violent felon" due to his drug trafficking conviction -- from seven years ago. (Note that this drug is now decriminalized in Delaware.) Due to this label, his access to financial aid is restricted and other barriers to university enrollment are daunting.
In Delaware, expungement requires the Governor's pardon. Corie applied, but was denied -- too soon, he was told. While Corie should be evaluated as a student or employee on the merits of his skill and intellect, he is held back because of a bad decision seven years ago. His unofficial punishment will continue long after his official punishment was completed.