For The Record

Edward Douglas had been in trouble with the law twice before: two convictions on minor drug charges that resulted in probation. When he was convicted in 2003 for selling a fistful of crack cocaine to an undercover informant, it was his third strike. Under federal law, the judge had no choice but to send him to prison for the rest of his life.

Douglas ended up being freed in early 2019, thanks to new federal legislation called the First Step Act — and thanks to the efforts of the Decarceration Collective. An all-woman, not-for-profit law firm headed by MiAngel Cody, the Decarceration Collective specializes in winning freedom for prisoners serving lengthy sentences for nonviolent drug crimes. Cody and Douglas, along with criminal justice advocate Latonja Walker, spoke virtually at Richmond Law in February as part of the Emanuel Emroch Event Series; the hourlong presentation, above, is also available on Richmond Law’s YouTube channel. The work of the Decarceration Collective is the subject of a 2021 documentary, The Third Strike.