The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest: New Film Captures Florida Prisoner’s Shocking Ordeal Behind Bars

In 1980, Mark DeFriest was sentenced to four years in prison for a minor crime (theft). After the passing of his father in 1979, he had a dispute with his stepmother and authorities over the will of his father. He took his father’s tools before they were probated, was later arrested and charged with stealing tools that were willed to him by his father. Thirty four years later, Mark is still in prison.

“They charged him with attempted murder. He was placed in solitary confinement; lived in total darkness in a small cell. He was not allowed to communicate. There were post orders and in the post orders, it states:
1) No clothes for prisoner
2) No mattress or sheets
3) No matches, cigarettes, etc.
4) Conversations limited to business only
Mr DeFriest was denied of all toiletries, he was deprived of toilet paper, soap, tissue, toothpaste, The water was turned off in his cell, he could not flush his toilet, he could not bathe or shower, he had to eat without utensils and in the dark.” -DeFriest’s lawyer, John Middleton, detailing how Mark was treated after discharging a gun against a prison wall.

Amy Goodman talks to the director of the film, Gabriel London.Visit DemocracyNow for more. Also visit for updates.

Related Readings

Commission takes up Mark DeFriest case

DeFriest: Mental Illness Behind Bars

Will ‘Houdini of Prison’ Mark DeFriest Ever Escape Lockup?


About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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