Donny Andrews: Friends rally Sunday in support of clemency for drug-war casualty

It's been a long, long 25 years since Donny Andrews, barely out of his teens, ended up behind bars for a string of burglaries he embarked upon to support his cocaine habit. But that quarter-century represents less than a third of the sentence heaped on Andrews, one of the harshest punishments of its kind meted out at the height of the lock-'em-up frenzy in the late 1980s.

You heard that right. Andrews is serving 81 years and a day for a series of nonviolent property and drug crimes. His earliest parole date is in 2025 -- a situation his family and supporters desperately want to change.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast