After 21 years, the family of the only man serving life without parole in a Missouri prison under an outdated sentencing law has learned he will get a parole hearing.
“I’m elated. I am so happy right now,” Michael Mizanskey told Missourinet, after learning that his brother Jeff Mizanskey would get a parole hearing.
Jeff Mizanskey, of Sedalia, was sentenced for marijuana possession and distribution under a persistent offender sentencing law from the 1990s that has since been changed. His family, lawyers, members of the public, and state lawmakers have all joined an effort to see him released.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) has commuted Mizanskey’s sentence so that he will get a parole hearing. Michael says his family will be there to speak.
“We’ll say that we miss our Jeff. We miss Jeff dearly. He’s missed so much. He’s been a model prisoner all his time in there,” Michael Mizanskey told Missourinet. “He’s never said, ‘Why me?’ and blamed anybody except himself, and he’s done his time.”
In his time in prison, Mizanskey has been written up twice: once for having a dirty cell, and one for putting a piece of mail in the wrong box. Michael thinks he has an excellent chance at being paroled.
“I hope to God it is,” he said. “With that kind of record in over 21 years, who else would be better for parole?”
Michael Mizanskey says his brother has a strong support group waiting for him if he is able to get out of prison.
“He’s got a place with me whenever he wants it. I have a place for him. He has a lot of support,” said Michael Mizanskey. “He is very well-loved. He was a great guy. He always was a great guy, did anything for you, and he has a lot of friends out there.”
“I just want to thank Governor Nixon for doing the right thing,” he added, “and commuting his sentence so he can have a chance at parole.”
A Corrections Department spokesman says Jeff Mizanskey’s hearing will be set sometime this summer.