John Knock spent 24 years in prison after receiving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent marijuana offense. Since his sentence, his family, and specifically his sister, Beth Curtis, have been working to set him free. They have gone through several presidential administrations but up until this week, they came up short.
“It’s almost like the Charlie Brown football with Lucy pulling it out and sad news … back to the drawing board,” said Benji Curtis, John Knock’s Nephew.
Beth Curtis started a website, LifeforPot.com. There she advocated for the release of her brother and other people in similar situations.
“She’s been to D.C. so many times, I think she knows every street in town,” said Benji Curtis.
This week, the work paid off when Knock and others on Beth’s website were pardoned.
“It’s too overwhelming to describe, really,” said Beth Curtis.
Beth is out of the country on vacation this week but was able to speak with her brother. It was a call she has been waiting for a long time.
“It’s unbelievably different. I’m talking to someone who’s free and that’s wonderful,” said Beth Curtis.
Over the past 24 years, Beth says some things like John’s personality hasn’t changed but a lot has changed that he will need to catch up on.
“He kept his sense of humor and his humanity all these years. He lived his life in prison as he’d live it outside, with a lot of integrity,” said Beth Curtis.
“For him to be 74 and try to catch up with what he’s missed, this is going to be challenging. He’s getting a cell phone today, we talked to him on zoom last night with my whole family because we had to introduce him to my children, he didn’t know them,” said Benji Curtis.
As for the website and Beth’s mission, she says it will always be a cause close to her heart but at 79-years-old she may need help with it.
“It will always be close to my heart but someone has to, I will look for help because I am much too old to continue this forever. They need more than me,” said Beth Curtis.