Freed May 31, 2024

Incarcerated for 20 years, 4 months, and 29 days

Ricky Tisdale was released on May 31, 2024, after serving more than 20 years of a life sentence for selling drugs to an undercover officer. Mr. Tisdale was only 24 when he was arrested. He recognized the best thing to do was to take responsibility for his actions and plead guilty. Even though he accepted responsibility, the State filed a multiple offender bill against him, and the judge gave him a life sentence. His lawyer asked for a lesser punishment, but the judge refused to impose anything less than that Mr. Tisdale should die in prison.

But Mr. Tisdale did not accept that he would die in prison. He earned his GED and became a certified generator and electrical technician and a trusted member of the maintenance crew at Angola. He completed many programs focused on controlled substances and good decision-making. He moved past relationships that were not constructive and focused on building skills that would help him thrive if he were ever free again. When he became parole eligible under a new law, IPNO’s Unjust Punishment Project represented him before the parole board and because of all of his achievements he was granted another opportunity for freedom.

Every day of his two decades in prison, Mr. Tisdale hoped to be reunited outside of prison with his daughter, who was only 2 years old when he was arrested. He has been a dedicated parent throughout her life, but until now, she had almost no memory of him as a free person. After his release on he went to surprise her at her home, and his decades-long wish became a reality.