DETROIT - Richard "White Boy Rick" Wershe Jr. is now set to be released from prison on Dec. 25, 2020.
That's a Christmas gift of four months of freedom for Wershe, who was originally scheduled to be released from Florida prison on April 20, 2021.
Wershe, now 49 years old, is being housed at the Reception and Medical Center state prison in Lake Butler, Fla. after spending nearly three decades behind bars in Michigan as a nonviolent drug offender. He was released from the Oaks Correction Facility in Michigan in April 2017 and turned over to U.S. Marshals. He was booked in at the Florida prison in September 2017.
Wershe said he will stay positive and do everything he can to gain early release from Florida.
"I have to deal with it, and whatever it is, that's what I'm going to do," Wershe said.
If he continues his good behavior behind bars, Wershe can get that Dec. 25, 2020 release date moved up even further. He's supposed to be granted six days for every one month of good behavior.
Wershe was the longest-serving nonviolent juvenile offender in Michigan history. Arrested at 17 years old for drug offenses, he was locked up in Michigan until age 48.
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Why does Wershe owe time in Florida?
While he was in a Michigan prison 12 years ago, Wershe introduced his sister, Dawn, to a car salesman. It turned into a stolen car ring, and Wershe pleaded guilty to protect his sister and mother from criminal charges.
"They said, 'Listen, this is what we're going to do. If you don't take this plea, we are going to arrest your mom and your sister,'" Wershe said. "It was a forced plea. I don't agree I committed the crime that I was convicted of."
Wershe walked out of a Michigan prison and into a prison transport van. Wershe's attorney argued they are dangerous and inhumane, as Wershe has made the trip to Florida by prison van once before.
"It's hell on wheels," Wershe said. "I was on one for a week, and it's the most traumatic part of almost 30 years in prison."
Wershe's time since being paroled doesn't count for the time he still owes in Florida. That time doesn't start counting down until Florida picks him up. Even though he was dreading the transport process, Wershe said he wanted to start as soon as possible.
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