It should have been a triumphant night for Michael Douglas when he won the Emmy Award for Behind the Candelabra last month. But his victory speech was marred by the somber admission that he is desperate to see his incarcerated son, Cameron, who is locked away in solitary confinement at the Federal Corrections Institute in Cumberland, Maryland. "He's spent almost two years in solitary confinement," Michael said at the Emmys of his son, a former drug dealer. "Right now I've been told that I can't see him for two years. It's been over a year now. And I'm questioning the system." Now, activist Tony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance has started a new campaign to pressure Attorney General Eric Holder to allow Cameron and Michael to reunite, and for other families with incarcerated loved ones to do so as well.
"Every father should be able to see his imprisoned son," Papa, an advocate for Cameron, tells RadarOnline.com exclusively. "At first, Michael blamed his son for the mess he got into, but now, he is questioning the Bureau of Prisons and asking why he is being prevented from visiting his son for two years. Prison does not end at the prison wall… It severely affects the family members and loved ones of those who are incarcerated. Michael Douglas is being punished for his son's drug addiction."
Papa has started a Change.org petition explaining Cameron's position and asking Attorney General Eric Holder and John Caraway, the warden of Cameron's prison, for relief.
Cameron "is currently serving nine and a half years of hard time for a nonviolent drug conviction and is being punished because of his drug addiction," Papa writes.
In April 2010, he was sentenced to five years in prison for possessing heroin and dealing large amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine out of an NYC hotel room. Just over a year later, he failed a drug test and pleaded guilty to possessing drugs in prison.
"Cameron, who has struggled with drug abuse, got caught with a small amount of drugs for personal use while in prison," Papa says, "and the judge in his case brought additional charges, which resulted in adding on an additional four and a half years to his five-year sentence."
"Along with additional charges that resulted in more time," Papa explains, "Cameron was also thrown into solitary confinement and many privileges were taken away, including phone calls and visits with family."
Cameron appealed the sentence "as excessive and unjust," and Papa worked with him to present a brief from experts who argued that addiction treatment, and not more jail time, would be a better solution. His appeal was subsequently denied.
"Unfortunately our government continues to lock up people with drug addictions instead of giving them treatment," Papa says. "Treatment is valid for fighting the demons of addiction and an effective tool in overcoming the government's use of incarceration and punitive measures in response to nonviolent drug law offenses stemming from addiction. Hopefully Michael Douglas will be able to visit his son and the issue of punitive punishment such as this will change and individuals with similar circumstances will be provided relief."
If Douglas' sentence is not amended, he will be released in 2018.