Michael Douglas won an Emmy Award Sunday night for Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Behind the Candelabra and took the opportunity to publicly reach out to his eldest son, Cameron, and criticize the U.S. prison system.

After thanking co-star Matt Damon, Douglas thanked his family.

“I want to thank my wife, [Catherine Zeta-Jones] for her support; my kids Dylan and Carys, and a shout out for my oldest son, Cameron. And hoping that I’ll be able… and that they’ll allow me to see him soon.”

Cameron, 34, is currently serving a nine-year sentence for nonviolent drug charges and has been struggling with drug addiction for many years. He published an essay criticizing the U.S. justice system and how it punishes nonviolent drug offenders in June.

“There are half a million other people in the U.S. who, like me, will go to sleep behind bars tonight because of nothing more than a drug law violation… This outdated system pays little, if any, concern to the disease of addiction, and instead punishes it more harshly than many violent crimes,” Cameron Douglas wrote.

Backstage in the press room of the Emmys, Douglas echoed his sons statements when explaining his shout out to Cameron during his acceptance speech.

“My son is in federal prison… He’s been a drug addict for a large part of his life, and was selling drugs and was arrested and is in federal prison. Part of the punishments – if you happen to have a slip, and this is for a prisoner who is nonviolent, as about a half-million of our drug-addicted prisoners are… he’s spent almost two years in solitary confinement. 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,” Douglas said.

Douglas went on to express his hope that laws regarding nonviolent drug offenders will change soon and that he will be able to be reunited with his son.

“Obviously at first, I was certainly disappointed in my son. But I’ve reached a point now where I’m very disappointed with the system. And as you can see from what Attorney General Eric Holder has been doing… regarding our prison system, I think things are going to be revived, regarding nonviolent drug addicts, criminals. My last comment on that is the United States represents 5 percent of the world’s population and we have 25 percent of the world’s prisoners,” Douglas said before moving on to another question.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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