Last Monday, President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of 46 drug offenders, saying that the men and women were not “hardened criminals” and their punishments didn’t match the crimes they committed
“I believe that at its heart, America is a nation of second chances, and I believe these folks deserve their second chance,” Obama said in a video statement.
The move is part of Obama’s efforts to reform the criminal justice system, which includes reviewing sentencing laws and reducing punishments for non-violent crimes.
The White House posted a letter Obama wrote to each of the 46 men and women whose sentences were commuted.
“I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around,” Obama wrote. “Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. It will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change. Perhaps even you are unsure of how you will adjust to your new circumstances. But remember that you have the capacity to make good choices.”
One of the women who received a letter is the mother of Denver Broncos wide receiver, Demaryius Thomas. Katrina Smith was set to remain imprisoned for three more years until she received the life-changing letter.
“God is good,” wrote Demaryius via Facebook. “Great news today, My Best lady come home November 10..”
Demaryius was just 11 years old when his mother and grandmother, Minnie Thomas, were arrested for narcotics trafficking in 1999. Despite their lengthy prison sentences, both women kept in contact with Thomas and watched his games from their cells inside the Tallahassee, Florida federal prison.
Katrina was scheduled to be released in 2017, while Minnie received a life sentence.
Fun Fact! President Obama has commuted more sentences than any president since Lyndon B. Johnson.
(Photo Demaryius Thomas Twitter)