Barack Obama has spent much of his eight years as president working to reform drug laws that can currently result in between 20 years to life in prison for a drug offence.
After reviewing the cases of 58 people imprisoned for non-violent drug offences and giving them a lighter sentence, the President took to Medium using one specific example to show why people deserve a second chance.
"Take Phillip Emmert. When he was 27, Phillip made a mistake. He was arrested and convicted for distributing methamphetamines and received a 27-year sentence. So, by the time he was released, he'd have spent half his life behind bars.
"Unfortunately, while in prison, his wife was paralyzed in an accident. So while he was in prison, Phil learned everything he could about fixing heating and air conditioning systems -- so he could support his wife when he got out. And after his sentence was commuted by President Bush, he was able to do just that. Today, he's gainfully employed. He's a caregiver for his wife, an active father, and a leader in his community."
Obama is serving his final few months in the Oval Office, but reiterated his commitment to pushing through reforms before he leaves.
Last year he became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison, and invited Pusha T to the White House to discuss making the justice system more fair and less skewed. Currently, black men in America are six times more likely than white men to go to jail, while Latino men are two and a half times as likely. Thesesourcesprovide more information on the way that works.
Obama finished with this:
"As a country, we have to make sure that those who take responsibility for their mistakes are able to transition back to their communities. It's the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do. And it's something I will keep working to do as long as I hold this office."