Meet Matthew Charles. Mr. Charles served 21 years of a 35 year prison sentence for selling crack cocaine. When the Obama Administration adjusted sentencing standards, the government let Mr. Charles out of prison in 2016.
Having gotten his GED in prison, found Jesus, rebuilt his relationships with family, and worked in a ministry helping young men in prison, Mr. Charles is heading back to prison.
Since his release in 2016, Charles has held a steady job. He volunteers every Saturday, has reconnected with his family, and started a serious relationship. But really, his rehabilitation started years prior. In prison, he took college classes and correspondence courses, he taught a GED program and became a law clerk. With his training, he helped other incarcerated men understand the judicial system long after their public defenders moved on to the next case. Charles kept the secrets of those who were illiterate so they wouldn’t face ridicule or harassment — he read them letters from the court and drafted filings for them in the library. He organized bible studies and counseled newcomers. Two decades in federal insitututions — from maximum to low security — without a single disciplinary infraction.
A federal judge has determined the Obama sentencing changes did not apply to Mr. Charles and the government should not have let him out of jail. Even the judge finds it outrageous, but to her credit she recognized she did not have the authority to fix the problem.
President Trump does though and he should. President Trump can grant Mr. Charles clemency and should do so immediately.