Romain Dukes says President Obama has given him his life back. Expecting to spend the rest of his years in prison after being convicted in 1997 of distribution and conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, Dukes is among the forty-six individuals who had their sentences commuted in July. Jason Hernandez says the same thing; sentenced at age fifteen to life without parole for his part in a drug conspiracy, he’s been out since 2013 after the president commuted his sentence. Hernandez works as a welder (a trade he learned in prison), and mentors juvenile offenders at Café Momentum in Texas, eager to make a difference in the lives of these teens:
I hope one of these days when they ask the president, “What were some of your greatest decisions?” And when he names the Affordable Care Act and the other accomplishments that he has done, that he also says, “You know what? There’s also the Clemency Initiative and that one Mexican kid, named Jason Hernandez.