The Marshall Project

What It's Like to Get Clemency — One Year Later

Catching up with Obama’s clemency recipients.

It’s hard for a person to climb out from under the stigma of incarceration. Doubt for their potential to be reformed and general fear of “the criminal element” can haunt the formerly incarcerated for the rest of their lives, even if they’ve been pardoned by a president.

“Some of these people are bad dudes.” That’s what President Donald Trump had to say when he spoke from the campaign trail about the nonviolent drug offenders whose sentences had been commuted by former President Barack Obama. “These are people out walking the streets,” Trump warned. “Sleep tight, folks.”

With his words, Trump painted a picture of

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