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In 1992, Norman Brown was convicted on six counts for the distribution of cocaine. In accordance with mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, the 22-year-old received three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. In July 2015, after nearly 25 years in prison, President Obama approved Brown’s request for clemency.
Brown is among 1,927 people granted clemency by President Obama during his two terms, a vast majority of whom were originally convicted for nonviolent drug crimes.
Now Brown faces a new challenge – adjusting to life outside prison.
Part of his new life involves working with a group of young adults who are also transitioning back into the world — after juvenile detention.
“They’re full of energy, and they’re full of passion, and they’re full of self-hate, and I want to try to help them to understand to grow to love themselves because you can’t love nobody else until you begin to love yourself, and they haven’t even been exposed to love,” Brown told NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan before entering a meeting with the young people at the Department for Youth Rehabilitation Services, where he volunteers.
For more on Brown, his thoughts on living in prison, mandatory minimum sentence guidelines and helping troubled youth, watch the video above.
For a more in-depth view on Norman Brown, clemency, and the Obama administration’s legacy surrounding criminal justice, watch Hari’s report here.
Dave Berndtson is a production assistant for PBS NewsHour from Chicago.
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