By Annie Sweeney

January 1, 2015

One year ago, Reynolds Wintersmith had just finished his morning workout and was preparing to take his cool-down lap in the prison yard when — over the music playing in his MP3 player — he faintly heard his name over the loudspeaker.

Sentenced to life in federal prison in 1994 for drug-dealing when he was a teenager, Wintersmith spent much of his days working on bettering himself, buoyed by the hope he’d someday be freed.

After hearing his name paged, Wintersmith made his way to the warden’s office and waited. A phone call for him was coming, staff told him. Minutes later he was speaking with his attorney, who told him President Barack Obama had commuted his sentence: “He did it,” Wintersmith heard on the other end of the phone. “He signed your paperwork. You are coming home.”

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