Speed Reads

Prison Reform

Obama to inmates: It could have been me in prison

President Obama became the first sitting American president to visit a prison on Thursday, when he traveled to Oklahoma's El Reno medium-security facility. While there, the president told the nonviolent offenders he met with that, had things gone a little differently, he could have been the one behind bars, Politico reports.

"That's what strikes me — there but for the grace of God," Obama said. He added, "When they describe their youth, these are young people who made mistakes that aren't that different from the mistakes I made, and the mistakes that a lot of you guys made. The difference is that they did not have the kind of support structures, the second chances, the resources that would allow them to survive those mistakes."

On Monday, Obama granted clemency to 46 non-violent drug offenders in prison, saying, "Their punishments didn't fit the crime. And if they'd been sentenced under today's laws, nearly all of them would have already served their time." Obama has now commuted the sentences of 89 prisoners — the most since Lyndon Johnson.