President Obama commutes life sentence of man serving in Oklahoma prison

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

EL RENO, Okla. – A Texas man who has been serving a life sentence in an Oklahoma prison will soon be a free man.

On Friday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 42 people, including 50-year-old Douglas Ray Dunkins, Jr.

When he was just 26-years-old, Dunkins was arrested and convicted of conspiracy to manufacture and sell crack cocaine.

Even though it was a nonviolent offense, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“Over two decades ago, Douglas was sent to prison to die for a nonviolent drug offense. That sentence was so extreme that the judge who handed it down has recognized its excessiveness,” said Ezekiel Edwards, Douglas’ attorney. “Almost 25 years later, President Obama has opened a door for Douglas, allowing him to rebuild the life that our failed war on drugs destroyed.”

During his time in El Reno, Douglas has held various jobs, completed multiple educational and vocational programs and became a certified paralegal.

In fact, he has even helped fellow prisoners with legal matters.

Last year, Dunkins wrote the president, seeking clemency.

“The most important thing to me about freedom is caring for my parents. Their health is going downhill,” Dunkins wrote last July. “Also, I haven’t been able to see my daughters grow into young ladies, and I haven’t had the benefit of assisting my sisters as a brother should – let alone just living life as a free person.”

Dunkins is set to be released in October and will return to his family in Texas.