Black man headed back to prison for 14 years because of a technicality

Matthew Charles has led an exemplary life outside of prison for the past two years.

Matthew Charles
Matthew Charles | Twitter


For the last two years, Matthew Charles was making things right with his life after being released from prison and serving a 21-year stint. Charles had served his time for being a crack dealer and thanks to an Obama administration initiative, he was released from prison early.

However, even though the Nashville man got his life right, Charles must return to prison after two years of being out because of a system error. Charles was actually ineligible for an early release under the program, reports Blavity.

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Charles was initially released because of the Obama administration’s crack guideline changes, but the problem is Charles was in prison before his crack conviction, and that means he’s classified as a “career offender” and doesn’t qualify for the early release program.

The technicality is upsetting for Charles especially since he’s done so well in the two years he’s been out of prison. He got a job and has been following his faith. Even when he was incarcerated, he was a model prisoner. Charles taught GED classes to other inmates,  enrolled in college classes and helped his fellow inmates with their legal woes.

Even with his clean track record, he has to serve out the remainder of the 35 years of his original sentence because the U.S. Attorney’s office appealed his 2016 release.

Charles is still fighting the decision.

“It was like a 180 from what I had thought would happen. I’m just disappointed, again,” he said outside the courtroom.

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“But I believe that God is still in charge of the situation. He hasn’t revealed to me what he’s doing yet, but my faith remains the same.”

The judge who ordered Charles back to prison said the case was “sad,” and said he showed “exemplary rehabilitation.” But admitted “her hands were tied.”

Charles is back in a medium security prison in Kentucky. petition was started asking the Trump administration to consider the case and pardon Charles. There’s no word on if they will take up the issue.