Image via Family provided to the New York Daily News
Nabae Criam and his mother, Roxanne. Image via Family provided to the New York Daily News

A former Brooklyn resident is expected to be released from prison two years early after President Obama’s announcement this week that 61 inmates would be granted clemency.

Nabae Criam, 33, has been in prison for nine years on drug and weapons possession charges in North Carolina. His mother has been waiting patiently for his return. After the president’s clemency announcement, she was relieved to hear that her son would be coming home in a few months. Criam joins 61 nonviolent offenders to have their sentences reduced.

“He said, ‘Mom it’s not like I went away to college or to the service. I just want to get home,’” Criam’s mother, Roxanne Criam-Buckner, said to the New York Daily News.

Atlanta Black Star reported that the president would reduce the sentences of prisoners around the country. The individuals released were serving time under “outdated and unduly harsh sentencing laws,” according to a statement from the White House.

White House official Neil Eggleston wrote on the White House blog that “… the President has now commuted the sentences of 248 individuals – more than the previous six Presidents combined. And, in total, he has commuted 92 life sentences.”

Many of these people have been victims of the expensive and ineffective war on drugs launched by former President Ronald Regan in the 1980s. That is the case for Criam.

“He called me at exactly 11 o’clock and he told me the good news. He said, ‘Ma, are you sitting down?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Nabae, please don’t make me nervous.’ He said, ‘Mom, I was granted clemency.’ ”

Criam was living with his father in North Carolina when he had the run-in with law enforcement that resulted in the nine-year-long sentence. He has a few more months before he will see his mother again. His official last day in custody is July 28.

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