This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

Search form

Letters to President Obama


Darrell L. Padgett, Welch, West Virginia

September 16, 2015

Dear Mr. President: 

In 2008, I presented a PowerPoint presentation, on the life of Barack Obama, to an audience that was eager to learn about you as presented in your book –Dreams from My Father. The makeup of the audience was all inmates that were in the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). I was no exception; I was an inmate as well. In 1991, I was arrested for the distribution of one gram of crack cocaine, and subsequently I was convicted and sentenced to serve 37.5 years in the custody of the BOP. I would eventually serve 20 years in federal prison for a nonviolent drug crime. My sentence was reduced as a result of legislation that was authorized by you – the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, in addition to an argument that I presented to the court to the extent that “further incarceration was no longer necessary in light of the factors outlined in 18 U.S.C. 3553(a)(2).” The court granted my request and released me from the BOP’s custody on January 24, 2012. 

Subsequently, on September 15, 2015, I earned a master’s degree in Criminal Justice, with highest academic honors from Columbia Southern University. In October of 2015, I will be recognized during the graduation commencement ceremony for my academic achievement. Enclosed, I have provided you with a picture of me in my graduation attire. Additionally, two years after I was released from prison, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. And during my incarceration, I earned an associate’s degree, in Paralegal Studies, through correspondence courses. 

As a result of my extraordinary achievements while on supervised release status, in 2014, the federal court terminated early my mandatory term of supervised release status. Moreover, throughout the 20 years of my incarceration, my wife and I maintained our marriage. And our son, at the time of my arrest, was 22 months old. When I was released from prison, my son was a young man whose life was beginning to unravel. Fortunately, my wife and I were able to re-enforce our son’s behavior with various theoretical approaches. And today he is a young man that has made my wife and me proud. 

Mr. President, I say all of the above in order to encourage you to be confident when exercising your discretion in awarding clemency to many of the deserving candidates that are in the custody of the BOP. I, perhaps more than anyone, know that your decisions to do so must be afforded great caution. As I once explained to a federal judge, there is no sure way to determine whether a criminal offender will recidivate upon release, but there are behavioral characteristics that are indicative. 

If I can assist you in any way, Mr. President, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your invaluable time. 


Darrell L. Padgett