life sentence for first-time, teen drug offender • served 20 years in federal prison •  Pres. Obama commuted on Dec. 19, 2013  • works as high school counselor



Reynolds Wintersmith Jr.’s first strike was damning. Reynolds was just 19 years old when he was arrested and later sentenced to life in prison for selling drugs. He received a mandatory life sentence for his first offense – a nonviolent drug crime. Reynolds Wintersmith spent 22 years locked up. President Obama commuted his sentence on December 19, 2013.

Reynolds is the Restorative Justice Coordinator at CCA Academy, a Youth Connection Charter high school in North Lawndale. He implements an approach that favors dialogue and understanding over punitive measures, and he leads talking circles with young people. Reynolds attends Malcolm X College and is on the Dean’s list for the 7th semester straight!

Reynolds wintersmith

Photo credit: Nancy Stone, The Chicago Tribune