SEATTLE, Wash. -- Chad Latham thought he was in trouble when a corrections officer told him he was needed on the phone. But it turned out to be the best news he had heard in a decade: Latham was getting out of prison early.
“Surreal,” said Latham, “Absolutely.”
Latham was one of 95 federal inmates whose sentences were commuted by President Barack Obama last December. Most of the offenders were serving time for non-violent drug convictions, like Latham.
Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested Latham in 2006 after finding what was described as a “sophisticated” marijuana growing operation in a Pierce County garage. Latham was accused of growing more than 2,000 pot plants by using Ferris wheel style rotating shelves.
”For what I did I potentially could have gotten a life sentence,” said Latham.
He was released in December and has enjoyed spending time in the outdoors with his son, Devin. His son was eleven when Latham went to prison.
“There is no making up for being gone for ten years,” said Latham, “But you can work on reestablishing bonds and focus on building new memories.”
The President's actions took about two years off Latham’s sentence.
He appreciates what President Obama did and said he has no plans on going back to prison.
“I certainly feel the weight of the political situation and wanting to do right by the President’s decision,” said Latham.
He hopes to be a website designer when he finishes taking classes at Galvanize Seattle. Latham said the six-month, five days a week program is hard work, but compared to where he used to be, he’s not complaining.
“I’m here because I want to be here,” said Latham.