Man freed from Memphis prison after 23 years - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Man freed from Memphis prison after 23 years

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

After 23 years behind bars, a man with Memphis ties got his first taste of freedom Thursday thanks to President Barack Obama.

Robert Anderson walked out of the gates of the Federal Correctional Institution in Memphis on Thursday and into the arms of his daughter as a free man.

"We always had faith that he would eventually get out. I didn't know today was the day," she said.

For more than 23 years, he has been serving a life sentence for selling crack cocaine.

Anderson was one of 61 inmates granted commutation by President Obama.

Dr. Jeffery Futrell with Young Man University worked with Anderson for two years on his release.

"It's incredible, but that's the way the system is designed. I mean, the crack cocaine law, it allowed that to become a realization for a lot of men. Especially the African American men, because that's what was selling. Selling crack and they were getting caught up and spending extended sentences," said Futrell, President and CEO of Young Man University.

Futrell said Anderson spent time in jail mentoring others and focusing on good behavior.

"Of course it's called freedom over release for a reason. Freedom is a facility by way of you and God. Judges, lawyers and jailers facility release, but you have to develop your own means of freedom within yourself and it started immediately. He was released today, but he has been free for quite a while," said Futrell.

Anderson said he is focused on making up for lost time with his family and helping others not to follow the same path he did.

"The time that he didn't get to spend with me as a child. He has that opportunity with my two boys and my unborn daughter," his daughter said.

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