By Kate Samuelson
December 16, 2016

A prisoner carrying out a drug trafficking sentence has made history by becoming the first inmate to refuse enrolling in a residential drug treatment program in exchange for early release under President Obama’s clemency program.

Arnold Ray Jones, who was granted a presidential commutation—a pardon which would have allowed him to be absolved of his conviction—by President Obama on Aug. 3, refused to accept one of the conditions that came with his clemency, USA Today reports.

If Jones, 50, had accepted the condition of enrollment in a residential drug treatment program, he would have been released from the low-security Texas prison he’s currently living in in two year’s time (August 2018) rather than in April 2019 at the earliest. Jones is the first inmate to have refused a presidential commutation because of the residential drug treatment program condition.

The White House and the Justice Department have not revealed the specifics of the case but inmate records acquired by USA Today showed that Jones used crack cocaine weekly in the year before his arrest and that drug treatment programs he’s completed in the past have been unsuccessful.

[USA Today]

Write to Kate Samuelson at kate.samuelson@time.com.

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