In July, President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders, including Smith's. At the time, Obama's 46 sentence reductions were the largest number of sentences commuted by a president since the 1960s. Thomas was only 11 years old in 1999 when Smith and his maternal grandmother, Minnie Pearl, were each arrested for narcotics trafficking. Smith had originally been scheduled to be released in 2017. Pearl received a life sentence for that crime and remains in prison.