Sen. Mike Lee meets with First Step Act beneficiary Matthew Charles

Local News

WASHINGTON (ABC4 News) – Senator Mike Lee met with a beneficiary of recent criminal justice reform Monday. 

Lee issued the following statement after meeting Matthew Charles, the first prisoner released due to the passage of the First Step Act.

“It was truly an honor to meet Matthew Charles today. Here is a man who served his debt to society, turned his life around, and is already contributing to his family and community. There is still more we can do to make sure our criminal justice system is as fair and humane as possible, and success stories like Mr. Charles will make further reform possible.” 

Matthew Charles was sentenced to 35 years for selling 216 grams of crack in 1996. While in prison he completed 30 Bible correspondence courses, taught GED classes, and helped fellow inmates with their cases. He was released in 2016 after a judge determined he qualified for a sentence reduction under the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act. 

But federal prosecutors appealed his release, eventually sending Mr. Charles back to prison. 

in 2018, Charles was again released by a federal judge citing The First Step Act provisions to eliminating the crack vs. cocaine sentencing discrepancy. 

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...