President Obama had a busy summer this year, on top of ‘getting shit done’, he became the first president to visit a federal correctional institution, El Reno Federal Correction Institution in Oklahoma. In conjunction with Vice News, the series was filmed for Fixing the System, a HBO special that is airing on Sept. 27.
“As a society, we seem to be OK with certain communities just being locked in this cycle,” Obama says in the special.
“Our kids are being raised around drug crime, they naturally gravitate toward drug crime, they then get involved in the criminal justice system, and it just churns, and everybody thinks that’s normal.”
In the special, President Obama spoke with Tyrone, who was sentenced to prison for 15 years for a non-violent drug charge. Tyrone told the president that he’s using his time wisely and taking college courses because he wants to graduate and be a better man for his children. It was then the president shared stories about his own upbringing.
“I didn’t know my dad, and not too many of our young people don’t know their dads,” Obama says.
“Obviously for them to be able to see you in a strong, positive way, that’s going to have an impact. I met my dad for one month when I was 10 years old. That was the only time I met him in my whole life.”
The president also acknowledged that sometimes pure luck is a factor in avoiding incarceration.
“I did a lot of stupid stuff when I was young, but I’ve said this before — I was just in an environment where you could afford to make some mistakes,” he said. “I had more of a margin for error than a lot of kids do.”
Fixing The Systems airs on Saturday at 9 p.m on HBO.