David Padilla with his grandchildren. Seventeen years ago, a judge found Padilla guilty of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Courtesy of the Padilla Family hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the Padilla Family

Stephanie George (right) with her daughter, Kendra, and son Courtney. They were 5 and 8 when she went to prison on a drug charge. Last December, President Obama commuted her sentence. Marisa Peñaloza/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Marisa Peñaloza/NPR

NPR's series looks at the human toll of mandatory minimum prison sentences. The White House and the Justice Department have taken the unprecedented step of asking for candidates who might win early release from prison through presidential pardons or commutations in the final years of the Obama presidency. Dan Henson/iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption Dan Henson/iStockphoto

Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson, Mo., in August, where he met with elected and police officials and community members. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Loretta Lynch has handled or supervised a wide range of cases including New York police brutality against a Haitian immigrant, a $45 million cybertheft involving ATMs and the ongoing fraud prosecution of Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of New York. Seth Wenig/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Seth Wenig/AP

Supporters of Republican Sen.-elect Tom Cotton celebrate his win in Arkansas over incumbent Mark Pryor. The GOP picked up seven seats Tuesday, gaining control of the Senate. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images