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

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Ana and John Conley, parents of defendant Shannon Conley, exit the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Denver following their daughter's plea hearing on Sept. 10. Shannon Conley, 19, pleaded guilty on a charge that she intended to wage jihad. Brennan Linsley/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Brennan Linsley/AP