A Nashville man is out of prison Wednesday for the first time in more than a decade.

"I dreamed about this day for 10 and a half years, so now that it's finally here it's unbelievable," said Calvin Bryant. "One mistake can change your whole life."

The 32-year-old served 10 and a half years in prison for a first-time drug offense. He was arrested in 2008 for selling drugs and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Prosecutors were able to tack on more time to his sentence than a typical drug charge because of what's called the "Drug-Free School Zone Law." The law ups the punishment for anyone who sells drugs within 1,000 feet of a school. 

"I grew up in MDHA in the projects so I didn't even know what the drug-free school zone law was," said Bryant. 

His prolonged sentenced sparked outraged even among prosecutors who fought to get him out and believe the law is outdated and discriminatory. 

Bryant and his attorney, Daniel Horwitz, struck a deal Wednesday by pleading guilty to a lesser drug charge that carried a 10-year sentence, which he had already served. 

Bryant said he takes responsibility for his poor choices and isn't angry. He wants to use this opportunity to keep other kids out of trouble.

"I never got bitter because I know God had a bigger purpose for it. If it took me 10 and a half years to change my nephew from going through the same thing I went through then I feel like it evens up, it weights out," said Bryant. 

His family recently helped him start a non-profit called Pick, which aims to help inner-city kids stay out of trouble.

"What I want to do is keep kids busy in the community, teaching them... keeping them away from gang violence, teaching them trades," said Bryant.

He plans to re-enroll at TSU and finish his degree. 

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Kim St. Onge joined the News4 team as a reporter in January 2017.

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