WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — After many years apart, Tony Lewis Sr. and his son have been reunited in the District.

Lewis was convicted at 26 years old of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Tony Lewis Sr. with his son. Photo credit: Tyrin Gray

On Monday, he was released under the First Step Act of 2018.

The legislation allows for early return for eligible inmates.

“There is a series of factors that one can make an argument for… under this new legislation… my understanding is that compassionate release is one of those factors,” said attorney Dionna Maria Lewis.

Lewis’ son is a popular D.C. activist and author. He released a book in 2015 about his family history, called Slugg: A Boy’s Life in the Age of Mass Incarceration.

“You have people who are committing murders who come home before somebody with a nonviolent crime. That’s an injustice,” said Ronald Moten, an activist with Don’t Mute DC.

Moten says it was a community effort to get Tony Lewis Sr. released, spearheaded by his son, Tony Lewis Jr.

“I’ve been working with him for years in the community for the returning citizen population,” Moten said. “He’s advocated for people like his father and for young people who’ve never had a chance to go to prison to try to keep them out of prison.”

Moten says there’s more work to be done to end mass incarceration, especially involving people who have committed nonviolent crimes.

“This cannot be the end but this is a just a sign of what can happen when everybody comes together for justice,” Moten said.