President Obama granted clemency Monday to 46 men and women convicted of nonviolent drug crimes. Most of the inmates, whose terms will now end Nov. 10, had been sentenced to at least 20 years.

“Their punishments didn’t fit the crime, and if they had been sentenced under today’s laws, almost all of them would have served their time,” Obama said in an announcement video posted on the White House website, which can be viewed below.

BREAKING: President Obama just granted clemency to 46 men and women whose sentences didn’t fit their crimes. Nearly all…

Posted by The White House on Monday, July 13, 2015

The Guardian


Nearly all the prisoners were convicted on charges related to the possession or distribution of crack or cocaine. Two were serving sentences of more than 20 years for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

All were all convicted between 1990 and 2008, before Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010, which reduced the disproportionately longer sentences given out for crimes involving crack cocaine versus its powder form. “If they’d been sentenced under today’s laws nearly all of them would’ve served their time,” Obama added.

Over his six years in office Obama has now granted commutations for 89 prisoners, 79 this year, and more than any president since Lyndon Johnson. Ronald Reagan commuted only 13 sentences, Bill Clinton 61 and George W Bush 11.

In his letters to each of the prisoners, Obama wrote that the president’s clemency powers embody “the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake”.

“Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity,” he wrote. “It will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change. Perhaps even you are unsure of how you will adjust to your new circumstances.

He concluded: “I believe in your ability to prove doubters wrong, and change your life for the better. So good luck, and Godspeed.”

Read the full article here.

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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