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President Obama Grants Pardons to 22 Non-Violent Drug Offenders

April 1, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
President Obama Grants Pardons to 22 Non-Violent Drug Offenders

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The administration continued its pursuit of a fairer justice system after President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of almost two dozen people convicted of drug sentences.

The individuals were convicted of drug crimes and received harsh sentences under outdated terms, including eight people serving life in prison.

The Obama effort has many expecting the President to be more active in granting clemency as his second term winds down in the White House.

The action is the second round of clemency by the White House under the new Federal guidelines, which were in place as a cost cutting measure. The deal included granting leniency to those convicted of nonviolent drug offenses and serving heavy sentences.

Clemency doesn’t expunge a conviction, it sole purpose is to end the punishment of a convicted crime.

The President’s Legal Counsel, Neil Eggleston, said the reduced prison sentences of the 22 people convicted of federal drug crimes by the commutation would have served their time. These individuals paid their debt owed society under the current federal guidelines.

Eggleston was writing on the White House Press Blog, “Because these people were convicted under the outdated sentencing regime, they served years — in some cases more than a decade. These sentences are longer than individuals convicted today of the same crime,” The 22 people received sentencing between 1992 and 2006.

Eggleston added “The President’s is committed to using all the tools at his disposal to bring greater fairness and equity to our justice system.”

To date, President Obama has now granted a total of 43 commutations in his six years in office, compared to George W. Bush’s 11 commuted sentences during his two terms. Eggleston noted the comparison on Tuesday.

In a precedence, Obama wrote to each of the recipients of the commutations and urged to take full advantage of the second chance he is giving them.

The President wrote,”I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around. Now it is solely up to you to make the most of this opportunity.”

He added, “I understand the road ahead will not be easy. You will confront who doubt people with criminal records can change. Perhaps even you are unsure of how you will adjust to your new circumstances surrounding your life.”

“But You must remember that you have the capacity to make good choices for yourself,” Obama said.

Michael Collins, Police Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance, a non-profit group have long advocated less severe drug sentences and commended Obama’s use of executive authority in dealing with the issue.

“The president’s actions today are welcome,” said Collins.
He pressed Congress to “act quickly on a substantive sentencing reform bill,” saying, “It’s time to rectify the U.S.’s embarrassing record regarding the mass incarceration rate.”

The 22 individuals sentences are set to expire on July 28.

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