President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the sentences of 58 federal prisoners, many of whom were nonviolent drug offenders, the White House confirmed.
Eighteen of those prisoners were serving life terms. They will now be released on Sept. 2 or over the next two years, the Associated Press reports. The move comes as Obama continues his overhaul of the current criminal justice system, which includes efforts to reduce punishment for nonviolent drug convicts sentenced harshly by policies put in place during the failed War on Drugs.
Via NBC News:
The latest wave — among them defendants convicted of either possessing or dealing cocaine, crack and methamphetamine — brings to 306 the number of inmates whose sentences Obama has commuted, the vast majority for drug crimes. The administration has said the pace of commutations is expected to increase as the end of Obama’s presidency nears.
The prisoners given commutations have been “granted a second chance to lead productive and law-abiding lives,” said Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates.
“Our clemency work is continuing as part of our broader efforts to effectuate criminal justice reform and ensure fairness and proportionality in sentencing,” Yates said.
This is just one of many steps the administration has taken to reduce the prison population.
“It just doesn’t make sense to require a nonviolent drug offender to serve 20 years, or in some cases, life, in prison,” Obama said in a statement Thursday.
“An excessive punishment like that doesn’t fit the crime. It’s not serving taxpayers, and it’s not making us safer,” he added.
You can find more information on the inmates here.
SOURCE: NBC | VIDEO SOURCE: Inform