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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

President Commutes 95 More Sentences

President Obama gave 95 individuals the Christmas gift of a lifetime - literally! Over the last several years the current administration has been working hard to undo some of the mistakes of our nation’s longstanding, unsuccessful war on drugs; such as reforming mandatory minimum sentencing laws and commuting the sentences of a number of non-violent drug offenders, some of whom are/were serving life sentences.

Over the summer, the President commuted the sentences of 46 inmates - 14 of which were serving life sentences. Last Friday, Obama commuted the sentences of 95 federal inmates and granted two pardons, The New York Times reports. Adding to 89 commutations already granted, this holiday season the President more than doubled the tally, a clear sign that we, as a nation, are in accordance with the idea that addiction is a disease, one that should never of been treated with steel bars. At a press conference before departing for some family vacation time in Hawaii, he said the commutations are “another step forward in upholding our ideals of justice and fairness.”

“If we can show at the federal level that we can be smart on crime, more cost effective, more just, more proportionate, then we can set a trend for other states to follow as well,” Mr. Obama said. “And that’s our hope.”

“This is not going to be something that’s reversed overnight,” he added. “It took 20 years for us to get to the point where we are now. And only 20 years, probably, before we reverse some of these major trends.”

The President is giving the selected inmates a second chance, and opportunity to take back some of what was taken from them because of draconian drug laws. The nation’s war on drugs targeted minorities, costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year, and bogged down the prison system. It is time to take a more enlightened approach.

All of the prisoners who received commutations will be released in April, according to the article. The President sent each of them a letter signing them one by one in the Oval Office.

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

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