President Obama commutes prison sentences of 22 drug offenders

Decision is part of Justice Department effort to grant clemency to nonviolent offenders

Payton Guion
Tuesday 31 March 2015 22:25
Comments

President Barack Obama on Tuesday increased his effort to get nonviolent offenders out of US prisons by commuting the sentences of 22 people imprisoned on drug charges.

Those who had their sentences commuted on Tuesday are from all over the US and are serving long prison terms for charges of possession, sale and distribution of drugs, such as methamphetamine, marijuana, crack and cocaine, the Washington Post reported.

All but one of the prisoners had their sentences commuted to 28 July, 2015. The other prisoner, Derrick DeWayne Johnson, had his sentence reduced by more than eight years.

The president wrote a letter to each of the prisoners who had their sentences commuted, encouraging them to take advantage of this opportunity to rebuild their lives.

“I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around. Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity,” Mr Obama wrote. “It will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change... But remember that you have the capacity to make good choices.

”I believe in your ability to prove the doubters wrong. So good luck, and Godspeed.“

Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, President Obama only had pardoned eight prisoners as part of a Justice Department effort to get nonviolent offenders out of US jails.

Explaining the rationale behind the commuted sentences, White House lawyer Neil Eggleston wrote that the prisoners who had their sentences commuted would have already served their time had they been convicted under modern sentencing guidelines, which have become less stringent in recent years.

See the complete list of those who had their sentences commuted here.

Follow @PaytonGuion on Twitter.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in