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President Obama To Make Historic Move and Free Dozens of Nonviolent Drug Offenders

The president will commute more people than any other president in fifty years.

Image via Wikimedia

The facts are familiar: The United States has more people behind bars than any other country in the world. Nearly half of all federal prisoners, and one in five state prisoners, are serving time for drugs. So it came as a relief to many when aides recently told The New York Times that President Obama would be commuting the sentences of dozens of nonviolent drug offenders. While the numbers have yet to be released, it’s expected that Obama will commute more sentences at one time than any other president in nearly fifty years.

Image via Wikimedia

More than 30,000 inmates have applied for clemency, and the administration is expected to finish its term with approximately 80 commutations. That’s more than many previous presidents, but it still leaves a lot of work to go. For most Democrats and even some Republicans, sentencing has gone too far in this country. The Center for American Progress, a historically liberal organization, recently partnered up with Koch conglomerates—who are about as anti-liberal as it gets—to push for reduced prison sentences and sentencing overhauls. And not too long ago, the United States sentencing commission reformed their guidelines to retroactively reduce sentences for nearly 9,500 inmates.

Pardons and commutations are not policy, but it’s a groundbreaking chance for many of these inmates, and a symbolic step forward.

(Via: The New York Times)

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