President Obama gave a reason to celebrate to 111 inmates who have been held in federal prisons due to nonviolent drug-related convictions. Obama has argued that the prisoners he granted clemency to received overly strict punishments. According to counsel for the White House, the commutations are a reflection of Obama’s commitment to making full use of his power to grant clemency in order to give a second chance to people who deserve it.
Obama has granted 673 commutations so far, which is more commutations than the last 10 presidents granted combined. Over one-third of the clemency recipients are currently serving lifetime federal prison sentences for nonviolent drug crimes.
Counsel for the White House further noted that the individuals receive clemency are individuals who have worked hard to rehabilitate themselves and earn a second chance. The individuals are serving harsh sentences implemented through now-outdated laws relating to offenses that were nonviolent in nature.
The president plans to continue making use of his clemency authority until he has finished his last year of office. Part of the reason for the president’s actions is also to lower the federal prison population, which was under 25,000 individuals in 1980, but now it has risen to 200,000.
One individual receiving clemency is a man who was sentenced to life in prison at the age of 25, after he was convicted of possessing LSD with the intent to deliver. He will be released in two years, on Aug. 30, 2018.
Federal drug sentences can be particularly severe, so Florida residents accused of federal drug crimes may want to contract the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help them navigate their defenses. An experienced attorney will know which arguments and defense strategies will be most suitable to employ given the unique factual situation of their clients and the crimes they have been charged with.
Source: PBS, “111 will be freed under Obama’s latest commutation of nonviolent drug offenders,” Kevin Freking, Aug. 30, 2016