Obama Gives 46 Non-Violent Offenders a Break

President commutes sentences, mostly for drug offenders
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 13, 2015 12:27 PM CDT
President Barack Obama speaks during the 2015 White House Conference on Aging today in the East Room of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – President Obama is cutting the prison sentences of 46 convicts as part of a broader effort to make the criminal justice system fairer and ease the punishment of those serving more time than their crimes warranted. The president has now issued nearly 90 commutations, most of them to non-violent offenders sentenced for drug crimes under outdated sentencing rules. A commutation leaves the conviction in place but ends the punishment. Several of those granted clemency today had been sentenced to life in prison.

Obama this week is devoting considerable attention to the criminal justice system. He'll lay out ideas for how to improve the fairness of the system during a speech tomorrow. And on Thursday he'll become the first sitting president to visit a federal prison. For more, see Obama's video explaining the commutation on the White House Facebook page. (Or see why he says pot shouldn't be young people's first priority.)

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