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Obama commutes 111 more federal inmates convicted of nonviolent drug offenses

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Fourth Estate Staff

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – United States President Barack Obama had another round of commutations and he commuted a total of 111 federal inmates who were convicted of non-violent drug offenses.

The latest round of commutation was made on Tuesday and accordingly, it is the highest number of commutations he has done throughout his presidency. The presidential clemency efforts of Obama are attempts to get through a backlog of 11,477 cases. A total of 325 commutations were granted this month but Obama also denied a total of 2,227 cases. Obama granted a total of 673 commutations as of Tuesday.

The shortening of sentences for drug crimes has been passed by the Congress but they have failed to make the sentences retroactive. Obama’s administration has been doing commutations, which is the shortening of a criminal sentence using the president’s constitutional pardon power, for two years now.

White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said in a blog post on Tuesday, “They are individuals who received unduly harsh sentences under outdated laws for committing largely nonviolent drug crimes.” He added that the applicants of the 11,477 cases are individually checked as the president merits whether or not the applicant is ready “to make use of his or her second chance.”

Obama also defended his commutations in a statement released earlier this month. He pointed out that the administration is successful in reducing the crime rare in the U.S. but the extraordinary rate of incarceration of nonviolent offenders remains to be a problem.

He added, “Kids are now growing up without parents. It perpetuates a cycle of poverty and disorder in their lives. It is disproportionately young men of color that are being arrested at higher rates, charged and convicted at higher rates, and imprisoned for longer sentences.”

Many of those granted shorter sentences were convicted of drug offenses for trafficking drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine. 16 of the 111 commutations also included firearms-related offenses.

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