president barack obama on monday commuted the prison sentences of 46 drug offenders. the commander-in-chief said the move was part of his larger attempt to reform the criminal justice system, including reducing punishments for non-violent crimes and reviewing sentencing laws.
obama has commuted about 90 sentences - more than any president since lyndon b. johnson. most have been for federal prisoners incarcerated for drug offenses with long sentences mandated under guidelines set in the 1980's. under current sentencing guidelines, most of these individuals would have served their time.
of the 46 people commuted on monday, 13 were serving life sentences. most of these commuted sentences will now end in november, 2015. this is a several month transition period officials said allowed for arrangements to be made in halfway homes and other related facilities.
after they're released, the former prisoners will be supervised by probation officers and subject to conditions set during their original sentencing, which for some includes drug testing. earlier this year, 22 prisoners convicted of drug crimes were granted release. in late 2014, eight criminals were also given commutations.
unlike a presidential pardon, a commutation does not erase a criminal conviction, it only reduces a sentence. obama has granted 64 pardons in his presidency. the white house on monday posted a letter written by obama to each of the 46 men and women granted commutations.
obama wrote, "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. it will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change. perhaps even you are unsure of how you will adjust to your new circumstances. but remember that you have the capacity to make good choices."
later this week, obama is expected to discuss his plans for more criminal justice reform. on tuesday he travels to philadelphia to speak at the annual naacp convention. on thursday obama will become the first president ever to visit a federal prison, when he tours the el reno facility in oklahoma. "i believe that at its heart, america is a nation for second chances, and i believe these folks deserve their second chance," obama said.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.