News brief: by Mary C. Piemonte
In his continuing effort of granting clemency to nonviolent drug offenders President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 46 men and women, “nearly all of whom would have already served their time and returned to society if they were convicted of the exact same crime today,” according to his press release on July 13, 2015.
In a White House video released that day, Obama said that as a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and criminal defense attorney, he is”well acquainted with how federal sentencing practices” have created in too many instances“unduly harsh sentences” that have lead nonviolent drug offenders to spend decades, if not life, in prison.
And he added that “many people are justly punished for causing harm and perpetuating violence in our communities. But, in some cases, the punishment required by law far exceeded the offense.”
These unduly harsh sentences are one of the reasons the President said he is “committed to using all the tools at his disposal to remedy unfairness in our criminal justice system.”